We love theater and try to take every opportunity to try anything that looks interesting. Unfortunately, between travel and local obligations, we have to be selective.
Luckily, the San Francisco offerings are sufficiently diverse, that we can always find a range of experiences. For example, over the last couple weeks, we have seen three plays, with a fourth coming up in mid-May:
- Maple and Vine, at the American Conservatory Theater, a light, quasi-comedy comedy about a novel way of escaping the travails of modern life. Cute, but a bit hard to buy into the premise;
- The Caretaker, Harold Pinter’s inscrutable play at the Curran, where Jonathan Pryce does an excellent job playing an old vagrant who is “adopted” by two brothers engaged in a power trip. Very good acting by Pryce, although the brothers were less convincing;
- Red, at Berkeley Rep, which we were unable to see on Broadway, is an incredibly intelligent play about the life and artistic philosophy of Abstract Impressionist pioneer, Mark Rothko. One of the best we have seen all season;
- In Paris, at Berkeley Rep. While we went specifically for Mikhail Baryshnikov, the scenes and staging stole the show. In fact, come to think of it, those were about the only redeeming features of the production.
Our next San Francisco play, which we will see in mid-May, is ACT’s production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame. While we have seen the play before, we will go anywhere to see the incredible Bill Irwin. Although we last saw him in San Francisco, at ACT’s production of Molière’s Scapin, we most remember him from his two most recent Broadway triumphs, Waiting or Godot and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?, for which he won the Tony Best Actor award.
But, since we would never want to go a who half month without seeing a play, we will catch four more (not to speak of all the museums, concerts and restaurants we can fit in) in a trip to New York. On deck for next week are Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller’s classic, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman), End of the Rainbow (where, from what we read, Tracie Bennett IS Judy Garland) , The Columnist (John Lithgow)and Sleep No More (an original, walk-around offshoot of Hamlet) .
Then, after End Game, we are off to Chicago for two more plays: The March and the 4.5-hour marathon production of Long Day’s Journey into Night (Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy) which, based on reviews, is almost certainly on its way to Broadway.