The Eureka Theater may be best known to longtime locals as the San Francisco company that helped Tony Kushner develop Angels in America. The Eureka commissioned the show and gave it its first premiere in 1989, on a stage in the Mission; over the next few years Angels evolved into a Broadway smash. It took roughly the same amount of time for the Eureka itself to fail. The company ran into some hard times not too long after Angels, says Bill Schwartz, the Eureka's current director. One member died, others left, a recession hit, and after an unsuccessful season in 1992 the Mission space had to close.
For three years, under Schwartz, the Eureka has been a nomadic troupe, but this month it's setting up permanent shop again in a converted movie theater. The first show will be Tanya Shaffer's colorful Let My Enemy Live Long!, a one-woman, multicharacter retelling of a (mostly true) white-woman-in-Africa story, set on a boat that sinks in the Niger. Shaffer premiered it late last year at Venue 9. The Eureka's mission also includes giving new talent some extra space, says Schwartz. And Shaffer's piece is a virtuoso performance. The show plays Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. through Feb. 7 at the Eureka Theater, 215 Jackson (at Battery), S.F. Admission is $16-22; call 788-SHOW.