THEATER Out at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, just after sunset, the darkness and the silence are real presences in themselves, not just a context for something else. They're right now pressing their respective noses against the windowpanes of the large, beautifully-worn army barrack–turned–artist studio in which Saya Woolfalk is pouring some dark red concoction from a squat glass jug.Read more »
The Old Woman Robert Wilson, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Willem Dafoe — None of these guys are ever to be missed, but all three together are worthy of queuing up overnight to see. There'll be camping out onstage too, as Wilson directs Baryshnikov and Dafoe (playing several characters between them) in an outrageous piece of high-art drag, based on the short story by the formidable Russian absurdist Daniil Kharms. Nov. 21–23, Zellerbach Hall, Berk; www.calperformances.orgRead more »
THEATER Once the image of the highway-bound pioneer, the camper van has been reborn on the plains of the Wild West of arts programming, just off 51st Street in Oakland. It's been sighted here and there since May, greeted with honking and cheering by fans of the tiny house movement, idle curiosity by idling bystanders, and mild frustration by those anticipating a sidewalk taco or crème brûlée.Read more »
If frog doesn’t sound like your thing, consider that we don’t always know we like something until we try it. Or consider the way this surveillance state being forced down your throat goes right to your ass. Or consider that Dalton Trumbo (following Emile Zola) once referred to his time (the time of McCarthy and other manifestations of totalitarian creep) as the Time of the Toad — an era in which maintaining indifference to the injustice and horror around you was tantamount to learning how to swallow a whole wet one each and every day.
THEATER If you were milling around the Asian Art Museum last Thursday evening, you might have seen a woman tumble — ever so slowly — down the Beaux-Arts building's elegant flight of central stairs. Ringed by a crowd of onlookers and the second floor's imposing colonnade, her limber form caressed the marble steps luxuriously as she cascaded beneath the elegant arched ceiling, entirely at her own pace, leaving behind her the unraveling, impossibly long train of her white and lavender gown.Read more »
Given all traditional parameters of critical experience, SF Playhouse’s production of Into the Woods (now playing through Sept 6) should be at least somewhat irksome. The vocal talent can be inconsistent, the accents are ambiguous, the set looks busy, and the musical is high-strung enough that it can be insufferable without expert work on all fronts. Shockingly, despite the surface-level issues, the Playhouse production is an unqualified technical success and a complete joy to take in.
DANCE Visiting from Los Angeles, the Berkeley-born Arianne MacBean introduced the Bay Area to her Big Show Co. via two works. The elaborately titled The People Go Where the Chairs Are dates from 2012; the more condensed present tense was a world premiere. Both pieces intrigued by putting on stage the process the artists go through trying to give life and shape to something inchoate.Read more »
THEATER A figure wanders into the void — a pristine wooden stage, that is, pinpointed by four delicate weights hovering pendulum-like at the corners, alive to the slightest ripple of air. In the back, behind a scrim and awash in crepuscular light, a large and blooming tree floats exquisitely in space. For the wanderer, the time (if such a thing can be said to exist here) is ripe. "This must be bardo, then," thinks the ghost. "I'm cool with that. I was beginning to think I'd live forever."Read more »