Kurt Vonnegut's story makes a great book, but not great theater

Finishing up their season that started with the fringe hit 21/One— where the audience was moved around the city on a roving bus — Boxcar Theatre returns with a play inspired by Kurt Vonnegut's novel Galapagos. The complex Vonnegut plot details the Darwinistic fates of cruise ship passengers stranded on the Galapagos Islands after bombs and plague destroy the rest of humanity. It's Origin of Species meets Gilligan's Island with a little Lord of the Flies thrown in. The bad news, we're told from a narrator 1 million years in the future, is that humans eventually evolve into simple creatures with tiny brains and flippers. The good news is we are much happier in that future and our big 1986 brains only brought us "needless complexity" and strife. It's an intriguing and relevant discussion that perhaps works better as a book than a piece of dramatic performance given the complexity of subject matter and million-year time span. The Boxcar creatives do pull out the low-budget stops to portray the Galapagos Islands in an awkward corporate office space trying to moonlight as a theater. They imaginatively create the unique wildlife from puppets, beach settings from tarps, as well as a large cruise ship and even a beautiful tunnel to the afterlife. Boxcar just signed a deal for a permanent theater in SOMA that should better serve their admirable ambitions. Nathaniel Eaton


Through April 28, Tickets are $12-28; call 776-1747 or visit
Cadillac Building, 1000 Van Ness (between O'Farrell and Geary), S.F.

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