HOT HOUSE at Magic Theater

You’ve still got one last week to check out the Hot House shows at the Magic. And, in fact, if you go on Saturday, there’s a panel with Les Waters (who’s directed many of the best shows at Berkeley Rep) and Jason Neulander (who runs Austin’s awesome Salvage Vanguard Theater) and Soho Rep’s Sarah Benson, who I don’t know but c’mon it’s Soho Rep. You should go to that. I can’t. You should go and tell me how it went.

bo.pngAnd do see the Hot House shows. It’s a strong batch this year. I saw ‘BOT first, and found it incredibly interesting. It’s a Sloan Initiative show, and I’m into the whole science thing, so I particularly dug how Carol Kaplan made the science such an integral part of the story. It’s about a kid genius (played by an incredible Jonathan Rosen) who is trying to create a virtual reality version of himself that will live on after he dies. Very cool, especially the staging.

ru.pngI saw RUST second. It’s fantastically theatrical, one of those stories that could only happen onstage. Some of the older folks in the audience found it a little baffling, but it’s one of those brilliant pieces that teaches the audience how to understand what’s happening as it goes. It tackles race, stereotypes, advertising and football (thus making my “tackles” a very clever and witty pun.) I have to say, though, I don’t think it’s as “Suzan-Lori Parks-ish” as some of the critics say. (One of ’em even says the character names are SLP-style, when I’m pretty sure they’re just historically correct.) Let’s just say that Kirsten Greenridge has her own bold, theatrical voice, shall we?

pp.pngI saw PLEASURE AND PAIN last. It’s been getting a lot of hype, which always makes me worried. And it deals with sex, so I was afraid the titillation factor was responsible for the sell-out crowds. But no; it’s actually pretty damn funny, well-written, and features a knockout cast. Max Moore and Jennifer Clare were particularly awesome, but I’m always impressed at the level of actors that the Magic attracts.

So I had a great time. If you’re so inclined, you have about five days.