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San Francisco Spotlight: May 2008

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Archana Ramaswamy and P.R Jijoy
in A Midsummer Night's Dream
(© Tristram Kenton)
May is a month packed with a bevy of exciting festivals, premieres, and old favorites. Director Tim Supple steers a sumptuous and exciting new production of Shakespeare's classic A Midsummer Night's Dream (Curran Theatre, May 6-June 1) that brings together actors, dancers, martial arts experts, musicians and street acrobats from across India and Sri Lanka.

School is almost out for summer, but before that final bell rings, have a seat in Nilaja Sun's riveting classroom. In No Child... (Berkeley Rep, May 11-June 1), Sun performs her amazing one-woman show that comments on the disastrous state of the country's public schools, but also highlights some of its amazing bright spots. Directed by Hal Brooks, Sun plays an entire classroom of children, their teachers, their parents, the principal, the janitor and even a security guard with a metal detector at the front door.

Robert Lepage's The Andersen Project (UC Berkeley, May 28-June 1) is a hilarious one-man show that explores a Quebecois rock songwriter's struggle to write an opera based on a Hans Christian Andersen story. Should he call up Brian Adams for help?

Jon Tracy directs the San Francisco premiere of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tracy Letts' claustrophobic drama, Bug (San Francisco Playhouse, May 10-June 14), in which Agnes must cope with a blood stream riddled with drugs, an ex-con husband on the make, and a newfound "friend" who might just be an AWOL Gulf veteran convinced he's been the subject of government experiments.

The Best of PlayGround Festival (May 8-25) presents a fantastic line-up this year: O Happy Dagger by Crish Barth; The Boy Who Did Not Listen To His Mother by Cass Brayton; The Secret Life of a Hotel Room by Garret Jon Groenveld; Leo by Daniel Heath; Panopticon by Aaron Loeb; The Known World by Geetha Reddy; and Giving Up The Ghost by Lauren Yee.

The San Francisco Pocket Opera stages perennial favorite Don Pasquale at the Legion of Honor, May 24-June 1. Gaetano Donizetti's invigorating composition guides the story of a lovestruck Ernesto, who rejects the lady his Uncle Pasquale has chosen for him, choosing instead the socially unaccepted Norina, a poor widow. The comedy is directed by Phil Lowery, with Roger McCracken as Pasquale, Brian Thorsett as Ernesto, Heidi Moss as Norina and Todd Donovan, as Dr. Malatesta.

John Ford's racy 'Tis Pity She's A Whore closes out the Impact Theatre's 2007-2008 season, May 2-June 7. Directed by Melissa Hillman, Ford's sordid love story between brother and sister Giovanni and Annabella goes from bad to worse when Annabella discovers she's pregnant. A hasty marriage to one of her many suitors is her attempt to cover-up the scandal, but her new husband is not so easily cuckolded and revenge looms heavy on the horizon.

Laugh until it hurts at the 10th anniversary performance of Funny Girlz (May 10), a one-night only showcase packed with a fabulous roster of funny women working the comedy circuit. This year's show features Phranc, Diane Amos, Gina Yashere, Lisa Geduldig, Samantha Chanse and Matthew "Peggy Lee" Martin. Meanwhile, in 51 & Counting (Shotwell Studios, May 2-10), Mary Ann Boyd recounts her interesting resume (pre-school teacher, waitress, phone sex operator) employing her signature comedy and musical cabaret skills to coach audiences through their next job interview.

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