Michelle Talgarow has a pretty phenomenal map of the theater scene up in the EXIT Theatre showcasing all of the brick and mortar theaters in the San Francisco Downtown area. It’s pretty rad. One gets a real sense of community by looking at it: from small houses to big houses you get a feeling that theater is all around you from the big budget Broadway shows, regional houses, black box theaters, and Theater-At-Large (the term I use for theater companies which rent spaces versus having their own stage to call home/residence).
I saw two shows this weekend at theaters on this map: the first at the EXIT Stage Left (Life on the Ocean Wave) on Friday and a reading at the Phoenix Theater called H.P. Lovecraft Stand-Up Comedian! which were both pretty great. I have no intention of reviewing either piece as I am too close to both to give an unbiased critique (I also have no idea what I’m talking about regarding theater as an art form). I can safely say that both offer great nights of theater. Life on the Ocean Wave is a conceptual theater piece that dives into archetypes and stories, and how they change or even vanish as time goes by. It’s written, performed, crafted, created, and put on by a host of creative people from familiar faces to new voices. It’s refreshing, it’s a sing-a-long, and it’s profound.
H.P. Lovecraft Stand-Up Comedian! is hilarious and follows the titular character through the stand-up circuit whose material would make the Old Ones giggle. What’s great about this show (it was a reading) is that you don’t actually have to know too much about the Cthulu universe, or the work of Lovecraft, to laugh and follow along. I am hoping for a full production in SF because making fun of Cthulu is my past time.
I recently read an article as to why Shakespeare is so prevalent. The comment section was the best train wreck to read on a slow Friday afternoon complete with Marlowe enthusiasts, people who miss the point, non-theater goers who have opinions, and armchair historians with a passing knowledge of Wikipedia. It got me thinking quite a lot on theater, plays, history, and why I like to be apart of this art form. I assumed Shakespeare is so prevalent not so much because the majority of his work is incredible, but because he built upon the foundations of Greek mythology, that which describes the human condition; he created a new mythology for the Western cannon to look to after a period of dark and violent times came to an end.
This weekend, I learned that every stage is a vessel to a myth we can learn about or relate to, which all funnels into a large sea called Humanity. I dig it.