In the month since the dance season kicked in, dancegoers have been lured into a world of animism, thanks to the offerings at the International Arts Festival in San Francisco. From Siberian singers and dancers to a troupe of almost butoh-like performers from Burkina Faso, West Africa, the natural world was rendered as rife with spirit life and magical energy. Now Anima Mundi director Kathryn Roszak tries to give the East Bay its own taste of pagan spirituality with her company's latest production, Mountains and Rivers Without End, a dance-theater piece inspired by and adapted from Gary Snyder's 1996 epic poem. Anima Mundi, Latin for "soul of the world," is Roszak's eco-friendly dance company, noted for such elements as Styrofoam-cup mountains on stage (symbolizing our death by petroleum-dependent detritus) and fluid, contact-improv-style movement, connoting the oozy and fluid action of things natural. What makes the Saturday 2 p.m. event unusual is that it is set in Yoshi's jazz club in Jack London Square. Yoshi's postage-stamp stage is barely big enough for a grand piano, a bass, and a few stools, but perhaps that underscores the ecology of the dance. Performers include club owner Yoshi Akiba herself, actor Earll Kingston, and a gaggle of other East Bay performers. $10-$15. 510-233-5550. -- Ann Murphy
Magical Acts Ritual Theater presents Elie Wiesel's The Trial of God, the story of Berish, an innkeeper, and his insane daughter, the only two residents left alive after a pogrom in a 17th-century village. When wandering minstrels arrive at the inn, Berish suggests that they perform a trial, with God as the defendant, as three rabbis did when Wiesel himself was a captive at Auschwitz. Experience the drama weekends through October 19 at the Oakland Metro (201 Broadway). 510-653-6737, MagicalActs.org -- Stefanie Kalem
Foe: True or Faux?
If it's Friday, this must be ...
Playwright Peter Glazer likes to play games with adaptations, as with his version of J.M. Coetzee's Foe, the South African playwright's 1986 politicized send-up of Robinson Crusoe. Not content with Coetzee's inversion of author Daniel Defoe's 19th-century colonialist tale of white master and black slave on a desert island, director Glazer makes Crusoe a woman, to go along with Coetzee's altered characters: Friday (here a mute African) and Mr. Foe. The UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies' production opens Friday (8 p.m.) and runs through October 19 at Zellerbach Playhouse. Tickets: 866-468-3399. Info: Theater.berkeley.edu -- Kelly Vance
Antigone gets a makeover
Last summer, Bonnee Stingily directed her adaptation of Sophocles' tragedy Antigone for an African-American Shakespeare Company production at San Francisco's ZEUM. This week, the actress, playwright, and Contra Costa College instructor brings a portion of that trilogy, The Gospel According to Tiggy B, to the college's Fireside Theatre. The multimedia presentation uses rap dialogue and gospel rhythms to recast Sophocles' generational and cultural struggle for new times, as Tiggy B, née Antigone, defies tradition by giving her late brother proper burial rites. It sets off a chain of epiphany and misfortune, of course, as Antigone has done since 441 BC, as she did during Nelson Mandela's portrayal of Creon in a late-'60s Robben Island prison production, and will continue to do for perpetuity. The theater is located on the Contra Costa campus, entrance of El Portal Drive and Castro Street, San Pablo. 8 p.m., $5. Info: 510-235-7800, x 4467. -- Stefanie Kalem
Culture Spy - December 8, 6:10 PM
What the Fork - December 6, 3:51 PM
What the Fork - December 1, 1:56 PM
What the Fork - November 28, 1:33 PM
What the Fork - November 15, 1:37 PM