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Comment Archives: stories: Arts & Culture: Theater

Re: “The SF Mime Trope

Dear Friends,

Please join me on Sunday, July 24th, as the SF Mime Troupe performs in Richmond for the second year in a row! This is a perfect chance to gather with community on a Sunday afternoon and experience an incredible and engaging theatrical performance at Nicholl Park.

As Robert Brustein says: "Theatergoing is a communal act, movie going a solitary one."

See you there!

My best,


Free admission!

Bring blankets and lawn chairs.

Tony Award-winning SF Mime Troupe 52nd season

"2012 - The Musical!"

SF MIME troupe pic

A small political theater company, Theater BAM!, finds itself at a crossroads: should they keep telling the stories they feel can change the world (and starve while telling them), or feed at the corporate trough, sell out, and be the mouthpiece for The Man. Tough decision. But before having to make it, they are offered an artistic commission that may save the company; all they have to do is create a new play, "2012 - The Musical!" But is it political? Will it keep with the company's original mission? What's the true purpose of this frivolous production, and who's really bankrolling the thing?

When: Sunday, July 24th at 2:00 pm (music starts at 1:30)

Where: Nicholl Park, Macdonald Avenue and 33rd Street, Richmond

Contact Information

Mayor's Office

450 Civic Center Plaza

Richmond, CA 94804

phone: 510.620.6503

fax: 510.412.2070



Posted by Richmond Spokes on 07/24/2011 at 10:15 AM

Re: “Zahra Noorbakhsh and the Atheist-Muslim Connection

Obviously the first poster has NOT seen the play.
I just saw the sold-out play. Background themes include religion and generational differences -- and compromise! -- but there's nothing self-loathing or hypocritical about it.
ALL the audience loved the play.

Posted by FrankL on 07/10/2011 at 11:59 PM

Re: “Zahra Noorbakhsh and the Atheist-Muslim Connection

The person in the previous comment sounds like a racist a$$ that never even saw the play. I saw the play and it rocked! Don't let the title scare you, the play is HILARIOUS!

Posted by Mar1982 on 07/07/2011 at 10:11 PM

Re: “Zahra Noorbakhsh and the Atheist-Muslim Connection

I thought about going to this, but then remembered I had a root canal appointment. Whew! That was close. Thankfully, the root canal sounded more appealing, even after the dentist mentioned he was out of novocaine.

Seriously, if my only two choices for reading material were the Koran and Judith Butler, I'd rather gouge my eyes out.

The only thing worse than Islam is identity politics, and the only thing worse than identity politics is self-indulgent cultural minstrelsy for self-loathing white intellectual hypocrites. This "play" manages to cram all three into 60 agonizing minutes.

Ahhh, root canals, Just thinking of them makes me feel a little better.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by plink on 07/06/2011 at 11:18 PM

Re: “A Tree Grows at Ashby Stage

This just in. EBE attacked by rogue Chinese merchant sock puppets. EBE preparing nuclear response in 3-2-1...

Posted by Lawngun on 05/30/2011 at 6:24 AM

Re: “A Tree Grows at Ashby Stage

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Posted by rensheng on 05/30/2011 at 2:27 AM

Re: “No Escaping This Passion Play

Saw the play May 15th. It was not bad, but I do agree with the reviewer that something was lacking. In my view though it was the writing which fell short, not the acting. I've seen Eurydice by Ruhl in a Junior College Production. I think that's a better play.

Posted by Just me on 05/15/2011 at 8:04 PM

Re: “No Escaping This Passion Play

Who is this woman and what are her qualifications for writing about the theatre? It must be fun to tear apart the work of dozens of people without having to provide a single meritable reason for your opinion. If you can't respect people enough to sit through the entire thing then you have no right to judge it. Fire her and get someone credible.

Posted by TheGemini on 05/11/2011 at 11:24 AM

Re: “No Escaping This Passion Play

Rachel Swan seems a little to preoccupied with finding ways to sneak out shows. I noticed in her review of Impact Theatre's "Disassembly" she complains that there are no scene changes or blackouts. She states, "no one had the option of sneaking out."

Posted by linkage on 05/11/2011 at 10:18 AM

Re: “The Russianness of Sarah Ruhl

Do yourself a huge favor and miss seeing "Three Sisters" at the Berkeley Rep.

I saw Three Sisters a couple of weeks ago, and it was absolutely terrible! The acting is stilted and forced, direction is directionless, and the script trash. Many people walked out at intermission-I wish I had been one of them. Ruhl’s version of Chekov's play is an absolute unequivocal disappointment and a complete waste of 3 hours and $50. The only thing that was “good”, was the set (but alas, it didn’t have any lines).

One of my party of 4 (a rather talented actor herself), who experienced this unfortunate production quipped:

“Is it just me, or was it disgustingly cliche to cast a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead as sisters?”

Having just seen, “Ruined” and “Arabian Nights” there (both were fabulous!)-I and my entire party of 4 were surprised how incredibly bad this play was. Three Sisters had all the feel of a lousy high school production, without any of the amateur charm to explain its’ existence on a stage. AVOID THIS PLAY!

Shame on you Chad Jones and the Berkely Rep (by association) for perpetrating a fraud with your self indulgent excuse for a critical "review" on this very tired piece of rather dusty classical theatre. (Footnote: Senor Jones is the former theatre critic at the Oakland Tribune and the man behind a theatrical review website called "TheaterDogs".....he recently “jumped the fence” to become the new communications manager at the Berkeley Rep-so it is no surprise he "independently" gave this complete turkey-of-a-play the sort of glowing review you'd have to receive money to post! Um, this is how you spell conflict of interest Chad: J-O-N-E-S ).

Good theatre doesn't need a shill to make it go...but "Three Sisters" apparently does.

That said, this is the first review of the play I have come across that has reasonably spot on commentary-Ruhl brings nothing to this play that hasn't played out long before. The Berkeley Rep's promo material (no doubt written by Jones), promises a contemporary treatment of this classic-and as this review properly informs'll be disappointed if you believe them. So don't!

What I can't believe is that The Rep bothered with this production. Additionally, I won't be believing the next write up I see coming from them (read: Mr. Chad Jones)...or from Theaterdogs (dot) net, which should be ashamed of itself for trying to hoodwink the theatre going public with its' clearly vested interest "reviews" (read: paid promo pieces).

Posted by ljtoday on 04/25/2011 at 10:25 AM

Re: “Don't Stop Believin', Beardo

With all due respect, I feel like once again, Miss Swan fails to do proper research. Mr Davaran is not merely a "YouTube sensation" but a fine actor and singer in his own right. I'm sure he earned the part like any actor, and knowing him myself, it never sounded "daring" to me at all, but damn good casting. A little research into his theatrical history would have uncovered the fact that he's no stranger to the stage.

Posted by alltheatreallthetime on 03/31/2011 at 10:39 AM

Re: “Romance with Impact

I was impressed that the acting was evenly good throughout. I can also understand Ms. Swan's opinion, that the kids behave in an overly juvenile fashion. I gave it a standing ovation and intend to see it again. I would note that when I first saw one of Director Hillman's Shakespeare's play, last year (Twelfth NIght), I hated it. But after seeing it two more times, I was jumping up and down. I think that her unique interpretation has to be accepted, including the contextualization, text emendments, and physical comedy or you won't like it. Artistically she doesn't make as far a stretch as some movie directors have with R+J.

Posted by Steve I Am on 03/25/2011 at 2:42 AM

Re: “Romance with Impact

Okay, okay, hold up: the director DEFINITELY did NOT give the text "the finger." I don't think Hillman ever does anything but try to freshen up the text and make it more relatable to a modern and, more importantly, young (yes, young as in 20's) audience. And no, Shakespeare doesn't NEED to be freshened up, but if you'll look around at the Impact audiences, you'll see that they are one of the only theatres in town with such a young median age. And for these shows, they're often sold-out. So clearly, Hillman is doing something right, time and again, with both intriguing audiences to come see these classics, and also in keeping them coming back for each new Impact Theatre-ean production.
I, personally, thought the Russian mafia setting was appropriate for the bleak, violent landscape they were going for. I also don't think it's necessary to read the program to get that, especially with a few russian words flung about and the manservant's Russian accent punctuating a few scenes.

I also thought the lovers were some of the best, actually, at handling the text, unlike Ms. Swan, athough at times modern interpretations of some of the other characters did distort things a bit, but not so much that you don't understand why they do it. Shakespearean-trained though some may not be, for the most part they all find their own truth in the words, and that is, after all, the most important thing.

Posted by alltheatreallthetime on 02/23/2011 at 12:06 PM

Re: “Romance with Impact

Thanks for this review. When I read the promo fir this production, I sensed it would be as you described . . . almost like giving Shakespeare's text the finger. There are certainly many ways to direct this play, but treating the text as an obstacle or being sarcastic with it doesn't work. If only more theatre directors around here would make the play more important than their egotistic need to "make a statement" or whatever at the expense of the play - or trying so hard to "sell" the play with a flashy angle that all the nuance and color that Shakespeare gave us gets lost and wasted.

Posted by dom16 on 02/23/2011 at 9:57 AM

Re: “Fowl Play at Impact Theatre

yo te doy amore 'tu mi diste asma' what kind of foul play do we speculate and make an evening pomp but the circumstance is that these plays dont hit hard enough on why they make them and why little boys do give out but never really appreciate berkeley and they never will have to because big brother takes all the seats and the amor is never counted! are you actors family of alumni or alumnis!

Posted by cuandoviajes212 on 12/13/2010 at 2:33 PM

Re: “Penelope's Odyssey as Domestic Drama

why not watch daytime nbs…


and ask why odyssey wont make our bedrooms better!

Posted by cuandoviajes212 on 11/03/2010 at 3:26 PM

Re: “Jerry Springer Taps Into Our Inner Hoochie

@Keith: Got it. Thanks!

Posted by RachelSwan on 10/08/2010 at 10:27 AM

Re: “Jerry Springer Taps Into Our Inner Hoochie

Fact Checker Error: "Act II of the opera takes place in Hell, where Lucifer (Keith Haddock)..." The role of Satan (and Jonathan Weiros) is played by Jonathan Reisfeld. Haddock (me) plays Steve Wilkos.

Posted by keithorama on 10/08/2010 at 9:53 AM

Re: “Fowl Play at Impact Theatre

Thank you so much for coming to see the show! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it. I wanted to send some props out to Cindy Im, who is actually a very accomplished musical theatre singer. In the Bay Area, she's appeared as Roberta in Zanna, Don't! at New Conservatory (winner of the 2008 Bay Area Critics Circle award for Best Ensemble) and as Marcy in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Willows Theatre. If we let her go full voice in La Val's, I think none of us would ever recover. :-)

Thank you again! We greatly appreciate your dedication to arts journalism and local theatre!

Melissa Hillman
Artistic Director
Impact Theatre

Posted by Melissa5 on 09/14/2010 at 7:05 PM

Re: “In the Wake Leaves Blind Spots

This was, hands down, the most amazing play I've ever seen. Rachel Swan focuses too much on the masturbatory quality of the political debates (which I believe are meant to wear us down) and doesn't even touch on the depth of emotional entitlement that embodies America- what the underlying message was about. This was a beautifully written masterpiece with superb natural acting. This play is honest about the society that we chose to live in- living in a middle class society because we benefit from it and shirk our ideals aside to live in a lie.

If anyone has access to the manuscript, I think it would make amazing reading material.

Posted by GrrGrrl on 06/23/2010 at 12:42 AM

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