Encore

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.

All's Well That Ends Well: Lisa Peterson directs the Cal Shakes performance of Shakespeare's comic drama. Starting Sept. 18, Sundays, 4 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m.; Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Tue.-Thur., 7:30 p.m. Continues through Oct. 10, $10-52. Bruns Memorial Amphitheater, Siesta Valley, Shakespeare Festival Way/Gateway Blvd., Hwy. 24, Orinda, 510-548-9666.

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.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Actors Theatre of San Francisco's production of the Tennessee Williams classic. Starting Sept. 17, Sundays, 7 p.m.; Thur.-Sat., 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23, $10-40. Actors Theatre San Francisco, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 296-9179.

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.

Clue: The Play: A second staging of the silly whodunit based on the classic Parker Bros. board game, following sold-out summertime shows. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m. Continues through Sept. 25, $12.50-16. Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission (at 18th St.), 401-7987.

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.

A Couple of Blaguards: Based on Frank and Malachy McCourt's book of the same name, the play is a comedy about an Irish family. Starting Sept. 21, Sundays, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 17, $30-50. Post Street Theatre, 450 Post (at Mason), 321-2900.

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.

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.

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.

The Secret in the Wings: Mary Zimmerman's latest work is billed as a kind of surreal fairy tale for adults, inspired partly by "Beauty and the Beast." Tue.-Sun. Continues through Oct. 17, $39-55. Berkeley Repertory's Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-647-2949.

Showdown at Crawford Ranch: This year's sly Bush-bashing San Francisco Mime Troupe production is set on the tumbleweed-strewn prairies of Texas, where, to protect their tribal lands, Comanche Indians must fight robber baron Cyrus T. Bogspavin and his ally, Mayor Canem. Through Sept. 26, free, for more information call 285-1717, www.sfmt.org. Multiple locations, multiple addresses within San Francisco.

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