Archive for March, 2010


March 27, 2010

Okay, now is a good time to get this blog up and running again. Last weekend was the Spring Equinox, when the days began getting longer than the nights. It’s a celebration of renewal, fertility and the plants and flowers coming back to life. With that in mind, here is my first blog post after a long, dark winter.

 On Friday night, March 19th, I saw the ACT Conservatory Class of 2010 do a new (to me) play called “Oh Lovely Glowworm; or Great Scenes of Beauty,“ written by Glen Berger. As usual for an ACT play at the Zeum Theater the set was quite spectacular. It was like the Borg home world (from “Star Trek: Next Generation”) or one of the “Matrix” movies. But this was a fantasy, not science fiction, that took place in Europe around the time of World War I. The characters included a talking stuffed goat, a mermaid, and Irish soldiers. It was a good play for the Equinox – the characters kept dying and coming back to life, there were overlapping stories that would end and then start over again later, and there was a general theme involving a major cultural shift happening.

 Of course most of that was not really apparent to me till a couple of days later, after I’d had time to think about it. While I was watching “Glowworm” I was just enjoying the story and the talented cast. It was three hours long but went by quickly.

(I’d also like to mention that last fall ACT Conservatory opened up a new studio theater at 77 Geary, on the sixth floor of an office building. The first show I saw there was Sam Shepard’s “Fool For Love,” and it instantly became my favorite new performance space in town. It’s intimate! That play is so tightly written and visceral, and the cast of four just ripped into it and made it happen. When it was over I felt exhilarated.)

On Saturday, March 20, the actual day of the Equinox, I went to SF State to see a version of “Romeo and Juliet,” which was just called “Juliet,” and had a cast of six women and one man – all of them playing Juliet. It was marvelous much, a character study exploring different aspects of her personality, thoughts and feelings. That was quite interesting. I have seen recent productions of “Romeo and Juliet” where Juliet herself seemed to have gotten lost somewhere in the rehearsal and directing process. And hey, it’s her story, right? It was nice to see her as the center of attention, presented as being complex and surprising. 

They also brought in other characters to tell the basic plot, using some of Shakespeare’s best dialogue and scenes and combining them with dance, improvisation, and newly written material. So it was both a performance of the play and something else at the same time. There was a great mix of movement with sound and/or music. It all worked really well.

I have featured two school performances in this blog. I don’t really make a distinction between professional, school and other types of productions – all that matters to me is if I enjoyed the show. Both ACT Conservatory and SF State School of Creative Arts have staged many excellent productions in the years that I have been an active Bay Area Theatre-goer. I would have written about State’s recent, and awesome, “Twelfth Night” if my blog hadn’t been in the Underworld with Persephone. But now it’s Spring; my blog has returned, and I am once again writing about the pleasures of theatre. Excelsior!