Stick 'Em Up 

Exploding on Impact


The world of Adults Under 35 can be roughly divided into two groups: people who love theater, and those who hate it. Since 1996, Impact Theatre has sought to bridge that unfortunate gap by appealing to all Gen. X and Y audiences with fresh talent, provocative and relevant productions, and ticket prices that are easy on the wallet. The nonprofit compan performs in the basement of La Val's pizza parlor (1834 Euclid Ave., Berkeley. It operates with the help of volunteers, donations, T-shirt sales, and a small company of actors, directors, and technical crew willing to work for applause and a small stipend. Aside from its modest yet admirable commitment to producing "theater that doesn't suck," Impact serves as an accessible outlet for any local playwright with an unpublished, "kick-ass" script. Over eight seasons, Impact has produced more than a dozen full-length world premieres, from adaptations of Henry IV and Macbeth to original works such as Scab, Say You Love Satan, and Sexual Perversity in Chicago. The theater also hosts "Impact Briefs," the popular almost-annual series of mini-sketches (ten minutes or less) from up-and-coming playwrights.

Money & Run, Impact's final performance of the 2003-04 season, follows the adventures of Run and Money, a wanderer and his female companion, on their quest for "truth, justice, purpose, and wine coolers." The story -- divided into three episodes and stylized after TV action-adventure serials -- somehow incorporates ninjas, narcs, nincompoops, and a villain named Big Momma Bob into three "side-splittingly funny tales of love, revenge, dance contests, and staying one step ahead of the law." Catch all three installments (which can be enjoyed in any order) on consecutive nights from April 29 through June 5. Episode One: "Money, Take Run" on Thursday nights; Episode Two: "Of Nuns and Ninjas" Friday nights; and Episode Three: "Save the Last Dance for Run" Saturdays. Showtime 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 general, $10 students and seniors, with a discount for tickets to all three shows. Info: 510-464-4468 or -- Joy White

SAT 5/1


Other Voices

This weekend, the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus will feature something extra-special -- a woman. Soprano Yulia Ronskaya joins the OEBGMC for "Something's in the Air," a spring affair with a distinctly Bay Area flair. Though Ronskaya kicked off her professional career as Tatiana in a Moscow State Opera production of Eugene Onegin, she is now an East Bay gal, directing the a cappella Voices Lesbian Choral Ensemble. And though the program includes some early music, it will also feature such new works as SF-based composer Robert Seeley's paean to equal marriage rights, Marry Us. The concert starts at 8 p.m. at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland. Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door, available from 800-706-2389 and -- Stefanie Kalem


Common Ground Zero

A birthday party in a post-9/11 Pakistani-American household is the starting point for The Domestic Crusaders, Bay Area playwright Wajahat Ali's two-act stage drama, which uses humor and political irony to comment on scapegoating of Muslim Americans, the tensions of cross-culturalism, and other hot-button topics. The play, produced by author Ishmael Reed and directed by Carla Blank, is performed in a staged reading Friday (7 p.m.) at Mehran Restaurant, 5774 Mowry School Rd., Newark; and Saturday and Sunday (2 p.m.) at the Oakland Main Library's West Auditorium, 125 14th St. Info: or 510-396-6879. -- Kelly Vance


Casino! Royale

Legalized gambling and neighborhood casinos are much on the minds of cash-strapped municipalities -- not to mention hardcore gambling junkies -- these days, but it's rare to see a community theater group using the topic as the premise for a stage musical. At least until Casino! came along. The new musical, with book by Judith Offer and music by Joyce Whitelaw, has fun with the notion of casinos in such Oakland landmarks as the Claremont Hotel. It opens Friday at Oakland's Glenview Performing Arts Center, 1318 Glenfield Ave., for a run through May 16. Info: or 510-531-0511. -- Kelly Vance


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