Adapt!

Adapt! is a new play written and directed by Blanka Zizka, cofounder of the Wilma Theater and is having its premiere there this month. Half autobiography and surrealistic dream, the play dramatizes Zizka’s own experience as an émigré who left her Czechoslovakia in the late 70s, when  ...

Into The Woods

A confession is in order. I love Sondheim. I adored “Into The Woods” when it was presented by The Oregon Shakespeare Company at the Wallis in 2014. I rushed to take grandchildren to the 2015 film with Meryl Streep. I could not wait to go again to the Fiasco Theater  ...

Needles and Opium

Robert Lepage’s 1991 creative drama of transatlantic love, loss and foreign complications intersperses tales of American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis (1926-1981) (outstanding Wellesley Robertson III) and French writer, playwright and filmmaker, Jean Cocteau (1889 –1963) (marvelous Olivier Normand) with a heartbroken Lepage stand-in, Quebecois actor Robert (also Olivier Normand).  ...

Andrew Osborne’s Top Five Films at SXSW 2017

Does moviegoing matter? And with so many options for consuming entertainment, is there still a distinction between small and big screens? In the mainstream blockbuster world, theaters have become theme park attractions with vibrating D-BOX seats and 3-D Imax beasties tearing each other to CGI  ...

Red Velvet

Ira Aldridge is an unsung hero of the long-running civil rights struggle. Born in 1807, the African American actor fled the U.S. to perform in Europe, where he had a 40-year career and was quite popular in Russia. But how did he do it? The play begins in a  ...

Swan Lake

“It’s complicated,” Prince Siegfried (Joseph Walsh) might be inclined to confess, if asked to sum up his erotic inclinations. He celebrates his birthday while sharing a carousing bromance with his tutor, Wolfgang (Val Caniparoli), and appeasing his meddling Queen Mother (Anita Paciotti) “just enough.” He sincerely thanks her for the  ...

San Francisco Film Festival 2017

Sixty years doesn't seem a great length of time, but as the San Francisco International Film Festival is turning 60, it's holding a unique distinction of being the oldest such event in the Americas. (The world record is held by Moscow, where the festive started in 1935,  ...

The Women’s Balcony (2016)

My father broke with the religion of his birth, Judaism, when he was 14. Three factors drove his apostasy, two practical, one philosophical. During my grandfather’s Austrian childhood, a rabbi boxed his ear for an infraction of one of a myriad of Hebrew School rules. My grandfather went out into  ...

ODC/Dance Downtown

Choreographer Kate Weare’s “Giant” kicked off program one of a two-week run at YBCA called “Dance Downtown.” Her smart staging and choreography was handsomely matched by the lighting and scenic design of Matthew Antaky and by Jay Cloidt’s eclectically layered soundscape. Antaky framed “Giant” with upstage  ...

Leni

“Leni,” a powerful two-person high wire act, examines the controversial Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003), the 1930s extraordinary filmmaker and vilified Hitler propagandist. “Leni” is part exposition, part cross-examination and part psychoanalysis. This intermissionless 80-minute production explores, but of course, cannot resolve, the persistent indictments of Nazi collaboration that have quashed  ...