Best Of PlayGround, ‘MAURITIUS’ at Magic, and Paying Gigs

I’ve had a couple of days working full-time on-site for one of my favorite clients on one of those cool projects where you have to sign NDAs and be accompanied by someone to get in and out of the building. Which also means I had no Internet access during the day and no time at night to mention a few things I’ve seen lately. Namely….

Picture 1.pngThe Best of PlayGround Festival. One of the best years yet. PlayGround has moved out of Zeum — which is more of a corporate space and not very well designed for theater — into Thick House, which is one of the best theater spaces in the city.

This year’s selections gave the evening a magical and fairy tale feel, kicking off with Ken Slattery’s hilarious commedia-style comedy, ending with Aaron Loeb’s twisted and brilliant retelling of Thumbelina, and sprinkled with Erin Bregman’s actual fairy tale about world peace, Geetha Reddy’s ultra-theatrical use of the stage in a beautiful play set in a net under the Golden Gate Bridge, and Kenn Rabin’s gorgeous piece of magical realism in the academic world. Evelyn Pine and Daniel Heath rounded out the evening with more realistic plays about couples respectively debating the power of nudity and playing Albee-worthy games that quickly turn personal. Terrific stuff.

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Then on Monday I went to opening night of Mauritius by Theresa Rebeck at Magic Theater. Unbelievable acting. Seriously, one of the best casts I’ve ever seen bringing it every second of the way. Every time I think about calling out one of the actors, I remember how good all the others were. Damn!

Rather than slogging through my lame attempt to summarize the story, check out two excellently-written reviews by Robert Hurwitt in the Chronicle and Chad Jones on Theater Dogs.

Picture 3.pngHurwitt has the little guy jumping out of the chair; Jones points out that the second act is where the writing really comes to life.

The Magic had to cut its season short and this run is trimmed to only two weeks, so if you’re interested in seeing a really tight, expertly acted example of straight-up realism, get tickets quickly.

Mauritius by Theresa Rebeck at Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, through Jun 14. Tickets at magictheatre.org.

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