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San Francisco Spotlight: April 2009

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Keone Young and Jodi Long in American Hwangap
(© Erin Gilley)
Family reunions often recall images of outdoor picnics, endless hugging, and familial affection. In American Hwangap (April 4-May 3), a new play by Lloyd Suh at the Magic Theatre, the reunion between a Korean immigrant and the family he abandoned 15 years ago is not surprisingly, less festive. Trip Cullman directs.

Martin McDonagh's dark comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore (April 17-May 17) comes to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, directed by Les Waters. An IRA lieutenant is perfectly capable of murdering his enemies, he even relishes the task. The sudden death of his cat, however, leaves him heartbroken, in this vicious comedy that delivers biting commentary on the world's seemingly endless cycle of violence. TheatreWorks presents Lisa Loomer's new play, Distracted (Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, April 1-26), which tells the story of a mother and her easily distracted son who has recently been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Everyone wonders what it might be like to "go back." For Allegra Behrman-Cohen, that fantasy of revisiting one's past become reality in Magic Forest Farm, which makes its world premiere with the Marin Theatre Company, April 22-May 17. Written by Zayd Dohrn and directed by Ryan Rilette, the coming-of-age tale set in Northern California weaves together joyous memories with dark revelations of the truth. Does power always corrupt? That's the question at the center of George Orwell's 20th century novel Animal Farm and choreographer/director Jacinta Vlach's new production of the same title. Playing at the ODC Theater for two nights only (April 25 and 26), this evocative new work uses revolutionary poster art as a background and employs various dance forms including Step, Dancehall, and Modern in an eclectic fusion of fine art and working-class sensibilities.

For more recession-friendly theater, check out Chains of Dew presented by the San Francisco Free Civic Theatre, which as you may have guessed, is entirely free! Susan Glaspell's play is about a popular poet who after years of complaint is finally liberated from his job as a bank executive, only to find the liberation even more work. The show runs at the Randall Museum Theatre April 2-5, and at the Eureka Valley Recreation Center Auditorium April 9-12.

Part fundraiser, part compelling story, Carolyn Doyle's Confessions of a Refrigerator Mother (The Marsh, April 2-25) is an incredibly personal story about a day-in-the-life of the author's nine-year-old autistic son, Joaquin. Since April is Autism Awareness Month, Doyle will be raising funds for four different organizations during the show: Support For Families, the ABC School, Easter Seals and The Arc San Francisco.

It's officially ladies night, or ladies nights, April 2-25, when the eighth annual DIVAfest takes over the Exit Theatre. Dedicated to creating new work by women writers, the festival features the world premiere of An Affair of Honor by Lee Kiszonas, Samsara by Lauren Yee, poetry by Diane di Prima, the DIVA Cabaret Lady of the 'Loin with Shannon Day, Sean Owens and Don Seaver, and illustrations by Michelle Talgarow.

A perfectly jovial engagement party goes awry when an inspector drops by with disturbing news. Directed by Michael Davison, J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls (Boxcar Playhouse, April 2-25) is a cross between a mystery, suspense-thriller, and melodrama. Acclaimed actor, playwright, and artistic director of the Theatre Rhinoceros, John Fisher presents a workshop performance of his soon-to-be mainstage new play, A Necessary Evil (April 16-26). Jack and Dave have lived together for 20 blissful years as domestic partners, a harmonious balance that is threatened when Jack's father abruptly dies and Jack's mother Doreen suddenly moves in with all of her baggage and a bunch of secrets. A modern retelling of the Adam and Eve story with an ending like no other, Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things is sure to leave folks in awe long after the curtain drops. Produced by the Worklight Theatre Company and staged at the SF Playhouse, the drama plays April 2-24.

Dust off your leotards and get ready for the Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre's production of A Chorus Line (April 24-May 10). This classic musical written by James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante, Edward Kleban, and Marvin Hamlisch, is a deeply moving show about the lives of several performers during an audition for a new musical. 42nd Street Moon will present the new musical, Shadows of Pompeii (Eureka Theatre, April 16-26), by Bay Area playwright R.C. Staab, with music and lyrics by Tony nominee Keith Herrmann. The show is about Romans living in the seaside village of Pompeii in AD 79 at the foot of Mount Vesuvius.

Zany, whimsical, and sure to be a hit with the kids, Wonderland by Jeff Raz is the story of Alice in Wonderland as told through circus spectacle. Produced by the Active Arts Theatre for Young Audiences at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, this kid-friendly production runs April 18-May 3.


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