The San Francisco Mime Troupe is about to get serious. That's not to say the politically active theater-making collective hasn't been addressing weighty themes these past four-plus decades -- it has. But the company's newest play, Doing Good, differs from the troupe's most recent farcical concoctions in one very notable aspect: It's a drama. The play, which incorporates live music, is about a young couple, James and Molly, who meet in 1968 and go to Ecuador with the Peace Corps so James can avoid the draft. Wanting to do something more, the pair eventually wind up in Indonesia, where James is led down a new career path as a corporate economist. Now he gets to rake it in while improving Third World economies at the same time. But after a subsequent trip to Iran, he realizes that his actions are doing more harm than good.
Inspired by the John Perkins book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and written by a team helmed by Joan Holden, Doing Good opens on Saturday at 2 p.m. (and continues at various California public parks through Oct. 2) in Dolores Park, Dolores & 18th streets, S.F. Admission is free; call 285-1717 or visit www.sfmt.org. -- Karen Macklin
How Bizarro Comedian comic
It must be tough for an absurdist these days: Reality television, among other societal ills, seems to have crossed an important line, and you'd think crap like Blind Date would take some of the wind out of a guy like Dan Piraro's sails. But the creator of the Bizarro comic strip seems unintimidated. In fact, it looks like he's coming out swinging, with The Bizarro Baloney Show, among other works. A one-man stage show with slides, puppets, and music, the production isn't Piraro's first -- his antics have long been popular at SF Sketchfest and similar gigs -- but Baloney really seems to be blowing up. It's gotten good reviews in local media as well as in the New York Times, and had a sold-out run at the New York International Fringe Festival. Let's see America's Next Top Model top that. Baloney starts Thursday at 8 p.m. (and continues through Sunday) at the Purple Onion, 140 Columbus (at Pacific), S.F. Admission is $12-15; visit www.purpleonioncomedy.com. -- Hiya Swanhuyser
The Dope Show A dealer shares the goods
We've all known chaps like Sheldon Norberg: straight-A, middle-class high school dope dealers who become twentysomething Deadheads, ingesting everything on the planet while navigating high-level universities and cross-country music tours. But it's rare to see them years later starring in one-man shows, unless you count sharing at 12-step meetings. Based on Norberg's own book, Confessions of a Dope Dealer features the former pusher riffing onstage about nitrous tanks and sticky nugs; but it's also a cautionary tale fit for teens (in other words, this stuff can kill you). The show opens Thursday at 8 p.m. (and continues through July 31) at the Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $5-20; call 364-1411 or visit www.climatetheater.com. -- Michael Leaverton
Learning to Fly
Breaking into dance choreography is a tough gig, but for 15 years the ODC School's mentoring program has been giving promising artists a literal leg up in the business. "Pilot 46: Over/ Lapse," featuring newcomers such as Aura Fischbeck, Leigh Riley, and Natalie Greene, presents six dance works ranging from duets to abstract group pieces. It starts at 8 p.m. at the ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission is $12; call 863-9834 or visit www.odctheater.org. -- Michael Leaverton