Stage

Taking flight

ODC/Dance leaps from the Mission to SoMa for its annual "Downtown" performances
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Even for a company as committed to keeping on the move as ODC/Dance, debuting five world premieres in two programs is pushing the envelope of what is creatively possible — not only for in-house choreographers Brenda Way and KT Nelson, but also for the performers who have to learn the stuff.

ODC's dancers are up to the challenge. They are fast; they are athletic; and they luxuriate in their own physicality. They are gorgeous as individuals and as an ensemble. Daniel Santos speeds up a turn as if he's being unspooled. Read more »

Youth gone wild

Tir na nóg translates Edna O'Brien's debut novel to the stage
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It's hard for a contemporary reader to fathom why — indeed, it was probably hard for many non-Eire readers to fathom even then — but when Edna O'Brien's debut novel, The Country Girls, came out in 1960, she was considered a disgrace to all of Ireland. Priests burned it in churchyards and denounced it from the pulpit. Read more »

"Speaking Fierce"

International Women's Day: Not just for white women who eat organic
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PREVIEW The first time I discovered feminism wasn't just for white women who ate organic produce, I was eavesdropping on one of my mom's phone calls. She was going off about some ex-boyfriend and a few "lazy-ass mothafuckas" before declaring that neither her mother, nor her mother's mother, nor her mother's mother's mother had taken any bullshit and she didn't plan to break the chain now. Put in those terms, my 10-year-old brain started to think that the word feminism might just apply to every woman I knew who had the nerve to survive in my Fillmore neighborhood. Read more »

Love and war

Theatre Rhino tackles David Mamet's Boston Marriage
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Planet Mamet is normally a very manly-man's world, where alpha males growl, snap, and try to steal one another's bones. Women either similarly play rough or become obstacles to the overweening guy-versus-guy competition. Ergo, Boston Marriage is an anomaly: seldom staged since its 1999 premiere, this is a most atypical David Mamet play in that the characters are all female, the language florid, and the tone giddy — even, well, campy.

It probably seems more so than hitherto in John Fisher's Theatre Rhinoceros staging. Read more »

Scenesters

All four actors deliver pitch-perfect performances. But guess which one steals the whole Scene?
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New York playwright Theresa Rebeck has made a name for herself railing against the shallow, self-absorbed depravity of people. Read more »

Perpetual edge

Kunst-Stoff celebrates a decade of dance
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Over Feb. 14 to 16, Yannis Adoniou and Tomi Paasonen's oddly named offspring, Kunst-Stoff, celebrated its 10th anniversary. The company had its first performance during the dot-com bubble at what was then San Francisco's most in venue, Brady Street Theater — where you couldn't find a parking place but did get some of the edgiest performances in town. You wouldn't dare miss Kunst-Stoff's total concept theater, in which multimedia reigned to suggest high-tech, futuristic fantasies. Read more »

Talking points

Scripts make all the difference in Brainpeople and Curvy Widow
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The two women invited to a mysterious dinner party in the American Conservatory Theater–commissioned Brainpeople have no idea why they're there. For some time we're not sure why we are either. After detouring into the uncharacteristically straightforward screenplays of The Motorcycle Diaries and Trade, playwright José Rivera is back in quirky magic-realist overdrive. Too much of this 80-minute one-act feels propelled by a willful eccentricity less delightful than pointless. Read more »

The Fisher queen

Carrie, solo, in Berkeley Rep's Wishful Drinking
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deborah@sfbg.com

There are two questions that can really get on Carrie Fisher's nerves: What was it like playing Princess Leia? And what's it like having Debbie Reynolds for a mom? Read more »

Oops! They did it again

W. Kamau Bell takes his swing at racism
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kimberly@sfbg.com

The best comedians always shear close to the bone with their truths, but believe it or not, few are necessarily a gut bust in conversation. Why is this a surprise? After all, the comic is on the interviewer's mic, not on the clock and on script. Yet W. Read more »

75 alive

The oldest ballet company in the country intends to show that the dance form is a thoroughly contemporary, international art.
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With its 75th season, which starts Jan. 29, the San Francisco Ballet — the oldest ballet company in the country — intends to show that the dance form is a thoroughly contemporary, international art.

With the exception of the lovely Giselle (created by Adolphe Adam in 1841), the entire season has been choreographed within the company's lifetime. When it was created in 1938, Lew Christensen's Filling Station was considered the first American ballet. Read more »