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An Evening with Great Zamboni 

When: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 10 2012
Phone: 510-551-9018
Price: $12-$20
Actor, writer, and Impact Theatre member Jordan Winer has racked up his share of stage credits at the small basement black box: Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet, Len in Crevice. Now he’s venturing into solo performance, having developed a full ninety-minute production from a character he invented a few years ago — an Estonian soothsayer named The Great Zamboni. Winer has already tested Zamboni on audiences at the San Francisco Theater Festival and on passersby at Fourth Street in Berkeley (where he set up a table and told fortunes), but for this play, he took a gag and gave it a full narrative. Zamboni spends part of the play regaling audience members with stories of his childhood in Estonia, and the rest offering his services as a matchmaker/psychic/tireless dispenser of advice. Some of his soliloquies are scripted, though many are done off-the-cuff — Winer has an uncanny knack for retaining the character’s voice while answering difficult questions (e.g., “Is he the one?” and “Why are people homophobic?”). Though the plot is a bit too thin to fill an hour and a half, the idea has legs. In this case, it’s enhanced by Katja Rivera’s stagings and Alex Friedman’s profusely cluttered set design. An Evening with Great Zamboni runs through August 10 at La Val’s Subterranean (1834 Euclid Ave., Berkeley). $12-$17. 510-224-5744 or
— Rachel Swan


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