Facing the music of our lives

The Center Repertory Company presents Mark St. Germain’s comedy, Dancing Lessons, through November 17 at the Margaret Lesher Theater in Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts. The play premiered in Massachusetts in 2014. The 90-minute romantic comedy tells the story of two people who are intensely challenged by their lives and how they struggle to overcome the isolation of those lives by interacting with each other. Senga (Sharon Rietkerk) is a dancer who has had an accident,...

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A crisp and fresh “Women Laughing Alone with Salad”

Three women – one thin, one voluptuous, one middle-aged – are sitting on a park bench, eating enormous bowls of salad. Soon they are taken with giggles, then howls of laughter. Hmmm. How fun is it to eat salad? Shotgun Players’ production of Women Laughing Alone with Salad zeros in on this question. And the answers are engaging, hilarious and very familiar. [caption id="attachment_2089" align="aligncenter" width="720"]...

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The mind is a voice-over in “Fairview”

Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview opened at Berkeley Rep this past week. A co-commission of Berkeley Rep and Soho Rep, the play was developed in Berkeley Reps’ The Ground Floor program and premiered at Soho Rep in New York this past June. The play pulls out a number of theatrical forms and practices but melds them into a madcap and very illuminating look at black-and-white relations in this, the United States of America. Part of the difficulty of overturning the biased and dismal...

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By the “Sweat” of their brow

Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize winning play, Sweat, opened at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater this past week. The play focuses on workers at a steel mill whose work slowly erodes until finally they are without jobs, and according to Nottage, without identity, marginalized. It was clear the audience wanted to love this play, and it was well cast, well acted and well presented. It is notable that Nottage remarks in the program notes that the Washington D.C. audience received the play...

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An epic “War of the Roses”

The War of the Roses now showing in a four-hour production at Cal Shakes in Orinda is a distillation of four of Shakespeare’s English histories, Henry VI, parts 1, 2 and 3 and Richard III. Consolidating the plays has been done several times in their 400-year-plus theatrical history. This version, a collaboration between Cal Shakes Artist Director Eric Ting and the company’s dramaturg Philippa Kelly, is a company first. Eric Ting directed the production. The...

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To sing a song that old was sung … Marin Shakes presents “Pericles”

Marin Shakespeare Company opened its third and final play of the season at the Forest Meadows Theater in Marin this past weekend. The seldom-produced Pericles, Prince of Tyre, was one of the last plays Shakespeare wrote and there are questions about whether the play was entirely written by England’s greatest playwright. Scholars more or less agree that the last half of the play was written by Shakespeare, and the first half possibly by a collaborator. The first verified production...

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