SHE STOOPS TO COMEDY REVIEWED
SHE STOOPS TO COMEDY
Reviewed by Jeffrey R Smith of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle
Since its inception in 2003, the San Francisco Playhouse has continued to distinguish itself as one of the bay area's premier theaters of ANY size.
Currently the Playhouse is staging SHE STOOPS TO COMEDY, a confirmation that Bill English and Susi Damilano are dedicated to the daring; in possession of cutting edge creativity and have the raw courage to unmuzzle it and let it entirely off its leash.
The script is rife with conspicuously intelligent wit and riddled with dexterous, leap-frogging word play: the characters seem to share an amphetamine confluence of consciousness.
The play is nothing short of gut-wrenchingly hilarious.
The audience is advised to wear seatbelts: SHE STOOPS TO COMEDY has a warp-speed, cerebral intensity that Max Headroom would have called a blip-vert: it could crash your hard drive if you have dulled your senses on prime time programming, mall movies, decaf lattes or matching furniture, dinnerware and socks.
To reluctantly invoke an overused 60's cliché, this opus is tres avant-garde.
While is not accurate to identify the play with a genre, it bears the slightest resemblance to the comedic farcical shtick of NOISES OFF or the convoluted FRENCH LIENTENANT'S WOMAN: the actors are the characters, the characters are the actors and, in a sense, the actors-characters are also the writer-directors.
It is here that any actual collision with Marty Kaplan and Harold Pinter is averted.
David Greenspan delightfully blurs the edges between cast and character, script and dialogue, acting and directing; and tosses out gender identity as a trifling, superfluous irrelevancy of the literal minded.
At its core, the play pivots about summer stock Shakespearean theater in Maine: a production of AS YOU LIKE IT to be specific.
To recapture her estranged lover, an actress i.e.Alexandra Page, played by a man i.e. Liam Vincent, gets cast as Rosalind in AS YOU LIKE IT.
As Rosalind, Alexandra is essentially cast a woman who plays a man to catch a man i.e. Orlando, who is played by the character Alison Rose who is played by the real life actress Sally Clawson.
The play might have more layers than your cerebral cortex or most wedding cakes; fortunately, like good cake, it can be enjoyed whether or not the layers are separated or completely deciphered.
If you are a closet intellectual, theater effete or elite, and want to side-step the pabulum for something brilliantly funny this is your opportunity.
To reserve tickets visit www.sfplayhouse.org or call 415.677.9596 or hike on over to 533 Sutter Street at Powell.