FALL ARTS: THEATER Onstage highlights of the coming season
FALL ARTS Kings and queens, Brits and brats, music and mayhem, puppets and oppressors—the stage brims with them this fall. Talk about holding a mirror up to nature.
The King of Hearts is Off Again Here's a rare chance to experience the thrilling precision and stagecraft of a Polish ensemble theater working in the tradition of legendary master Jerzy Grotowski. San Francisco International Arts Festival and Los Angeles–based KulturePlus Productions present the Bay Area debut of Warsaw's Studium Theatralne and its stage adaptation of Hanna Krall's internationally acclaimed novel about a young Jewish woman (the real-life Izolda Regenberg) who escaped the Warsaw Ghetto and the Holocaust by passing as an Aryan. Oct. 2–4, Joe Goode Annex, SF; Oct. 5, University Theater, CSU East Bay, Hayward; www.sfiaf.org.
Sidewinders Rising American playwright and Louisville, Ky. native Basil Kreimendahl queers the Western while exploring Western queerness in Cutting Ball and director M. Graham Smith's world premiere. Oct. 18–Nov. 17, Cutting Ball Theater at Exit on Taylor, SF; www.cuttingball.com.
Forest Fringe SF On the heels of a galvanizing summer intensive with local and UK artists, the love affair between the south of England's adventurous University of Chichester theater department and the Bay Area continues this fall with an international mini-festival of devised performance co-sponsored by CounterPULSE and featuring the likes of Action Hero and other UK artists, as well as more UK–Bay Area collaborations. Oct. 24–27, CounterPULSE, SF; www.counterpulse.org.
Dogugaeshi Master puppeteer Basil Twist delves into the titular ancient Japanese theatrical technique in this play whose central staging conceit is an ever-shifting array of screens. Taking the audience on a journey through inner and outer landscapes, with Japanese composer-musician Yumiko Tanaka accompanying live on the three-stringed samisen, the hourlong Bessie Award–winning 2004 production becomes a meditation on the flux and fragility of tradition, life — the world — told with grace, subtlety, and humor. Nov. 6–10, Zellerbach Playhouse, Berk; calperfs.berkeley.edu.
Be Bop Baby: A Musical Memoir The inimitable Margo Hall (prized Bay Area actor and co-founder of Campo Santo) teams up with formidable Bay Area musician-composer Marcus Shelby and his orchestra for this original, eclectic, song-filled autobiographical account of Hall's upbringing in the Detroit household of her beloved stepfather, leading jazz musician and Motown composer-arranger Teddy Harris Jr. Nov. 19–23, Z Space, SF; www.zspace.org.
San Francisco Fringe Festival With 36 companies and 158 performances over 16 days — and a per-show ticket price of about 10 bucks or less — the SF Fringe is as cheap and plump and addictive as a ballpark frank, and far easier on your colon. Sept. 6–21, EXIT Theatreplex, SF; www.sffringe.org.