Macbeth

It’s no wonder that William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” is the most-produced of his tragedies. “The Scottish play” has all the elements that have appealed to broad audiences for over four hundred years: weird witches, exciting battles, blind ambition, and violent murders, with the doubt, brooding, and madness that follows, and  ...

Top Girls

Caryl Churchill’s superbly written and acted 1982 drama, “Top Girls” is a view of women in London in the early days of Margaret Thatcher’s reign as Prime Minister (1979-1990), when her Conservative Party emphasized achieving individual success, rather than fostering community in general through, among other things, unions and  ...

La Bohème

Call it a chestnut or a war horse, if you must, in order to polish your sophistication credentials. “La Bohème,” done well, is some of the most moving music on an opera stage. It is hard to imagine anything more beautiful to listen to than  ...

The Great Wave

“The Great Wave” should have been a great play. It seemingly has all the right ingredients: a spine-tingling story based on real geopolitical events involving a captured young Japanese woman imprisoned by the totalitarian dictatorship of North Korea, while her valiant mother and sister back home battle their government  ...

The Stillness of Certain Valleys

If you have a nose for power, drawing a deep inspirational breath from the approachable majesty of nature, the long view of history, and intriguing vagaries of human expression, can be a tricky business. Nonetheless, poet David Salner, thus nasally endowed, sallies forth undaunted. On  ...

The Virgin Trial

In the 16th century, a bungled kidnap attempt triggers a domino cascade that nearly foils the future of the teenager princess destined to become Queen Elizabeth I. How young Bess keeps her wits, not to mention her head, will keep you on the edge of your seat in the  ...

The Secrets We Kept

Q&A/Review by Paula Farmer They say inspiration can come from the most unlikeliest of places. For Lara Prescott, debut novelist of the recently released book, “The Secrets We Kept,” it was a room full of post-World War II typists working at the  ...

Mozart Dances

Mark Morris’ understated barefoot “Mozart Dances” (2006) launched the 2019-20 season for Cal Performances this weekend with three separate piano concertos that are superbly woven together. The first movement, choreographed for eight women titled “Eleven,” was danced to Mozart’s earliest piano concerto, No. 11 in F major, K. 413,  ...

A Play is a Poem

Here is the question:  What would you think if you saw “A Play is a Poem” and did not know it was written by Ethan Coen? If you had been living under a rock and had never heard of the Coen brothers? Or had you not seen any of  ...