Manifest: The Battle of Intergalactic Farces

Don't let the willful strangeness fool you: Serene Zloof is a talented actor


Through May 17

Tickets are $12-20


El Teatro de la Esperanza, 2940 16th St. (between Mission and South Van Ness), S.F.

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The improbably named Serene Zloof morphs into a weird array of local characters and transdimensional aliens in her goofily titled solo show. Don't let the willful strangeness fool you: Zloof is a talented actor, so the first half of Manifest is the sometimes-hilarious story of a skeptical young San Franciscan named Hamiken in search of a job, the Truth, and some semblance of Free Will. He visits an Aleister Crowley disciple, a couple of Jesus freaks, and various revolutionaries, while alien gods who have something to do with "the AOL-Time Warner-Sony-Microsoft conglomerate" look on from a spaceship and middle-manage his fate. The show may remind local audiences of solo work by Frank Wortham or even Tim Barsky, who put on something equally strange at the Exit last year, and Zloof's flaws are a lot like theirs: too much hipster philosophizing (especially in Act 2). But Manifest is also well paced and funny, as well as brief (about 90 minutes), and Zloof is such an engaging, disciplined, and sexy performer you can forgive her more intergalactic manifestations.

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