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Author: Jeff Dunn

“Girls of the Golden West” Comes Home Empty-Handed, at S.F. Opera

“Girls of the Golden West” Comes Home Empty-Handed, at S.F. Opera

John Adams’ Premiere More Ken Burns than Ken Branagh by Jeff Dunn Why do I go to opera? For the same reason that tenor Andrea Bocelli does: “… because opera offers such deep sensations that they will remain in a heart for a lifetime.” Excellent singing, staging, and pit work distinguish San Francisco Opera’s new production, John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West, about the California Gold Rush. Unfortunately, composer Adams and librettist Peter Sellars each finds his own way…

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“Luna Gale”: An Education in Social Work, at Aurora Theatre, Berkeley

“Luna Gale”: An Education in Social Work, at Aurora Theatre, Berkeley

Rebecca Gilman’s Documentary Honesty Hits Home  by Jeff Dunn Are you considering a career in social work? Want to be a hero? Well, you will get a whiff of reality at Rebecca Gilman’s harrowing, almost documentary-style “Luna Gale” at the Aurora Theatre. There, I followed a social worker as she tries to do her job in 14 scenes, each with a place and time projected over the stage, like a “Law and Order” procedural. Each scene depicts an interview immersed…

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“In the Next Room, or the vibrator play”: Funny and Profound, at Pear Theatre, Mountain View

“In the Next Room, or the vibrator play”: Funny and Profound, at Pear Theatre, Mountain View

Sarah Ruhl’s Vision Resonates in Caroline Clark’s Staging by Jeff Dunn Sarah Ruhl’s humorous and poignant play seems to be about quaint, yet effective 19th-century sexual vibrators. Later, we realize that the machines she depicts are cunning stand-ins—symbols for the arts themselves and how they stimulate our senses. There’s a lot of art, artifice, and stimulation going on in “In the Next Room, or the vibrator play.” Pear Theatre’s director Caroline Clark—and two especially mesmerizing performances by Ellen Dunphy and…

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Jeff Dunn

Jeff Dunn

Jeff Dunn is a Hollywood-born composer and photography judge who’s had careers as a National Park ranger, geology professor, IT project manager, and music critic for various publications. His musical Castle Happy (www.castlehappy.com) enjoyed a festival run at the Altarena Playhouse in July 2017.