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Mary Quite Contrary
Kate Ross never dreamed that the trombone she played in high school would ever be of any use in her theater career, but it turned out to be just the thing that director Peter Glockner needed for Projekt Productions' postmodern version of Friedrich von Schiller's Mary Stuart. Now if your memory of Schiller is a theater history class in which you wondered if it really was possible to die of boredom, read on.

"Projekt Productions was founded to explore classical, non-Shakespearean texts in a new way," explains trombonist Ross, who also plays Mary's attendant, Jane Kennedy, in the production. "In Mary Stuart, most of the text is Schiller's -- there is no paraphrasing. But contemporary language is layered on top. Peter uses action to illuminate the text. For example, in the confrontation scene between Mary and Elizabeth, the women growl at each other like mad dogs." Says Ross, "This production is very different from anything that people have seen in the theater before."

That God writes lousy plays is an adage proved by every playwright who tackled the theatrically charged story of the women known to history as Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. Although a confrontation scene between the combative monarchs is a dramatic necessity, the fact is they never met. Schiller's take on the rivalry is decidedly weighted on the side of his romantic heroine, the doomed Mary. Projekt Productions' "version is a little more fair to Elizabeth," says Co-Artistic Director Lisa Monahan, who also plays Elizabeth in the piece. "This is a postmodern adaptation of Schiller's play. We're telling the same story, but it's not the same tale. And the issues in the play are very contemporary -- the whole idea that people in power can't make decisions based on what they really want to do because they are controlled by circumstances." Monahan continues: "That's the serious reason to see the show. The real reason is that it's a hoot." Call 751-9180 for tix.

A Class Act
Michael Kearns -- an actor, writer, and monologuist of astonishing depth and skill -- teaches an acting master class based on his extraordinary new book, Acting = Life, at New Conservatory Theater Center on July 13. The class is limited to 15 students; the fee is $50. Call 861-8972 to reserve a space.

Bawdy Briefs
Who'd have thought that plays about sex would do well in San Francisco? Go figure. "Sexy Shorts," a collection of lusty and sensual short plays by and about gay men, has been extended through Aug. 3 at the New Conservatory Theater Center. Call 861-8972 for reservations.

By Deborah Peifer

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