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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.
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.
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.
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!
why not watch daytime nbs http://www.nbc.com/days-of-our-lives/video…
VIVIAN HAS DONE IT FOR MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS! http://www.nbc.com/days-of-our-lives/video…
and ask why odyssey wont make our bedrooms better!
@Keith: Got it. Thanks!
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.
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!
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. LaurenArrow523@gmail.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jean Anouilh was a man. Just FYI. (Critic referred to him as a "her").
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.
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 goldstarevents.com for discount tickets.
For information and to purchase tickets online for Bamuthi's performance on Monday, November 2 at the Berkeley Rep, go to http://www.SpeakOutNow.org
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!!
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.
It's the SFMT's 50th year, but they've done way more than 50 plays.
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