Drama Talk & Drinks: Now for Now – “Did she really pee?”

There’s been a buzz in the SF theater world about Now For Now the “multimedia physical theater piece created and performed by Bay Area theater makers Mark Jackson and Megan Trout”. It’s only in SF for a short run before it goes on tour nationally, so we headed to Z Below for a night of Drama Talk & Drinks.


Photo by Gabby Battista


Brittany: Okay, let’s just get this out of the way, did she really pee?

Katie: I don’t think so. It had to have been some sort of water bag prop sort of thing.

B: That would have to be a health code violation, right? You can’t just pee on stage on purpose, even if you clean it up after.

K: Yeah, I don’t think she peed. You know what was really confusing for me though, is some of the things Mark (Jackson) was saying as his character, is stuff from his real life. I got too distracted trying to differentiate what was fiction vs. what was reality.

B: I enjoyed that they did that, especially in the opening. It was refreshing to have a prologue that that broke the third wall and drew the audience into the scene. They made some very cool staging choices too. It was neat having the live technology – live texting –  live video from the phone – real-time IM conversations – incorporated into the scenes. Screens are such a big element of how we interact with people, so I appreciate that they worked that into the evolution of these relationships.

K: They were definitely being innovative, which I appreciate, but I just wasn’t that interested in the characters.

B: There was a bit of navel gazing that I got a little fed up with too. Actors complaining about the kinds of problems actors face, that actors love to muse about. It made it hard for me to sympathize with their ennui. I didn’t really care what happened to either of the characters at the end.

K: There were moments that were fascinating to watch from a theatrical standpoint. The movement work was beautiful.

B: You just have to like theater for the art-of-theater’s sake, you’ll be disappointed if you go for the story.

K: I’m just disappointed because Mark Jackson was one of my favorite professors, and I felt like this play was very self indulgent which I wouldn’t have thought would be his style.

B: Maybe the play is a critique of itself. It comes across as narcissistic because it’s saying everyone is narcissistic. That’s why they took a selfie at curtain call.

K: I hope so. I’d rather think the whole show is meta, instead of just self indulgent.

The Verdict: It you enjoy arty theater, you may like this. If you go to theater to hear a compelling, moving story, we think this play falls short.

The Drama Talk: While the show makes some very innovative choices with the way it incorporates technology, and the movement in the transitions can be spellbinding, the show falls short when it comes to the stories it tells. Perhaps it’s because the show tells the same story three times over, just with the roles the actors play in each version slightly altered; in story one they’re father/daughter, story two lovers, story three teacher/student, with the same salient details re-conceived across the three relationship types. By the end we were both tired of the characters and their disillusioned lives.

The Drinks: After the show we rolled down the hill to Rite Spot Cafe to grab a laid back drink and dissect what we just saw. Brittany got a Bitter Bullet, because all the characters seemed so bitter, and Katie got a Moscow Mule, to go along with all the stories of being driven to drink by “hardcore” Russian actors. We wondered why we didn’t get drinks there after every show, and thanked our lucky stars that there are still bars in the Mission where you can get a good strong simple drink and talk the night away.

Now for Now runs through July 26th at the Z-Below theater at Z Space, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 5pm. Tickets are available on the Z Space website $20 for adults, or $15 for Students and Seniors.

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