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Scapin: Bill Irwin Barrels Through Moliere at ACT

Loose of limb and baggy of pants, Bill Irwin charges through Scapin, hitting on a young woman (by admiring her trunk), stuffing his cruel master in a sack, and disguising himself as a red suited ACT patron and crawling through box seats to elude said master's heavy hand with the walking stick of doom.

Race Relations in Black and White: 'Trouble in Mind' at the Aurora Theatre

In the days of constantly streaming Twitter and Facebook, it’s amazing anything stays relevant for a month, much less decades. But Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress - the first African-American woman to win an Obie award - remains an insightful exploration of racial inequality, even half a century later.

Written during the Civil Rights movement, this play-within-a-play follows a cast of black and white actors mounting a script about anti-lynching (by a white dude, naturally) on Broadway, a premise which opens the proverbial stage door to all manner of cultural side-stepping and socially mandated diffidence. Early in the play, an older black actor advises a younger one to “Laugh, laugh at everything they say.” Where “they” are white people in general, and white theater people in particular.

Etiquette Comes Alive at Yerba Buena

The world is your stage, or so the saying goes. Starting today, this cliche can become your reality with London-based experimental theater company Rotozaza. A performance piece for two, Etiquette can be played out between strangers or friends across a table at Samovar Tea Lounge in Yerba Buena Gardens. Turning the idea of audience participation on its head, Silvia Mercuriali and Anthony Hampton—the masterminds behind this offbeat experience—provide headphones which dictate instructions to layman-come-actor. 

Obscura: A Magic Show

Christian Cagigal is a dark little conjurer with a thoughtful view on evil and an experiential one-man show threaded with gothic whimsy. “It won’t be the feel-good show of the year,” he says. But if you let down your defenses, Cagigal promises to give you magic.  

He’s also hatching good-natured plots to steal your soul, so be sure to keep that shit close. (I stuffed mine in an empty wine glass and shoved it under the seat. Seemed to work.)

Mrs. Warren's Profession at Cal Shakes

If you were a virginal young woman more willing to use your brain than your boobs to get ahead in the world, how would you feel if you came home from Cambridge to discover that your mother is a notorious madame and the luxury of your childhood was bought via the virtual enslavement of women not so different from yourself?

An Accident at Magic Theatre

Plowing through your day is so much easier when you don't stop to consider the possibility that you might be accidentally mowed down in a grocery store parking lot and wake up to find yourself immobile in a hospital bed. Lydia Stryck's deftly written script contemplates just such a scenario - and what happens when the man behind the wheel becomes a friend to the woman who can no longer move her arms.

Channel your Inner Mamet for Theater Tickets

Calling all playwrights: Think you can recreate the dirty mouths and terse dialogue of David Mamet's characters? In conjunction with the West Coast premier of Mamet's latest play, the political satire November A.C.T. is sponsoring its fourth annual David Mamet Writing Contest. The rules are pretty straightforward: Write one scene, three pages max plus an intro, with no more than four characters. Aspiring Mamets have three styles to choose from: retell a moment in US history a la Mamet, write a concession speech a Mamet character would give, or Mamet-fy a politically themed movie, TV show, or play. Submissions are due October 28, and the contest is open to everyone except for David Mamet.

After the Heatwave: Sizzling Winter theater from Broadway

It's September. Which means the new arts season is just around the corner. Best of Broadway is shaping up to live up to its name for the upcoming theater season.  The menu for the 2009-2010 theater season features some of the most buzzed about direct-from Broadway shows.

The Play's the Thing

All the world was a stage at the 14th annual California Shakespeare Theater’s Gala Flamenco last month at the Rotunda Building in Oakland. A sold-out crowd donned their Ole! finest to play upon the stage in support of this award-winning theater.

Berkeley Rep's Crime and Punishment Cliffs Notes

Can a 718 page novel of classic Russian literature be compressed into a 90 minute play? The short answer is no.

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