Drama Talk & Drinks Halloween Roundup

It’s Halloween week! Looking for something spooky to do that doesn’t involve being groped in a haunted house, but is a little more rowdy than a pumpkin patch? We’ve got you covered! Our Drama Talk and Drinks Halloween roundup is here! We haven’t had a chance to check out any of these shows yet, but they caught our eye, and may catch yours too.

Musical, Magical Halloween Comedy Kinda Boo!

Rocky Horror Show at Victoria Theater
You’ve seen the movie, you’ve danced the Time Warp, now come and see a live-stage version of the show that inspired the cult classic! Just in time for Halloween, Ray of Light’s 15th season closes out with Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show; “a special engagement full-scale production of the original hit musical that will have you shivering in antici…” Tickets are currently available on Goldstar for performances through November 4th- the show runs through November 7th, with tickets for the nights not available on Goldstar available through the Ray of Light  website.

Shocktoberfest: Curse of the Cobra (Hydrodome)
Last year we loved the Thrillpeddlers annual Grand Guignol Halloween spectacular Shocktoberfest! We haven’t had a chance to check out this year’s, Curse of the Cobra, yet, but we pretty much guarantee if you want a real raunchy gruesome good time, this show will deliver. Just be prepared for lots of nudity, fake blood, and campy gruesome stories. This show runs through November 21st, but Goldstar has some discount tickets available for this week or you can get tickets for any night on Thrillpeddlers website.

Hella Funny Halloween Comedy Festival (Cobbs Comedy)
Looking for laughs this Halloween? Cobbs is doing a special Halloween night show in partnership with SF Funcheap, in which award winning Bay Area comics will come together, in costume, for a night of Halloween humor. Discount tickets are on Goldstar or you can get them through Cobb’s website.

Musical, Magical Halloween Comedy Kinda Boo! (Verdi Club)
This show crossed our screens a few weeks ago, and we were intrigued. Something described as “a naughty dark comedy featuring mystery, magic, music and a bit of burlesque.” has to be at least entertaining, right? It’s only a three night show, October 29-31, so get to it before it’s gone. There are discount tickets available on Goldstar, and you can also buy through the KindaBoo website if Goldstar sells out.

Ghost Quartet (Curran Theater Stage)
If you missed our last DT&D review, you missed us gushing over The Object Lesson the truly spectacular show which opened the very cool Curran Under Construction series, which is happening on the stage of the Curran while it’s under construction (aptly named). The show for Halloween weekend is Ghost Quartet: “A haunted song cycle about love, death, and whiskey, written and composed by Bay Area favorite Dave Malloy”. Tickets are available on the Curran Under Construction website for performances Oct 28-31 with a special late-night show at 10pm on the 31st.

Now get out there and have some Halloween fun at the theater! Let us know if you see any of the above, and what you thought in the comments.

Drama Talk & Drinks: Curran – Under Construction

We had no idea that the Curran Theater was under construction. We were also pleasantly surprised that they are using this time as an opportunity to give audiences a unique experience. While the theater is going through a face lift, they are inviting audiences to gather on stage, and witness their performance pieces up close. We were fortunate to be able to catch the first piece of the series Object Lesson created and performed by Geoff Sobelle:


Katie: I can’t think of the last time I saw something that interesting and refreshing. It was fucking delightful.

Brittany: It was such a cool use of space. It was awesome to be on the stage of the Curran amidst all the boxes that you get to look around and play in and all of the sudden a show starts. It was like a magic show meets really cool art installation meets really cool performance piece.  I think he did a great job of capturing that moment of nostalgia that unites the way that people experience their lives.

* Unfortunately Object Lesson only runs this weekend and is sold out (wow this post is such a tease) but if this show is any indication of how innovative this series will be, then this will be some of the most interesting pieces of theater you will ever see.


October 14-18 / Object Lesson

October 19th / Ground Breakers with Kevin Sessums

October 23-25, 28-31 / Ghost Quartet

November 19-21 / Steve Cuiffo is Lenny Bruce

December 3-5 / Notes of a Native Song

December 12-13, 19-20 / Story Pirates’ Greatest Hits Show

January 17-27 / A 24 – Decade History of Popular Music

Go to sfcurran.com to get the full run down.


Drama Talk & Drinks: Moments of Truth – “really loud and really close to me”

A couple of months ago we attended the 2015 3 Girls Theatre New Works Festival and loved that a piece from that festival would be chosen to be fully produced in 2016. We thought it would interesting to see the play that was chosen from the 2014 festival, Moments of Truth, now been fully produced and premiering at the Royce Gallery in the Mission. Off we went to a little known live-work gallery and theater for some drama talk & drinks.


Brittany: I appreciate that the play really felt like it was coming from a Woman’s perspective. I thought that the female characters shared some truth about how women think, which is part of 3 Girls Theater’s mission. They want to put women’s work on stage, and they want female perspectives on stage. I love the concept behind it.

Katie: Yes, it was so refreshing to see a show written by a women with two female leads, and those leads were both really good. However, I didn’t feel like the story, which is very naturalistic, needed to be a musical. It was a better story for a straight play, and I didn’t think the music was as strong as the play. While the writing was good, the lyrics felt forced.

B: The small space was also really hard for a musical. It was a little too much for the space. Not that it was bad singing, it was just really loud and really close to me. The most genuine moments happened when they weren’t singing. When they sang, everything got so big. The guy who played all the ensemble characters hardly sang, but he was delightful, in some ways he was my favorite part of the show.

K: Yeah there is something special about being in an intimate space. But there’s a good reason it’s rare to see musicals done in essentially a black box.

The Verdict: The actors, the set and the story were good, but this fell short as a musical. The space was too small for the actors’ big voices, and even if we didn’t feel blasted by some of the belting, we just didn’t like the songs that well.  Still, it’s a cool company, with an awesome mission, so go if you want to support local theater and see a musical in a really small-historic-random art space.

The Drama Talk: Moments of Truth, does have in it some truth. The story touches on some very real feelings of doubt, self esteem issues, and ennui that felt very authentic. Unfortunately, the lyricist chose questionably clever rhymes, to go with a traditional musical theater score, which held back what could have been a great story. We both thought this would be a much better play than a musical.

The Drinks: The Royce Gallery is situated near a lot of great bars. We chose to go to Homestead for it’s relaxed atmosphere and straightforward, truthful drinks.

(Note: We were provided a large glass of red wine and a mission mini cupcake in the lobby, FOR FREE. We liked that touch)

Moments of Truth runs through October 18th at Royce Gallery. Tickets can be purchased directly through their website. Tickets are between $30-$50. There are currently tickets on Goldstar from comp-$15.

Drama Talk & Drinks: Amelie, A New Musical – “This was set and lighting design porn”

When we heard that Amelie, the 2001 French romantic-comedy that was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, was turned into a musical we were intrigued. We loved Amelie the movie, and we love musicals, so we thought this could be a match made in heaven. Off we went to Berkeley Rep for a world premiere and some Drama Talk & Drinks.


Katie: You know how people talk about architecture porn, for me this was set and lighting design porn. The design of this show turned me on. Okay that’s graphic, but you know what I mean. My eyes were very happy. I love that the set kept reinventing itself. So many different set pieces and projections and lighting changes. The world they created was so imaginative and fun.

Brittany: Yeah, it was visually stunning. They could sing like “whoa” too. It was beautiful, and really fun to watch. Berkeley Rep puts together great shows, but as a new musical, I wonder how this play would do without all the talent. There were only 2 songs that I loved, as in I could see my teenage self belting them in the shower, and basically the whole show was sung. It wasn’t a problem for this production, because the awesome cast and great staging, but I don’t think the music is as catchy as a lot of other musicals.

K: The actors were so good and their voices were so freakin’ beautiful that I didn’t really care that some of the songs were mediocre at best. It’s rare that I see a show and I’m truly transported, get chills and can’t stop smiling . . . it’s a feeling that I never get when I see a bad play or even when I see a good movie, but I got that feeling tonight.

The Verdict: This musical is delightful. Did you love the Amelie the movie? Well, this musical will not disappoint. It is every bit as sweet and imaginative as the movie.

The Drama Talk: Using inventive staging and the relying on the audiences’ imagination, Amelie, A New Musical, was perhaps even more whimsical and delightful than the movie. Through projections, bright costumes, and fast moving but minimal set pieces the very talented cast created a magical world, where charming characters intertwined to create beautiful story about love and self acceptance. While we’re not sure if many of the songs will enter the musical theater canon, since the book and script alone are not as strong as the Berkeley Rep production as a whole, as long as you’re okay with musical theater we think you’ll like this show.

The Drinks: The theater has a nice bar in their courtyard, but if you are like us and want to get away from the crowd head across the street to Revival Bar & Kitchen. We felt it appropriate to debrief about Amelie over wine, but after a show that whimsical you need a wine that is also fun, so we ordered Sparkling Rose.

Amelie, A New Musical runs through October 4th at Berkeley Rep. Tickets can be purchased directly through their website. Tickets are between $49-$99. Are you under 30? Lucky you, because they give ½ price tickets for people under 30 (must purchase tickets online, and proof of age is required).

Drama Talk & Drinks: The Phantom of the Opera – “No means no”

If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, and in a family that encouraged an interest in the theatre, you probably saw The Phantom of the Opera. We both did, several times, and when we heard there was a new tour of it coming to SHN’s Orpheum Theater we were interested to see how it aged. Could it still be as mind-blowingly cool as we remembered? Or, does Andrew Lloyd Webber actually suck, as we’ve been told as adults, although we secretly refuse to believe it. What better way to confront the realities of our youth than a night of Drama Talk and Drinks?

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Brittany: Man, Phantom of the Opera…

Katie: It’s so different from what I remember as a kid.

B: It was beautiful, and an amazing spectacle, but it’s sooo creepy. Was it always that creepy?

K: I don’t remember it being that creepy.

B: Maybe as a kid I didn’t get all the weird sexual undertones the Phantom is giving off, but he’s a spooky dude. He was a stalker, kidnapper, murderer, and although it didn’t happen on stage, I’m pretty sure a rapist. Or at least aspirationally a rapist.

K: Yeah, he had a really unhealthy obsession with Christine.

B: I thought he was just a scary looking guy, not a maniac.

K: Yeah, I remember him being misunderstood. In my childhood memory he was just an abused kid, who wanted to make music, and to be accepted for who he was. I don’t remember him being so sick and abusive.

B: Yeah, in the last scene the way he pinned her to the bed was really violent. Like there should have been trigger warnings. No means no.

K: Seriously, no means no, Phantom. But even though the story was way darker than I remember, the crazy sets, and flashy costumes, the pyrotechnics, and falling chandeliers made it an amazingly enjoyable time. Maybe even a better time than I thought it would be. Even though it was lots of song and dance and musical theatre-ness, the story was kind of dysfunctional, which I like.

B: It’s still Phantom, the music is the same, it just felt a little different watching it as an adult.

K: Yeah, I was super entertained, just oddly uncomfortable.

The Verdict: This tour is as good as The Phantom of the Opera can be, although maybe slightly creepier than you remember it as a child. It’s got all the flash, fog, and fabulous costumes you expect from a Broadway tour, and a formidable cast that can really make the complexities in the score shine. As long as you like this play, or at the very least like big blockbuster musicals, you’ll enjoy this.

The Drama Talk: If you’re a child of 80s musical theater, you probably grew up on Phantom, and know if you can tolerate another Andrew Lloyd Webber show or not. If you can, this show will not disappoint. After all these years it still kept us engaged and awed with it’s impressive spectacle. If you don’t know The Phantom of The Opera, a word of caution, it is named that for a reason, it’s kind of Opera-y. Be prepared for some trills and most of the show being sung. If that doesn’t scare you away, you’ll probably have a great time, but you really do need to be okay with operatic musicals to enjoy this classic.

The Drinks: Always looking for new bars nearish the theater, we decided to check out Forgery, a fancy cocktail bar that opened a couple months ago on Mission. Brittany got the Delicious Sour, and Katie got a Cool Runnings, and we toasted to a creepy night of revisiting childhood favorites.

The Phantom of the Opera runs through October 4th at SHN’s Orpheum Theater. Tickets can be purchased directly through their website, but if you’re looking for a deal they do have a Rush for this show as well. A limited number of $40 tickets are available beginning 2 hours prior to curtain at the SHN Orpheum Theatre Box Office- cash only – 2 per-person. Goldstar also currently has a few performances available at $75/seat.

Drama Talk & Drinks: Breaking the Code: The Alan Turing Story – “This is nothing like the movie”

We missed Theatre Rhinoceros’ production of Breaking the Code: The Alan Turing Story the first time around, so when it returned this month for a short engagement after great reviews for the first run we thought we have to check it out. So off we went for a night of Drama Talk & Drinks in FiDi.

Brittany: If you saw the movie “The Imitation Game”, which is also based on the life of Alan Turing, I think you’ll be surprised because this is nothing like the movie. I’m sure it’s a matter of Hollywood making something more dramatic than it actually was, but the story in the movie was much more exciting. Maybe this is more realistic, but it’s not as entertaining.

Katie: I haven’t seen the movie, but the show was slow. When I was studying to be a director I was told to not direct a show you are staring in. As much as I love John Fisher, I feel like this show proved why. When you are both the star and the director it’s hard for you to see when pacing is off. There was no momentum, so despite some talented actors and a few lovely moments it just didn’t keep me engaged.

B: Yeah, the pacing was slow; made worse by wonky scene transitions, costume issues and the fact that the actors were struggling with their British accents. I’m a bit of a stickler for dialect so if it’s off it super bugs me. Also it drives me crazy when there are set pieces the actors make no reference to. There were chalk boards with all these equations on them and they were never used. Random theatre pet peeves of mine, but still they frustrated me.

The Verdict: Have you seen “The Imitation Game”? Did you enjoy it? Yes, then this play may be a bit dry for you. Are you an Alan Turing history buff who cares more about the real-life struggles of the man than Hollywood drama? You may enjoy it, but don’t come tired, we saw a few fellow (albeit older) audience members who may fit this description sneaking naps during the show.

The Drama Talk: We really love John Fisher’s (the Executive Director of Theatre Rhinoceros) work and thought he would play a great Alan Turing. After seeing the play, we weren’t surprised to find out that we were right, John Fisher is impressive, but we were surprised to have to ask “So, why did they do this play again?” Though we think that directing a show you also star in is usually not a smart move, this play’s story is so disjointed we are not sure if even a devoted director could have saved it. The combination of a poorly written script and some technical and pacing issues made an extraordinary man’s life not very engaging.

The Drinks: We went from one piece of history to another. One block from the Eureka Theatre is the oldest bar in San Francisco (it’s true, here is a list to prove it) called The Old Ship Saloon. It’s relatively updated at this point but still feels like a relaxed dive bar. Especially since late-night options are few and far between in this neighborhood it’s a great place to go to debrief after the show.

Breaking the Code: The Alan Turing Story runs through August 29th at the Eureka Theatre. Tickets are available on the Theatre Rhinoceros website through Brown Paper Tickets for $25-$30.

Drama Talk & Drinks: Freedomland – “Black Lives Matter”

It’s hard to talk about the history of theater in San Francisco without talking about SF Mime Troupe. So we were pumped when we saw the notice for this summer’s show Freedomland, since DT&D hadn’t had a chance to review one of their plays yet. First just to clarify – SF Mime Troupe is not silent. As their website explains:

The San Francisco Mime Troupe does not do pantomime. We mean ‘mime’ in the ancient sense: to mimic. We are satirists, seeking to make you laugh at the absurdities of contemporary life, and at the same time see their causes. We travel the country and the world with our message of solidarity, comedy, and the plight of the worker in our increasingly corporatized democracy, and have done shows about most of the burning issues of our time – normally debunking the official story. And because we want our shows about the issues of the day to be seen by the people who are most effected by those issues- working class families who can’t always afford to the ticket prices at the other Tony award winning theaters – we perform most of our shows free in public parks, for tens of thousands of our fellow citizens every summer.

So off we went, to join our fellow San Franciscans for a night of Drama Talk & Drinks!


(l-r) Lisa Hori-Garcia (Emily Militis), Michael Gene Sullivan (Malcolm Haywood), Hugo E Carbajal (Cop), Keith Arcuragi (Cop) in Freedomland. Photo: Mike@mikemelnyk.com

Katie: That was really fun to see a Mime Troupe Show! I highly respect them as a company, and it’s been years since I’ve seen one of their shows. It’s great that they still tackle very topical and important issues in their work. Nothing is more timely right now than the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brittany: One of my favorite theater genres is social justice theater. I’ve always dug the work that was done during the WPA. Unions and political groups using the stage to pass on revolutionary messages through humor and art. I really appreciate that SF Mime Troupe is keeping that kind of theater alive.

K: At times though, it felt like they took a complex issue and oversimplified it. There were some talented actors, but in trying to create such one-dimensional examples of bad-guys and good-guys, they limited the complexity of the characters.

B: I guess that’s one of the failings of this kind of theater. I wasn’t expecting complex character arcs, so I wasn’t disappointed.

K: True, I guess I just don’t prefer this kind of theater, but it was well done. I appreciate that this piece choose to show us long-term institutionalized injustices that compound over the course of a black person’s life. Systemic injustices that they endure over and over again, and then when they’re stressed, or fed-up, or what have you, they finally stand up for their rights and that’s when the events escalate to make an otherwise ordinary oppressive encounter turn deadly.

B: I liked that they were blunt, that it didn’t have a happy ending like most musicals, and that they didn’t try to sugarcoat it, while they still somehow made it funny. The only thing I do wish is that there was a better call to action at the end. At the end of the play I wish the audience had jumped to their feet and had started chanting Black Lives Matter, because they were so moved by the injustices they saw on stage. I feel like that should be the ultimate goal of this sort of piece, and the audience just didn’t get there – they clapped – they were possibly intellectually moved – but they didn’t take to the streets. It didn’t have quite the oomph, or the solution. I guess there isn’t an easy solution, but I wish there was.

The Verdict: Who doesn’t love a day in the park? Who doesn’t love free theater? SF Mime Troupe’s Freedomland allows you to enjoy both, while being funny, topical and maybe even a bit revolutionary. Go see it when it comes to a park near you!

The Drama Talk: They did a good job of using humor to lighten up what could be an incredibly heavy topic and made it accessible. The actors are uniformly talented, and for such a small cast (only 4 people) they convincingly play a wide variety of very different characters. The music is good, as is the band, but you don’t really leave this show humming a tune. It’s a show that makes you think, which is one of the best things theater can do.

The Drinks: Since this show is normally in a park, we suggest BYOB (when allowed), but since we saw the show at the SF Mime Troupe space, we availed ourselves of the vino there.

Freedomland runs through September 7th, so even though we’re nearly halfway through the run, you still have time. Nearly all of the performances are donation based, so while you should totally throw SF Mime Troupe a few to keep this great company going strong, you can just show up. Even thought the show we saw was in the SF Mime Troupe space, nearly all the rest are outside in parks all over the Bay Area and beyond. You can check out the SF Mime Troupe website for more details, but here’s a list of the remaining shows this summer:

Frances Willard/Ho Chi Minh Park
Sat, Aug 8th @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
Sun, Aug 9th @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
Hillegass Ave. & Derby St., Berkeley

San Lorenzo Park
Sat, Aug 15th @ 3:00 PM (Music 2:30)
Sun, Aug 16th @ 3:00 PM (Music 2:30)
San Lorenzo Park, Santa Cruz
Post-show discussion after 8/15/15. No dogs, alcohol, or smoking allowed in park.

Glen Park
Sat, Aug 22nd @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
Bosworth & O’Shaughnessy, San Francisco

Mitchell Park, South Field
Sun, Aug 23rd @ 4:00 PM (Music 3:30)
600 East Meadow Drive & Cowper Street, Palo Alto

St. James Park
Tue, Aug 25th @ 6:30 PM (Music 6:00)
3rd Street & E. St. James Street, San Jose

Miners Foundry – Parking Lot
Fri, Aug 28th @ 7:30 PM (Music 7:00)
325 Spring Street, Nevada City
Ticket Info: http://www.minersfoundry.org/buy-tickets/

Southside Park, Bandshell
Sat, Aug 29th @ 5:00 PM (Music 4:30)
6th & T St., Sacramento

Community Park
Sun, Aug 30th @ 7:00 PM (Music 6:30)
East 14th & F St., Davis

Bay View Opera House, Outdoor Plaza
Wed, Sep 2nd @ 6:30 PM (Music 6:00)
Bay View Opera House, San Francisco

Peacock Meadow in Golden Gate Park
Sat, Sep 5th @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
JFK Drive & Peacock Meadow, San Francisco Btwn Panhandle and Conservatory of Flowers

Dolores Park
Sun, Sep 6th @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
Mon, Sep 7th @ 2:00 PM (Music 1:30)
19th St. & Dolores St., San Francisco
Post-show discussion after 9/6/15

Drama Talk & Drinks: Interview with 3GT’s AJ Baker – “Putting women’s work onstage where it belongs!”

Beyonce tells us “Who run the world? Girls!”, but she forgets about the theater world…and the film world…and the business world when she prematurely asserts feminism’s victory. Only roughly 20% of plays produced nationally are written by women, which is technically more then the number of female written screenplays, but still a pretty paltry representation for half the human population. So when we found out about 3 Girls Theatre (3GT) new works festival that is dedicated to presenting works by female playwrights, we wanted to find out more. We got to sit down with 3GT’s Founder, Artistic Director and Resident Playwright, AJ Baker to learn more about the company and their festival which opens this week at Thick House.

Katie: Why did you originally start Three Girls Theater?

AJ: Only 20% of mainstream theater that is produced is written by women, and that’s across the board, that’s not just Broadway. It’s very hard for women to get work produced. My partners and I thought, we need to stop complaining about this and do something. You can’t just sit around and wait for the culture to change, you have to be a change agent.

Brittany: Be the change, as they say.

A: We are facing such a gigantic cultural bias against the voice of women. If it’s written by a women or has issues that are considered “women’s issues” (which in reality are issues that concern everybody) for some reason it’s not viewed as important as male-written works. The perspective of a women telling a story is a human perspective, in the same way as a man telling a story is a human perspective. That’s why our tag line is “Putting women’s work onstage where it belongs”.

K: What challenges has your company faced over the past 4 years?

A: There are so many small companies in the Bay Area. This is probably one of the most vibrant cities for independent theater in the country. It’s New York, Chicago, and the Bay Area. There are just so many people competing for the same arts dollars, cannibalizing the same audience, and that I think is the real challenge. The same audience just can’t go to everything. I just want more energy, more young people to learn about this amazingly rich and wonderful cultural resource we have. So often you sit in a theater and look around you and there is just old white people. In Marin if you’re not there with your oxygen tank you feel left out. But these are the people who buy tickets, they are people who care about theater, and support it. There’s no reason theater needs to be for old people, it’s fun, it tells compelling stories, at its best it brings people together in community for a shared emotional and cultural experience. This is why I think we need to focus on expanding the audience. That’s why our festival is free.

B: How did the pieces in the festival get chosen?

A: The first 2 plays are finalists in our salon series, which is a series of 6 new plays we put up in people’s living rooms and then we have an independent panel of judges that pick 2 of the 6 that go on to be done at the festival. We also have judges for the festival who pick one piece that we will produce in full.

K: Why should people come out?

A: It’s FREE, the theater is right on Potrero Hill, there’re great restaurants nearby, you can get a glass of wine and drink while you watch, and it’s not a gigantic time commitment, none of the showings are more than 90 minutes. They start at 7:30 so you will be out around 9pm and you can still go bar hopping.

VERDICT: This is a win win situation. Support local theater, the women’s movement, and independent artists all for free. We will be there. We hope you will too.

WHAT: 3Girls Theatre Company Presents…

The 4th Annual New Works Festival

3GT Honors Risky Women: Having Fun and Wreaking Havoc!

WHERE: Thick House

1695 18th St. (between Arkansas and DeHaro)


But reserving tickets is recommended:


WHEN: Monday, August 3 to Sunday, August 9, 2015

August 3 @ 7:30pm: Entanglement by AJ Baker

August 4 @ 7:30pm: Kicking Facebook by Margery Kreitman

August 5 @ 7:30pm: The Effects of Ultraviolet Light

August 6 @ 7:30pm: ReproRights! Women @ Risk

August 7 @ 7:30pm: Best of Lezwrites!

August 8 @ 1–6pm: Women Playwrights Meet & Greet

1pm: Kicking Facebook by Margery Kreitman

2:30pm: Entanglement by AJ Baker

4pm: Talk Back

4:30-6pm: Champagne Reception

August 9 @ 12pm & 2pm: Girl Talk Teen Monologues

*Beginning 30 minutes before each performance:

Lobby Art Exhibit. Risky Women: Wreaking Havoc!

The Dark Room is closing

Capp Street Crap reports:

Over the weekend, The Dark Room announced via its Facebook page that it will cease operations at the end of August. A follow-up comment posted this morning says that closing was a business decision and not because they lost the space. Home to standup comedy and Bad Movie Night screenings, The Dark Room’s announcement comes less than two weeks after another Mission Street venue, nearby gallery and all-ages music space Sub-Mission, shut down.

Read on for the full text of the announcement.

[Photo by Google Maps]

Drama Talk & Drinks: Project Ahab – “We are so close to you”

We are all about going on adventures. Going to Berkeley to see a show described as “A new musical about how a band of hippies, mystics and visionaries changed the world” at a historic venue known as the “little castle” definitely qualified. So this weekend DT&D saw Project Ahab; or, Eye of the Whale, which is Central Works 48th world premiere (Central Works only does world premieres so that racks up the numbers).

Photo by J. Norrena


Brittany: When I saw the description that it was a musical I was a little bit like “Okay, so this is like an environmentalist musical? I guess that worked for Hair?” but I was worried it was going to be kind of weird. I actually thought that the way they used music worked really well.

Katie: Some of the songs for me were really nice. The female leads were wonderful singers!

B: They did a good job with their use of AV too. It was really cool when she took a picture that it showed up as a projection.That was a really neat way to put us in a very different space.

K: The only problem was they trained us that when she took a picture, and we heard that clicking sound, a projection would show up. They would put up the projection a few times, but then they’d keep taking pictures but stop putting up the projection. I started watching the audience look after every time they heard that click, and then nothing would be there and people looked disappointed. I know I was.

B: Yeah I wish they either showed photos each time she clicked the camera or just left a photo up there if they thought it was too distracting to keep switching them.

K: The other thing that I struggled with, was their wordy monologues. I got lost. I am sure part of it was where we were sitting. They didn’t do a great job blocking for a thrust stage. There were so many times they had their back to us and we couldn’t see them, or they were blocked by another actor. It’s general admission too, so you can’t guarantee where you are going to sit unless you get there early.

B: I felt the same. They would get lost in their own monologues. The songs would move it along, and the interactions would move it along, but when a monologue started they would hit a wall. They’d go on a tangent about the clouds, and stars, and whales, which was beautiful, but it made the show lose momentum.

K: The only person that made a strong connection with other characters was Cree (Sam Jackson). There were a few scenes with her that really sucked me in. Cree was my favorite. So natural. She wasn’t up there acting at us. She was reacting to what was happening around her.

B: I would watch her in a play all day.

K: One thing they did that really “get my goat”, as they say, was the extreme slow motion fight scene. I mean, we are right here. We are so close to you. I thought they were joking at first.

B: Yeah, that was awkward . . . but with that said, I was never bored and there was actually a lot I enjoyed.

The Verdict: Do you happen to be going to Berkeley in the next few weeks and want to go to a castle like venue built in 1927 and see a world premiere of an innovative folksy musical? We found the adventure for you! If you answered no to that question, then we say this isn’t quite worth the trip. This piece had some great moments, and it was an interesting venue, but still has some kinks to work out.

The Drama Talk: This is the environmentalist musical version of Moby Dick. Instead of going after a whale, they are going after a whaling ship. Moby Dick is a hard book because it’s long and poetic. It allows itself very flowery, super descriptive, long asides. Given the fact that the playwright borrows heavily from the book’s plot, we assume they were going for similar flourishes of language as well. However, there is a reason that a lot of people don’t read Moby Dick. Melville’s musings can lose people. The actors were so involved with the language and what was going on with their own characters that they weren’t connecting with the other actors on stage. It felt like they were acting at each other instead of with each other.

The Drinks: The venue is in the middle of Berkeley-college-kid-central. To avoid the college night life, like the 30 year old curmudgeons we are, we went to an old hotel bar called Henry’s a couple of blocks away. It was a perfect place to debrief, since it had mostly people over the age of 40 and plenty of open tables. Stick to beer or wine though, the bartender had to look up how to make a Moscow mule. If you want to get crazy with the college kids, we saw them all going into Kipps.

Project Ahab; Or Eye of the Whale runs through August 23rd at Central works in the Berkeley City Club. Tickets are available on the Central Works website for $28. Tickets at the door can be purchased for $15-28 sliding scale. Pay what you can nights are every Thursday.