THE LISTENER by Crowded Fire

Last night I went to opening night of Liz Duffy Adams’ The Listener, presented by Crowded Fire at Traveling Jewish Theater. Once again, I was reminded of what a tight community we have here in San Francisco. I saw Julie and Kent and Trevor and Alex and Amy and Kathy and Enrique. Two of the stars of the show, Lawrence Radecker and Cole Alexander Smith, have been in staged readings of my plays. And I just took a class with Liz Duffy Adams herself.

The play is set in the same kind of post-apocalyptic world that Liz’s Dog Act was set in. It’s a couple hundred years from now, and after all the pandemics and the flooding and the chaos and the what have you, everyone from Earth took off for the moon and created New Earth, or Nearth.

The one’s left behind, the Unfit, have built a world from all the leftover junk and are left to interpret what they can from the relics. CDs become precious decorative objects, and stories of the old gods Okrah (giver of gifts who “everyone loves”) and Sam the Uncle get passed along and distorted through time. Into this world comes a guy from Nearth, hoping to save the savages. Needless to say, things don’t go as planned.

Lawrence gets a great speech and gets to play bad; Cole is incredibly natural and charming as our entree into this strange world; and Juliet Tanner is completely riveting throughout as the Listener — the one person broadcasting to the rest of the world in the hopes that somebody, anybody can hear her.

After the show, there were drinks and cookies and what Alex called “Build Your Own Lunchables.” I spent much of my time talking to a couple of Crowded Fire’s board members and finding out exactly what board members do. And if I play my cards right, I might get the recipe to the crazy-good brownies that Charles, the board president, made.

The show runs for six weeks: three in San Francisco and three in Berkeley. So you have no excuse not to go. (Although you won’t get any brownies.)

The Listener by Liz Duffy Adams, directed by Kent Nicholson, produced by Crowded Fire in partnership with the Playwrights Foundation. Jul 12 – Aug 3 at Traveling Jewish Theater, SF and Aug 15 – Aug 31 at Ashby Stage, Berkeley. Tickets at