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Our critics weigh in on local theater

Woyzeck. "I wanted to tell about every aspect of this man being stripped away and oppressed, and what happens to him," director Adriana Baer said in a recent article about The Cutting Ball's version of Georg Büchner's menacing 1837 play. Alongside the sparse, uniform lines of Rob Melrose's compact new translation, Baer's staging certainly works hard to strip all signs of humanity from Büchner's story about a poor soldier driven to murder through sexual jealousy and mental and physical depletion. This effect is predominantly achieved through the production's German Expressionism-inspired aesthetic, which is smeared on as thick and unevenly as the white pancake makeup on a silent movie star's face. Some of the staging effects, most obviously Melpomene Katakalos' angular, monochrome set, succinctly suggest dehumanization. But the highly stylized performances work less well. Channeling every Hollywood romantic lead from James Dean to Tom Cruise in his personification of the protagonist, Chad Deverman makes for an impossibly fresh-faced and handsome protagonist. Far from being "stripped away and oppressed," this Woyzeck is almost super-human. Through April 7 at Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor St. (at Eddy) S.F. Tickets are $15-25; call 419-3584 or visit www.cuttingball.com. (C.V.) Reviewed Mar. 28.

42nd Street
San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden (at Park), San Jose, 408-277-5277.
After the War
American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228.
Altar Boyz
Orpheum Theater, 1192 Market (at Eighth St.), 512-7770.
BATS: Sunday Players
Fort Mason, Bldg. B, Marina & Buchanan, 474-6776.
Beach Blanket Babylon
Club Fugazi, 678 Green (at Powell), 421-4222.
Beyond Therapy
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226.
Big City Improv
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226.
Bingo!
Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic (at Locust), Walnut Creek, 925-943-7469.
Bricktop
Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter (at Mason), 474-8800.
Chemical Imbalance
Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.
Clown Bible
Willard Middle School, 2425 Stuart St. (at Regent), Berkeley.
Dead Certain
Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.
Death of a Salesman
Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida (at 17th St.), 626-4370.
Galap
Cadillac Building, 1000 Van Ness Ave. (at O'Farrell), 776-1747.
GayProv
Off-Market Studio, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.
How We First Met
Theatre 39 at Pier 39, 2 Beach (Beach & Embarcadero).
Improv Revolution
Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.
In Bed With Fairy Butch for Women, Transfolks, & Their Pals
12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission (at 22nd St.), 970-9777.
Jesus Hopped the A Train
SF Playhouse, 536 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596.
Love, Chaos & Dinner
Pier 29, Embarcadero (at Battery), 273-1620.
Low Hanging Fruit
CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission (at Ninth St.), 626-2060.
Merrily We Roll Along
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro (at Mercy), Mountain View, 650-903-6000.
Midsummer Night's Dream
Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Geary), Suite 601, 989-0023.
Moscow Cats Theatre
Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon (at Bay), 567-6642.
Menopause, the Musical
Theatre 39 at Pier 39, 2 Beach (Beach & Embarcadero), 433-3939.
Monday Night Make Em Ups San Francisco Comedy College, 414 Mason, #705 (at Geary), 921-2051.
Monday Night Marsh
The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.
Murder Mystery Dinner
The Archbishop's Mansion, 1000 Fulton (at Steiner), 563-7872.
Nixon's Nixon
San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio (at South Third St.), San Jose, 408-367-7255.
The Passion of the Crawford
Empire Plush Room, York Hotel, 940 Sutter (at Hyde), 885-2800.
Private Jokes, Public Places
Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-843-4822.
Purgatorio
The Next Stage, 1620 Gough (at Bush), Trinity Episcopal Church, 650-326-0656.
The Rose Tattoo
Actors Theatre San Francisco, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 296-9179.
Shopping! The Musical
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226.
Smokey Joe's Café
San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
, 255 Almaden (at Park), San Jose, 408-277-5277.
Terre Haute
New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972.
"Viva Variety"
Buriel Clay Theater, 762 Fulton (at Webster), for more information call 863-0741.
Woyzeck
Exit Theatre on Taylor, 277 Taylor (at Ellis), 673-3847.

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