Marga Gomez performs “Lovebirds” at the Berkeley Marsh

1411324071Marga Gomez LoveBirds2_Patti Meyer_thumb.jpgMarga times ten at the Marsh

There are at least ten people onstage at the Marsh in the Gaia Building in downtown Berkeley right now, in Marga Gomez’s one-woman show, Lovebirds.  Wait. Can there be ten if there’s just one?  Yes, and those ten are all all Marga.  She pulls them out of herself with the ease of a Vegas blackjack dealer tossing out cards, with cheery effortlessness.

It’s a magic act, in a way, and the magic is Marga.

If you don’t know Marga Gomez, she’s a Bay Area-based Latina comic who has written and performed nine hit shows, Long Island Iced Latina and Proud and Bothered among them She’s been in movies (Sphere and Batman Forever) and has won many awards, including the Bay Guardian’s “Best Comedian” trophy.

Now she’s back with a new outing, transplanted from its 2013 premiere at the Marsh’s San Francisco outpost.  This one tells a hilariously complicated tale about a gaggle of New York denizens who are “related” in ways that only become apparent after they’ve tied themselves in knots.

It all starts with Polaroid Phillie, a street photographer who specializes in snaps of couples (“My camera has soul,” she says).  Her work is retro-techno, done with a Polaroid camera, so she can hand it over right away, for ten bucks.  She’s the storyteller of the evening, and what she relates centers on Barbara Ramirez, who changes her name to Dahlia,  She’s the daughter of cafe owner Orestes Ramirez who loves tin-eared singer, Gladys (he wants to make her famous), who is in turn married to a college professor who never sleeps.  The supercharged mix-ups, sexual and otherwise, get going when Dahlia has an identity crisis that leads her into the arms of Turkey, and if you think “Turkey” is an odd name, wait till you meet Aurora Flashmoon.

With her nerve, energy and mimetic skills, Gomez is amazing at flipping in an instant from one character to the next, from the butch Turkey to the cheerfully blustering Orestes to the blithely innocent Dahlia to dreamy/nutty Aurora Flashmoon.  She even plays herself, when Marga Gomez shows up for an encounter with Dahlia.

Gomez has an LGBT leaning, with an emphasis on the “L,” and one of my favorite lines from her show comes when Turkey invites Dahlia on a ride on his Harley.  “I used to be afraid of motorcycles,” Dahlia replies eagerly, “but now that I’m a lesbian I can’t wait.”

That’ll do it for you, all right.

Smartly directed by David Schweiser with expert technical support from Erich Blazeski (lighting), Mark O’Brien (sound) and Vola Ruben (set), Lovebirds is joined at the Marsh, Berkeley, by Josh Kornbluth in Reports from the Zen Hospice on Tuesdays.  Hippy icon, Wavy Gravy, takes the stage there soon.  For tickets/information call 415-282-3055 or visit