Told You So: Sleepwalkers Theatre Named ‘Best Theater Company’

Hey, so, if you read this blog, you know that I’ve gone on and on about a small indie theater company called Sleepwalkers Theatre.

I routinely badgered you about their plays, like Deep Fried Cheese, a play about a competitive eater whose girlfriend becomes a vegan — calling it “brilliant…with built-in drama, conflict and dudes shoving a lot of food into their mouths really, really fast.” Or Lost & Found, which I told you was “awesome” and “fantastic” and “top-notch” before I went into a thing about my not really being a critic and thus not entitled to use those words.

I mentioned Work Eats Home, and not only because it had a short play by me that was called “beautifully written” by an actual critic who is entitled to say that. I praised March To November for being political, timely, willing to tweak liberals, tied to the local community and pretty damn funny to boot. And I tried to get a bunch of people to see the hilarious and ambitious The Short and Happy Life, none of whom I think actually went.

Well, maybe this will get you to see their next show. They were just named Best Theater Company in SF Weekly’s Best of San Francisco 2009:

Best Theater Company: Sleepwalkers Theatre

Some people like their theater as polished as possible. Others like it scrappy. Sleepwalkers is definitely for the latter crowd: The company specializes in no-frills productions of rough-and-tumble new plays. In its adopted space at the Phoenix Theatre, Sleepwalkers cultivates a slacker vibe — in some cases, the programs are handwritten — but don’t let that distract you from the fact that these people know how to pick a script. They know how to act, too; one of the company’s regulars is Ian Riley, a frankly stunning performer whose puppy-dog looks belie a deep well of manic energy. Productions tend toward the topical (the 2008-2009 season covered corporate America, post-9/11 trauma, and the complacencies of political art) — and for once, “topical” isn’t code for “sanctimonious and self-serious.” A lot of companies in town try to create the indie-theater feel, but don’t have the discipline or competence to pull it off. Sleepwalkers gets it right.

So here’s the deal. I’m 99% sure their next full production will be in October, at the Exit. So write it down right now, and make absolutely sure you go to that show. Make a promise to yourself that you will go see it, no matter what, because it will be great, because they “know how to pick a script.”