Between catching up from our four month Asia trip, weeklong trips to LA and New York, finishing my book (which is scheduled for September publication) and the winding down of Joyce’s consulting career, we missed all too much of what was going on in our adopted home town of San Francisco: restaurant openings, museum and gallery exhibits, wine tastings, plays and much more.
This required a concerted effort to make up for lost time while simultaneously keeping up with the many new doings throughout the city.
This series of blog posts examines our experiences with four of our favorite city leisure pursuits: art museums and galleries, theater, wine tastings and last, but certainly not least, keeping up with all of the city’s new restaurants, while still having time to revisit many of our favorites. The particular highlights and lowlights of this process are split into four posts.
As for our theater experiences, we unfortunately missed BRT’s production of Mikail Baryshnikov’s “Man in a Case”. We were, however, able to catch three Bay Area plays, in addition to the five that we saw in New York. These were:
- Berkeley Rep’s “Tribes”. Although we were lucky enough to see the wonderful production of Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellum in Harold Pinter’s “No Man’s Land” before we left for Asia (and the play went to Broadway), we were less excited by “Tribes’” portrayal of the social and even familial isolation of deafness.
- ACT’s “The Suit” was a very touching depiction of South African township family drama in which a husband punishes his wife’s infidelity by forcing her to treat her lover’s suit (which was left behind as the man rushed from the house) as an honored guest. Heart-felt, sad and thoroughly engaging.
- Magic Theater’s Pen/Man/Ship, a drama aboard a late 19th-century ship in which a African-American father and son, traveling to Liberia on a secret business trip companion, are accompanied by a woman who plans to move to the country to escape the perils of the 19th-century south. The story largely revolves around the self-righteous father who manages to alienate virtually everybody on the ship and is largely responsible for a violent, mutinous standoff. Generally engaging, except for an artificial plot device in which the crew elects the woman passenger as their leader.
- Berkeley Rep’s The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures—the long, intellectually challenging, west coast premiere of Tony Kushner’s play that portrays the reunion of a passionately argumentative, intellectual Brooklyn-based Italian family that gathers to discuss the contemplated suicide of the patriarch, a disenchanted retired longshoreman labor leader and former Communist who has lost faith in the society and economy of the early 21st century. Although it was often hard to follow two or three animated arguments going on at a time, it was a very intelligent and engaging play.
In our view, The Suit and The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide are both must-see productions.