Sarah Jones’ “Sell/Buy/Date”

If you get a chance to see Sarah Jones in her new one-person, multi-character show Sell/Buy/Date, take it!  The opportunity might be either in the last few days of her workshop performances ending July 31 at Berkeley Rep or in New York at Manhattan Theatre Club opening in previews September 27, 2016 – or wherever she may go after that. Sarah Jones is one of the very few performers who can really pull off a compelling metamorphosis from one character to another, with her toolbox of myriad accents, varying body language, voice tones,  and overall affect, without resorting to overly broad or stereotypical gestures.  Her people are young and old, male and female, of many ethnicities and national origins.  All are recognizable and authentic.  As one...

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Stuart: I Wish You Could Quit Your Day Job

If any one person is close to the center of the vortex that is San Francisco theatre it could be Stuart Bousel.  An award-winning playwright (2014 TBA best world premiere play Everyone Here Says Hello, among others), director, founder of the 7-year old Olympians Festival, San Francisco Theatre Pub, New Works Director for Custom Made Theatre, actor, and more (including guest blogger for TheatrePlaybyPlay.com: “I’m Not Sorry I Hate Your Play“), Stuart knows and is known by most San Francisco theatre artists and he still has to have a day job to pay the rent — not to mention an incredible amount of passion and energy to do it all.  I enjoyed getting to know him a bit better this past weekend. Last Saturday I had a marathon theatre day in San...

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Get Thee To A Play!

The San Francisco Bay Area is enriched with theatre companies, large and small, that do good theatre of all kinds.  I rarely go a weekend without seeing a play, or two, and it’s often hard to choose among the high-quality, eclectic offerings we are spoiled with.  But every now and then a moment comes along when there is a large number of very special pieces all on offer at the same time.  Such a moment is nigh.  This short list of plays to enjoy mid-May through June (or so) is so far from exhaustive that it doesn’t even include all the potentially GREAT theatre, so check around for more if you have the time, but at least see some of these if you can: –  The Velocity of Autumn by Eric Coble at Theatreworks Silicon Valley playing in Mountain View June...

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Pacific Playwrights Festival 2016

I recently attended the Pacific Playwrights Festival in Southern California where I saw five play readings and 2 world premiere productions over three days.  I’ve been thinking about why I enjoy play readings so much.  There are no production values – just actors with scripts at music stands on a blank stage (or a set meant for another play), a few days of rehearsals with a director, and probably script changes from the playwright up to the last minute.  Yet there is something about an exceptionally well-done play reading that can be just as satisfying as a well-done production.  The words, the actors and your imagination have to supply the details.  You can really focus on the language. The readings filled the 500-seat theatre to capacity and I would...

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Insiders’ Glimpse of the New Play Process

I spent the first weekend of April with fifty or so other theatre lovers immersed in thinking and talking about and seeing new works in theatre.  Oregon Shakespeare Festival offered a three-day program helmed by Lue Morgan Douthit, OSF’s director of literary development and dramaturgy, exploring the topic. Douthit was joined at various times throughout the weekend by playwright Luis Alfaro, Loretta Greco (artistic Director of San Francisco’s Magic Theatre), a panel of playwrights from OSF’s Play on! Shakespeare “translation” project, and the four tall, gorgeous guys who created (and perform in) the new musical The Unfortunates.  Enough to keep any new works enthusiast breathless. Douthit put together a program that illuminated the process of play...

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Odds ‘n Ends ‘n Beginnings

I am overdue for a post and haven’t yet had a chance to write one about the awesome weekend I recently spent in San Francisco attending Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s New Works weekend at the Hyatt Regency.  (Lue Douthit, Loretta Greco, Luis Alfaro, Amy Freed, Mfoniso Udofia, and so many more amazing theatre artists and theatre lovers ….more soon.)  But I have been collecting bits and pieces of notes about things I’ve written here that you might find interesting: – All the Way now an HBO movie!  You may remember my raving about this wonderful play about LBJ when I first saw it at OSF and then had the great fortune to interview the playwright Robert Schenkkan in Louisville just hours before he won the 2013 Steinberg New Play Award....

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Rachel Bonds’ SWIMMERS

When Mike Donahue told me he was coming out from New York to California to direct Rachel Bonds’ Swimmers at Martin Theatre Company, I was delighted to successfully weedle an invitation to the first table read.  If I had to pick only one activity associated with new plays, my favorite is to sit in on the first table read of a world premiere.  Although at that point a new play has almost certainly been read out loud before (in developmental readings or even perhaps a workshop) the table-read is the first time a group of actors, the playwright and the director who will be putting together the fully produced play ever meet together as a team and, sometimes, the first time many of them meet each other.  The actors have probably read the script at home but it is...

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