Encore

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Rush Limbaugh in Night School. Charlie Varon has revived and revamped his hilarious 1994 solo tour de force, a satire that may owe more than a little to Tom Stoppard's Travesties, about Rush Limbaugh and a cast of mostly still-relevant national figures from the left and right. When a conservative Latino radio host threatens Limbaugh's dominance in a Florida market, the potbellied pundit puts on a beard and enrolls in Spanish night classes (at the New School), where he falls in love with a fugitive ex-member of the Weather Underground. For obscure reasons Limbaugh also tries to play Othello in blackface, in a star-studded production featuring Garrison Keillor, directed by Spalding Gray. Things go predictably to hell. Varon's in full command of his characters; the voices are sharp, if not perfect; and his timing is hard to beat. But he and Limbaugh are both visibly older. Varon's point in 1994 was that Limbaugh had upended the whole idea of satire -- he'd turned a traditional weapon of the underprivileged into a tool of power, and the last 10 years have only shown how potent that strategy can be. Limbaugh was pretty much on his own in 1994; lately his talk-radio spawn have probably helped a) elect a new governor in California, and b) re-elect a president. Depressing. Through April 17 at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd Street), S.F. Tickets are $15-22; call 826-5750 or visit www.themarsh.org. (Michael Scott Moore) Reviewed Dec. 15, 2004.

The Typographer's Dream. At the beginning of Encore Theatre Company's production of Adam Bock's play, we are introduced to three characters: a typographer, a geographer, and a stenographer, who proceed, with varying degrees of stiffness and eloquence, to enthuse about their jobs. Reportedly inspired in part by the 2 1/2 years Bock spent working at a graphic and Web design firm, this beautiful and strange comedy riffs on the relationship between people and their careers. Director Anne Kauffman and actors Aimée Guillot, Jamie Jones, and Michael Shipley gleefully demonstrate how the three characters match their chosen jobs, occasionally making them resemble -- through the unselfconscious eagerness with which they talk about their work -- the wacky types who populate the films of Christopher Guest. A whole branch of ham psychology exists around the business of matching "personality types" with appropriate careers. But Bock does more than demonstrate the influence of personality upon career choice; he also shows the reverse: how our career choices influence us. Through April 3 at the Thick House, 1695 18th St. (between Arkansas and De Haro), S.F. Tickets are $15-20; call 821-4849 or visit www.encoretheatrecompany.org. (Chloe Veltman) Reviewed Feb. 16.

Also Playing

Actors Reading Writers
Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant (at Ellsworth), Berkeley, 510-843-4822.

African Company Presents Richard III
African American Art and Cultural Complex Center, 762 Fulton (at Webster), 394-5854.

Ain't It So
The Next Stage, 1620 Gough (at Bush) (Trinity Episcopal Church), 333-6389.

American Irish
Exit Theatre on Taylor, 277 Taylor (at Ellis), 673-3847.

Are We Almost There?
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-3040.

Attaboy and Burke's Surreal Medicine Show
Odeon, 3223 Mission (at Valencia), 550-6994.

BATS: Sunday Players
Fort Mason, Bldg. B, Marina & Buchanan, 474-6776.

Bay One-Acts Festival
Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469.

Beach Blanket Babylon
Club Fugazi, 678 Green (at Powell), 421-4222.

Beyond Therapy
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-3040.

Big City Improv
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-3040.

Buzz!
New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.

Cinderella
Young Performers Theater, Bldg. C Fort Mason (Marina & Buchanan), 346-5550.

Comedy Improv at Your Disposal
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-3040.

Dublin Carol
Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org.

Enemy Combatant
Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant (at Ellsworth), Berkeley, 510-843-4822.

Evil Dead: Live
Off-Market Studio, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477, www.cafearts.com.

Family Jewels
Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847, www.sffringe.org.

GayProv
Off-Market Studio, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477, www.cafearts.com.

In Bed With Fairy Butch for Women, Transfolks, & Their Pals
12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission (at 22nd St.), 970-9777, www.12galaxies.com.

The Just
The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby (at MLK Jr.), Berkeley, 510-841-6500.

Monday Night Improv Jam
Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), 364-1411.

Monday Night Marsh
The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750, www.themarsh.org.

Othello
La Val's Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid (at Hearst), Berkeley, 510-234-6046.

Party Daze
New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.

A Reckoning
Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Bldg. D (Marina & Buchanan), 441-8822.

Rescue and Recovery
New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.

"Rococo Risque: Liberties Taken"
Danzhaus, 1275 Connecticut (at Cesar Chavez), 970-0222, danzhaus.tripod.com.

Sweeney Todd
Academy of Art College, 491 Post Street (at Mason), 263-5563.

Teen Playwriting Workshop
New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org.

Three Sisters
Zellerbach Playhouse, Bancroft & Telegraph (UC Berkeley campus), Berkeley, 510-642-9988.

"Under the Rainbow"
Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477, www.offmarkettheater.com.

Well
Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228.

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