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Comment Archives: stories: Arts & Culture: Theater

Re: “What Just Happened to Nina Wise?

This is one of the best shows I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot of shows. Go!!!! Nina is funny and moving and deep and you will leave the theater transformed.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by NancyS on 05/17/2010 at 1:08 PM

Re: “Sal Calanni

As an Oakland resident and a huge stand-up comedy fan I often venture over to San Francisco to catch shows. And I've had the pleasure of seeing Sal Calanni a few times. I would agree that he has a great persona, and good punchlines. But what I like the most about him, that you failed to mention, is he has a point of view and isn't afraid to express it. I bought this CD the last time I saw him at the club house in SF and I have enjoyed it more than a few times since buying it. Which I can not is true for some other CD's by bigger names.

Sal is a smart funny guy with a point of view. You may not agree with everything he says but you have to give him credit for saying it. My only complaint is the sound quality could have been a tad bit better but it wasn't enough to detract from the laughes. And the hand job joke which is funny, felt forced.

I would highly recommend seeing him live when you get the chance. Then you'll see why I think he's definitely a comedian on his way up. He's only going to get better and you don't want to miss it.

Bill Haley

Posted by Big Bill on 03/24/2010 at 11:51 AM

Re: “Fairytale with No Hands

I have seen the play and I must admit I was in tears, though I am at a loss to totally explain it--other than Sass has crafted a play that touched my sixty-eight year old sensibility, as a father of three daughters.


Posted by BD on 03/04/2010 at 5:52 PM

Re: “Antigone Sans the Drama

I don't think this critic is really familiar with Sophocles's original Antigone. I doubt she's gone much beyond the Wikipedia entry, in fact, because if she knew anything about this play, she'd know that in the original, none of the stuff she mentions happens on stage. This critic's unfamiliarity with the basics of theatre and theatre history continue to be glaring. It's a shame, really.

Posted by theatrelover on 02/20/2010 at 7:05 PM

Re: “Antigone Sans the Drama

Jean Anouilh was a man. Just FYI. (Critic referred to him as a "her").

Posted by attagrrl on 02/17/2010 at 10:30 AM

Re: “Just a Number

With all due respect to Ms. Swan, she severely missed the boat on this one. It’s not hard to do, mind you, considering the play IS so fast-paced. I think the most significant thing to realize is that this play is NOT about cloning. It provides a plot device, yes, but the real weight of the story is about child abuse, how to be a father, and the significance of the nurture side of the nurture/nature argument. And while Salter reveals only as much information as he needs to at every juncture, there’s no reason to believe that the final story we’re left with isn’t the real one, especially considering that while the story keeps changing, it also gets considerably worse. (SPOILER ALERT HERE) So the story we’re left with is that Bernard 1’s mother killed herself when he was 2, the father continued to abuse and neglect the child as a result from drinking and/or drugs, and then after 2 more years, the father cleaned himself up and decided to make things RIGHT. But instead of making it right with the child he had, he basically did a do-over, cloning the child and giving up the first one to foster care. He then started anew fresh with Bernard 2, never telling this son, of course, that he was a clone of the first one. Now, Ms. Swan’s understanding that he purposefully created 20 clones is flat-out incorrect. The doctors made these clones without his knowledge, so THAT PART of the story is actually new to Salter. Michael Black is one of these clones who Salter decides to meet, since Bernard 1 killed Bernard 2 and then killed himself, Salter is finally left with a situation he has to confront emotionally, and as he says, he “can’t make it right anymore.” His meeting with Michael Black is an attempt to connect with these sons of his, but he only finds that this man is not only completely unlike the Bernards, he’s actually a happy person, something that Salter’s absence in his life has afforded him the ability to be. THAT’s what happened and what is happening. There is no reason to believe the play takes place decades in the future, either, though I suppose it’s a possibility. Like I mention before, the cloning aspect is kept vague because it’s really not all that important how it happened—what it does is show us an interesting experiment in which 3 people of the same genetic make-up are given entirely different upbringings. You could do the same thing with twins or triplets separated at birth, but with this scenario you also get to see 2 people with the same name brought up (or partially so) by the same father but in different situations. Anyway, Ms. Swan did not realize this, and for some reason she keeps referring to Bernard 2 as “Michael Black.” Michael Black is the 3rd character you meet in the last scene of the play—the one happy character who was not brought up by Salter. It’s too bad she wasn’t at the talkback at first preview at which an audience member piped up right away and declared that this play isn’t about cloning, but about how to be a father.

I don't comment to argue about the quality of the production, which Ms. Swan did complement, but didn't give enough credit. It's an amazing and tight script performed by the best talent in the area.

Posted by alltheatreallthetime on 02/05/2010 at 2:16 PM

Re: “A Bright River in Transit

From NEQA/Communications on behalf of The Bright River: As of January 21, the show will run Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm at Brava Theater. The Sunday shows have been canceled. This is a great! show, see it while you can! For those who want a recession -buster, check for discount tickets.

Posted by NEQA on 01/23/2010 at 1:12 PM

Re: “Finding the Other

For information and to purchase tickets online for Bamuthi's performance on Monday, November 2 at the Berkeley Rep, go to

Posted by Felicia Gustin on 10/30/2009 at 8:51 AM

Re: “An Amplified American Idiot

I agree,Its about how the music and production fit. And it was perfect..If you want a story,go see Cats. But if you want entertainment, can' beet this performance!!

Posted by george evankovich on 09/23/2009 at 3:48 PM

Re: “Untamed and Unmastered

The Master and Margarita Play was THE worst play I have seen in fifty years. Thank you for making me glad I will die some day. If I had to go thru eternity with the memory of that piece of Shit in my memory I would truly sell my soul to the devil.

Posted by starfire on 07/19/2009 at 9:47 PM

Re: “The Great Recession: Too Big to Satirize?

It's the SFMT's 50th year, but they've done way more than 50 plays.

Posted by Guy Haines on 07/08/2009 at 6:44 PM

Re: “Man About Town

A few corrections:

The title of the show is Lettucetown Lies.

Perseus was a hero, not a god.

It's Donna Summer, not Summers.

Posted by Guy Haines on 07/08/2009 at 6:40 PM

Re: “From Motown to Oaktown

Saw Jericho Road on opening night - terrific. - a well - written complex script that courageously confronts issues of race and relationships. The cast is superb.

Posted by Maire McShane on 06/18/2009 at 10:51 AM

Re: “Crazy Love


Thank you for your review of the Cal Shakes Romeo and Juliet (6/3/09), to which we offer a small corrective. Contrary to your belief that the production that opened on May 30 was unadulterated, Shakespeare's text was indeed heavily cut - it just didn't look like it because director, Jonathan Moscone worked so hard together with myself and text coach, Nancy Carlin, to keep in all of the rhythm of the text as well as the passages that matter. Romeo and Juliet is 25850 words long, and Cal Shakes cut the play to to 19615 words.

Philippa Kelly, Cal Shakes resident dramaturg

Posted by Philippa Kelly on 06/03/2009 at 4:16 PM

Re: “The Lives of Saints

I saw it, and there was this AMAZING young actress! Her name was Rebecca Lieber, and she was extremely talented. Each one of her 6 amazing lines dug deep into my stone cold heart. They forced tears out of my sorry eyes, just to see a young girl portray such an amazing role in the way she did. I feel she should be honored in some way. I have never seen acting so touching and amazing.

Posted by Buttbutt on 04/22/2009 at 2:48 PM

Re: “Five-Year Breakup

i am somewhat shocked at this critics review of this show. It seems to me that this person came to the performance with a preconceived notion that he or she was not going to like what they saw.

It is also apparent by the specifics they gave that they did not pay attention to what was happening before there eyes. things like "sensible shoes." if that was something that was important enough for this critic to put in their review i should bring attention that Cathy ( Ekman ) wears high heals during the show!

I have seen the Masquers Playhouse's production of The LAst Five years many times and i fall in love with it all over again every night. i find its honesty to be refreshing.

Please dont let this one persons hatred over Jason Robert Brown and his show overshadow the hard work that these people have done to create a show like this. A show like this is a huge undertaking, and yes the show is almost all song, but that doesn't mean that the actors dont have to use there acting abilities and Ekman and Cozart are wonderful vocalists and actors every night on that stage!

I find the bare set to be refreshing as well, just like the show it strips away all the cover ups and allows you to examine things as they are.

i am disappointed in this critics inability to let their personal opinions be put aside and review a show for what it is and not what they think it should be!

Posted by Eric Johnson on 04/16/2009 at 11:37 PM

Re: “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

Though I can understand the opinion that the universal uniforms could be confusing, and the use of the witches controversial, I found the acting to be tremendously deep. I disagree heartily that Weak as Macbeth is "yelling by rote" - any shouting she uses is infrequent, and is fully in keeping with the role. Her interactions with Lady Macbeth and her soliloquys in particular were dynamic and full of humanity. The acting across the board elevated this production to something really special, I found. I was very moved.

Check out the Inside Bay Area review for a different perspective.

Posted by Daryl Shawn on 10/23/2008 at 10:09 AM

Re: “Consider the Bat Boy

I just saw this production on Sunday and it was excellent! As just an amature show goer I did not find any issues with the vocals or songs. I was completely enthralled in the performances and story. I had not previously known the story of Bat Bay, so it was very new and fresh for me.
I would recommend this show to all I know - Although there was some blood and sex, it was not over done and it was portrayed in a way that was fantastical and amusing.
A definite A+ from me!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Sara Kaplan on 10/13/2008 at 11:04 AM

Re: “Suffering Shakespeare

I guess we just disagree.
I have greater expectations from a pro company than an amateur one. There is a reason the shows demand the ticket prices they do. Resources, training, experience all play into the equation.
I wouldn't expect you to be nice....fair yes.
THAT to me is the job of a critic.
A local high school talent show, a community theater, a regional theater, and a professional theater all should have their own critieria as to reviews and how they are delivered.
The world has enough Simon Cowells.

Posted by Steve on 08/24/2008 at 8:22 AM

Re: “Suffering Shakespeare

The job of a critic is not to be nice. The job of a critic is to know the difference between a good and bad performance, and to give an honest appraisal to the public about a performance s/he has seen. It is the job of the actors, the director and the production company to deliver a solid performance - especially if they have gone to the trouble to invite a critic to review said performance.

What Mr. Hurwitt has written does not in any way come across as "spiteful." This review is actually more entertaining and grounded than the shows themselves!

Regardless of whether actors are paid or not, and regardless of whether a theatre company is pro or amateur, it's the job of the theatre company to put on a performance that is worth watching, and the job of a director to choose actors who can fulfill their duties on stage, and put the play into a context that is compelling and serves the play. To call this review spiteful for expecting a production to be at least on solid footing with the chosen material (why would you do a clown version of Shakespeare if you know nothing about the art of clowning and/or arent' prepared to train your actors to learn that art?) is just ridiculous.

Posted by Joshua Stein on 07/21/2008 at 9:01 AM

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