As the producer of the annual Fringe Festival and Divafest, the Exit Theatre has long ruled the Bay Area's freeform theater fiesta scene with an iron rod of box-office splits and free pretzels. But the local bastion of underground performance is about to face some stiff competition from San Francisco theater group foolsFURY. Bringing together the work of 13 companies from S.F., Los Angeles, and New York, foolsFURY's "FURY Factory" celebrates the art of ensemble theater -- that is, original productions developed through an ongoing creative collaboration between artists rather than the more traditional method, where the power lies mostly with a director, star actor, or playwright. The three-week festival launches with a party and ends with a weekend-long symposium devoted to raising the profile of ensemble theater. In between, the festival offers an eclectic program of full-length productions, works in progress, and workshops with ensemble theater experts. Full-length works by local groups include foolsFURY's adaptation of Henry James' novel The Turn of the Screw, mugwumpin's Still Standing Still, and Traveling Jewish Theatre's Death of a Salesman. Visiting groups such as Zoo District, Ghost Road, and ARTEL from L.A., and N.Y.'s Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble perform The Defenders, Orestes Remembered, We Play Devil's Advocate (Variation #50), and 10 Brecht Poems, respectively. The works-in-progress part of the proceedings, meanwhile, includes work by Dandelion Dance Theater and movement-based thespian Aadika Singh.
April 11-29, 7 p.m.