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“Topdog/Underdog”—Taut and Absorbing, at Ubuntu, Berkeley

“Topdog/Underdog”—Taut and Absorbing, at Ubuntu, Berkeley

Suzan-Lori Parks Sings a Layered Tale by Kim Waldron It’s the rhythm, the music in the language, that captures us. A young man piles up milk crates, tops them with flat cardboard, and lays down three slightly bent cards. He picks up one card in one hand and two cards in the other, and throws them down in new positions—all the while chanting.  The rhythmic language of Three Card Monte grabs us: “Watch me close watch me close now: who-see-thuh-red-card-who-see-thuh-red-card?…

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“Saturday Night” Romances with Charm, at 42nd Street Moon, S.F.

“Saturday Night” Romances with Charm, at 42nd Street Moon, S.F.

Millennial Notes Stephen Sondheim’s Love Story Makes Us Swoon by Maggie Lohmeyer It happens to us all. What are we going to do this weekend? Who’s free? What movie do we go to? Who’s picking up the tab? In the 1955 musical “Saturday Night,” Stephen Sondheim tackles the awkwardness of dating in Brooklyn in 1929, on the edge of the Great Depression. We follow a dashing group of working-class young men. Ted (quirky Jesse Cortez), Artie (comical Mike Birr), Ray…

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“Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.” Exhilarating, at Crowded Fire, S.F.

“Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.” Exhilarating, at Crowded Fire, S.F.

Alice Birch’s Women Revel in Un-Civil Disobedience    by Kim Waldron The career woman wants more time off from work.  The young girl is forced to marry her rapist. A woman feels trapped by even the idea of married life.  Fear of rape. Domestic violence as a family tradition. Everything in “Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.” reminds me of another woman I know. British playwright Alice Birch captures the world as it is. Then she issues a manifesto for revolution…

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“A Streetcar Named Desire” Explores Primal Places, at Ubuntu Theater, Oakland

“A Streetcar Named Desire” Explores Primal Places, at Ubuntu Theater, Oakland

Millennial Notes Tennessee Williams Springs to Life with Whelan and Ramirez by Tyler Jeffreys Ubuntu Theater Project’s version of Tennessee Williams’ 1947 classic “A Streetcar Named Desire” brings out the primal, selfish, raw instincts that we are trained to repress. When we first walk into a bare room in the Alice Collective in Oakland, the actors, dressed in black, are warming up. They lie on the floor or hang from the pillars–twisting and stretching. We sit in chairs in a…

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