Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cutting Ball Gets Downd and Dirty

Mud: Drama. By Maria Irene Fornes. Directed by Paige Rogers. With Alan Kaiser, Marilet Martinez, Garth Petal. (Through Feb. 8. The Cutting Ball Theater at Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor St., San Francisco. 70 minutes. Tickets: $25-$30. Call (415) 419-3584 or go to

Plays like Mud exemplify what I love about San Francisco. You can go see big, expensive productions like Wicked and have wonderful time, or you can go down the street to the heart of the Tenderloin to places like tiny The Cutting Ball and see, in your face, down and dirty,wonderfully conceived plays like Mud and be just as captivated, just as enthralled.

Mud is a vulgar, exhilarating, nightmarish and hypnotizing play. Its three characters reside in a rural, dirt poor apartment somewhere in the South. Mud explores the way in which those at the bottom of the food chain, strive for meaning in their lives. It's a sad and somewhat cynical commentary on poverty, and it's effect will sit with you for days. Wonderfully acted by Alan Kaiser, Marilet Martinez, and Garth Petal this is a show not for the faint of heart but for those looking for risky theatre, the kind of theatre that leads your heart and mind into new territories of consciousness.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Magic to Remain Open

The Magic Theatre, a national theatre treasure having debuted works by Sam Shepard, David Mamet, and Paula Vogel, to name just a few has raised the $450,000 they need to remain in business.

This is the second theatre that has been saved by the public in recent weeks. It's a shame the same wasn't done for American Musical Theatre of San Jose. But, I am thrilled about The Magic.

The Circle by Somerset Maugham

The Pear Avenue Theatre is currently running Somerset Maugham's greatest work, "The Circle", running through February 1st. The writing is just fabulous. I had know familiarity with Maugham other than for his novels. The play is full of biting humor and wit. I found it thoroughly entertaining. The director, Bill Kenney, and his actors do an excellent job of bringing this rarely done play to life.

Where: The Pear Avenue Theatre
1220 Pear Avenue, Mtn. View, CA
Runs through February 1st.

P.S. - It seems as though The Magic is out of the woods for now, having raised barely enough to keep their doors open for a while longer. This is very good news.