Tonight I saw two plays by two friends of mine: Ian Walker and Joe Besecker. Both of them are in my playwriting group that is supposed to meet every Tuesday but that hasn’t met for months and months due to productions and house construction. And both are fantastic playwrights, well-known in San Francisco and slowly becoming well-known in other parts, as well.

smvisiting.jpgJoe is a staple of San Francisco theater. He’s had 30 productions, several Best of Fringe shows, and his TENNESSEE IN THE SUMMER has been optioned to be made into a film. His play was VISITING BERTHA, which takes four characters barely mentioned in Tennessee Williams’ THE FUGITIVE KIND and brings them to life in a gorgeous play. Joe is masterful at Williams-style language, and this production is wonderful. The cast (Maggie Grant, Jake Limbert, Lee Corbett, and Matt Socha) is superb.

smstone.jpgIan was recently a winner of the John Golden Prize and the Larry Corse International Award. His play was ERIN’S HOPE, a brilliantly written piece about a guy offering to “spin” the IRA to the American public. After the show, an Irish guy came up to Ian and told him it was one of the most powerful plays he’s seen about “the Troubles,” and he was shocked that Ian’s not Irish. Nope, just a good writer.

I’d urge you to see these shows but, as usual, I saw them on closing night. So I’ll just urge you to keep an eye out for their names and catch their next shows. Ian’s always being produced by Second Wind in San Francisco, and Joe is, at the very least, in most SF Fringe Festivals.