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Our critics weigh in on local theatre

Not a Genuine Black Man. It's not easy being green, but try being a black kid in San Leandro in the early '70s. When Brian Copeland got there -- just a few months after the Summer of Love, he points out -- it was one of the most viciously racist suburbs in America. Now it's officially the most diverse. "Take that, San Francisco," Copeland chides. He's earned that attitude, not just for going through his hell of growing up, but also for extracting from it such affirmative, hilarious stuff. Copeland's rightfully popular one-man show is wrought from pain and rage, but never really succumbs to bitterness. "Is that black?" he asks, and proves that it is. Some of his best stereotype-busting material doesn't feel especially new, but it does feel good. Besides, it's the stereotypes that have passed their expiration dates: Copeland's title comes from an accusation recently flung at him by a cranky listener who called in to his KGO radio program. This show is his response. With help from declarative lighting and David Ford's direction, Copeland creates an affecting hybrid of the dramatic monologue and the rollicking stand-up act. Through Oct. 30 at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd Street), S.F. Tickets are $15-22; call 826-5750 or visit www.themarsh.org. (Jonathan Kiefer) Reviewed June 2.

Also Playing

AfroSolo Arts Festival: The 11th edition of the annual arts festival features African-American artists and their visual arts exhibitions, dance, music, theater, spoken word, and performance art. Through Oct. 15, free-$50, www.afrosolo.org. Multiple locations, multiple addresses within San Francisco.

Are We Almost There?: Morris Bobrow's rollicking, long-running musical comedy about the trials and tribulations of travel. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m., $20-22. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-3040.

BATS: Sunday Players: Each week Bay Area Theatresports players pit their improv work against all comers as the audience votes them off one by one until the winner stands alone on the stage. Sundays, 8 p.m., $8, for more information call 474-6776. Fort Mason, Bldg. B, Marina & Buchanan.

Beach Blanket Babylon: This North Beach perennial features crazy hats, media personality caricatures, a splash of romance, and little substance. Wed., Thur., 8 p.m.; Fri., Sat., 7 p.m. & 10 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. & 7 p.m., $25-65. Club Fugazi, 678 Green (at Powell), 421-4222.

Charge of the Night Brigade: With anti-war songs, live robotics, and 3-D animation, OmniCircus riffs on the Abu Ghraib-inspired prison scandal in this scary performance. Saturdays, 9:30 p.m. Continues through Sept. 18, $10 suggested donation, www.omnicircus.com, 701-0686. OmniCircus, 550 Natoma (near Sixth St.), 621-4068.

Couch: Celik Kayalar wrote and directs this comedy about the strange problems faced by patients and long-suffering mental health professionals. Thur.-Sat., 8 p.m. Continues through Sept. 25, $10-20. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-3040.

Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance: Ablaze with sequins, rhinestones, and 1950s-era cat-eyed specs, the drag queen deluxe provides counseling, psychic readings, brassy song, and a brand new wardrobe to die for. See www.bestofbroadway-sf.com for a schedule of performances. Tue.-Sun. Continues through Oct. 8, $40-72, 512-7770. Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228.

Dog Act: The world premiere of Liz Duffy Adams' new comic fable about a post-apocalyptic vaudeville show. Thur.-Sat., 8 p.m. Continues through Sept. 19, free, www.shotgunplayers.org. The Thick House, 1695 18th St. (at Arkansas), 587-4465.

Flower Drum Song: The owners of a venerable Chinese opera house in San Francisco worry about their future of their enterprise in this updated take on Rodgers & Hammerstein's classic play. Thur.-Sun., 8 p.m. Continues through Sept. 12, $19-31, 510-531-9597. Woodminster Amphitheater, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland.

Fluffy Bunnies in a Field of Daisies: Matt Chaffee's sex comedy looks at a group of old friends who dissect their erotic lives together. Thur.-Sat., 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 2, $10-15. La Val's Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid (at Hearst), Berkeley, 510-234-6046.

Free Shakespeare in the Park Festival: This year the players take on Shakespeare's daffy crossdressing comedy Twelfth Night with live music and René Magritte's ethereal images as backdrop visuals. Sat., Sun., 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sept. 26, free, 422-2222, www.sfshakes.org. Presidio Parade Grounds, Lincoln & Montgomery.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change: Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts' original comic musical examines our embarrassing inner notions on relationships. Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 5 p.m. & 9 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Continues through Sept. 30, $35-55. Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter (at Mason), 877-771-6900.

I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road: A revival of the 1978 musical comedy about a cabaret singer who's itching to participate in the sexual revolution; see www.dlrca.org for a schedule of performances. Starting Sept. 11, Tue.-Sun. Continues through Oct. 7, $20-32. Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic (at Locust), Walnut Creek, 925-943-7469.

A Little Princess: TheatreWorks launches a musical production of the classic play adapted from Frances Hodgson Burnett's treasured children's novel. Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Every other Saturday, 2 p.m. Continues through Sept. 18, $20-50. Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro (at Mercy), Mountain View, 650-903-6000.

Persians: A revamp of Greek playwright Aeschylus' tales of the ancient Persian Wars. Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Continues through Oct. 10, $28-45. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org.

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