Halloween in San Francisco isn’t complete until you’ve absorbed the bloody mayhem of Shocktoberfest, now in its twelfth year of gore and festive holiday shrieking. The bloodthirsty Parisian theater tradition of Grand Guinol meets film noir in Fear Over Frisco, Thrillpeddlers' latest.
Presenting three shorts by playwright Eddie Muller, this year’s Shocktoberfest does some time traveling through San Francisco’s history - modern day deja vu in The Grand Inquisitor, post-WWII hysteria in An Obvious Explanation, and back to the Prohibition for The Drug. We meet a disfigured artist, the reclusive widow of San Francisco’s most notorious serial killer, and a doctor who plays fast and loose with some un-FDA approved substances.
Skewering San Francisco’s gay porn industry of the early ‘80s, Ronnie Larsen’s hit comedy has made the rounds in New York, Boston, Miami, Chicago, and LA. Slapstick, strip teases, and directors yelling things about being meaner and dirtier make it as lurid and uninhibited as one would hope from a play called Making Porn.
When the doomed love of Pelleas and Melisande first premiered in 1893, it subverted the French realism that was all the rage in the Parisian Belle Epoque. Innovative French symbolist Maurice Materlinck - one of the most respected writers of his time - penned a lush, avante garde fairytale that blends elements of Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet.
What advice would you give someone decades younger, someone hoping to benefit from wisdom you’re not sure you've gained? On the eve of her sixtieth birthday, Peregrine wracks her sleepless brain for the birthday speech that's hopefully hidden somewhere in her cerebellum. Flipping through her life for mistakes and triumphs and how to move forward, Peregrine's search for meaning - not to mention a damn speech - takes an unexpected turn when a visitor knocks.
Shakespeare’s doomed heroine Desdemona is getting a lot of theater time this month. For fresh interpretations of the misunderstood Venetian beauty who met her untimely end at the hands of her husband, Othello, you can check out the high profile Toni Morrison-Peter Sellars collaboration or the black box experimental interpretation where Desdemona really is a whore.
Cal Performances presents the United States premiere of the collaboration between Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison, renowned director Peter Sellars, and one of Africa’s greatest vocalists Rokia Traoré. Together they create a beyond-the-grave conversation between Othello’s Desdemona and Barbary, the woman Shakespeare identifies as the African nurse who raised her.
Two rival gangs sit down for a dinner party in Arrivederci Roma, Morgan Ludlow’s furiously dreamlike world premiere for Stage Werx, stuffed wtih ultimatums and revelations and Italian-Jewish home cooking. A psychedelic blend of The Godfather and Trannyshack, it’s a bloodthirsty comedy with unexpected guests, plot twists, and breaking bread with the enemy.
Packed with vivid and tangled history that spans continents and centuries, Alonzo King's latest ballet is set to music of the Sephardic tradition. Arab-Andalusian beats thrum under Hebrew lyrics and Middle-Eastern a capella meets its medieval roots. Expert dancers ply their trade while Turkey, Morocco, Spain, and Yemen represent in the world premiere of Resin.
Also on the dance menu is King’s 1998 work, Who Dressed You Like a Foreigner?, noted by The New York Times for its virtuosity and imaginative duets. Featuring bright, compelling choreography executed by speedy yet graceful dancers, Alonzo King’s Lines is one of those companies where the performances are always worth a ticket.
Two bicycles, ten ODC performers, and multiple MUNI trains meet in Trolley Dances, a yearly event that sends local dancers into the wilds of the San Francisco transportation system.
Different sections of Transit, KT Nelson’s new full-company piece for ODC, will be staged on specially-made bicycles that are slow to the point of immobility. (Insert inevitable MUNI joke here.) Set to music by Nico Muhly, Transit explores common spaces and common good and how we get around in both.
Adam and Eve managed to get their kids banished from the Garden of Eden, and parenting in religion has been going downhill ever since. How To Write a New Book for the Bible is award-winning playwright Bill Cain’s flashlight into the grand religious and theatrical traditions of familial blame.
The hipsters are bringing back ancient Greece. So gather the tattered shards of your theatrical optimism, all ye who enter Exit Theater. Calling this year’s San Francisco Olympians Festival “a Pandora’s box of plays, leaving all who attend with hope for independent theatre,” No Nude Men premiere thirty-two new works this month. Written by twenty-nine local writers, nine are full-length and the rest are delightfully random shorts. Each night is something different - some folks saw as many as ten shows last year.
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