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

#1:Navigation: This physical theater piece investigates human connections in an age of overpopulation and alienation using movement, music, and puppetry. Oct. 7-10, 8 p.m., $10-20, 609-4236. New College, 777 Valencia (at 19th St.), 437-3465.

Addicted: Mark Lundholm discusses his bad habits, from drugs to alcohol to the Internet, not to mention shopping, chocolate, and golf. Visit www.marinesmemorialtheatre.com for a schedule of performances. Through Oct. 17, $20-40, 771-6900. Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter (at Mason), 877-771-6900.

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.

Aya de Leon Is Running for President: The hip-hop theater princess presents a retake on campaign speeches with special guest Chola Priest. Sat., Oct. 9, 8 p.m., $7. Galeria de la Raza, 2857 24th St. (at Bryant), 826-8009.

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.

Boy Gets Girl: Actor's Collective's thriller concerns a confident woman whose life takes a turn for the worse in a big city. Thur.-Sat., 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 23, $15-25. Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Geary), Suite 601, 989-0023.

Can-Can: Porter & Burrows' classic musical is set in the Parisian era when the sexy dance caused a scandal; see www.42ndstmoon.org for a schedule of performances. Oct. 6-31, $17-30. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469.

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

The Dharma of Dollars: Mark Kenward's comic drama concers a yoga studio manager preoccupied with his oddball clients and the ethics of making money. Thur.-Sat., 8:30 p.m. Continues through Oct. 16, $15-22. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750, www.themarsh.org.

Improv at The Dark Room: Each week the best improv ensembles do their stuff. Sundays, 8 p.m., $5-10. Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission (at 18th St.), 401-7987.

La Traviata: SF Opera's production of Verdi's classic is directed by John Copley. See www.sfopera.com for a schedule of performances. Through Oct. 14, $25-215. War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness (at Grove), 864-3330.

Lord of the Flies: The all-female Woman's Will company performs William Golding's all-male play. As a special attraction, director Erin Merritt has organized political speakers almost every night after the show. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Continues through Oct. 24, 510-420-0813, www.womanswill.org. Eighth Street Studio, 2525 Eighth St. (at Dwight), Berkeley, 510-464-4468.

Megan's Skin: In Belfast, Ireland, a community theater company deals with racism, sexism, and the tumult of its city. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 16, $10-15. Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission (at 11th St.), 554-0402.

Pageant: An all-male cast in drag lampoons the conventions of the all-American beauty contest. Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 17, $20-40. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.

The 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.

Persistent Vegetative State: Robert C. Barker's new play explores personal and political inertia in California and New Hampshire during the Democratic primaries of 2008. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 20, $12-25, 510-235-3168. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477, www.offmarkettheater.com.

Peter and the Wolf: The Young Performers Theatre troupe's production of the classic children's fable. Saturdays, 1 p.m.; Sundays, 1 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. Continues through Oct. 10, $6-9, 346-5550. Young Performers Theater, Bldg. C, Fort Mason (Marina & Buchanan), 346-5550.

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