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Our critics weigh in on local theater

Tings Dey Happen. Based on his experiences as a Fulbright Scholar studying oil politics in Nigeria (American's fifth-biggest oil supplier), solo performer Dan Hoyle drills deep beneath the surface of media hype and NGO cant to help us understand the forces at work behind the oil-rich country's escalating cycle of corruption and violence. On his journey backward and forward between Nigeria's oil capital, Port Harcourt, and the lawless hinterlands of the Niger Delta, Hoyle — with acute attention to physical detail (and an ear for pidgin) — embodies a soft-spoken, 23-year-old rebel sniper whose chief desire is to obtain a university degree; a warlord armed with four cellphones and a family photo album, like Marlon Brando in The Godfather; and a nerdy Japanese member of the Young Diplomats Club in Lagos working on a thesis about the Tanzanian cashew nut, among many others. Like Anna Deavere Smith, one of the most famous practitioners of this style of show, Hoyle takes a journalistic approach. But unlike Smith, whose slavish impersonation of the speech nuances of her interviewees seems more stenography than artistry, Hoyle filters his Nigerian experience through his vivid imagination, creating full-blooded characters that are as theatrical as they are real. Extended run through May 25 at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (between 21st and 22nd sts.), S.F. Tickets are $15-22; call 826-5750 or visit (C.V.) Reviewed Jan. 10.

BATS: Sunday Players
Fort Mason, Bldg. B, Marina & Buchanan, 474-6776.
Beach Blanket Babylon
Club Fugazi, 678 Green (at Powell), 421-4222.
Best of Playground 11: A Festival of New Writers & New Plays
Zeum Theater, 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), 820-3320.
Beyond Therapy
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226.
Big City Improv
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226.
American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228.
Blue Door
Berkeley Repertory's Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-647-2949.
Brown Bag Theatre
SFSU Campus, 1600 Holloway (at 19th Ave).
Citizen Josh
Z Space Studio, 131 10th St. (at Mission), 626-0453.
Crystal Daze
Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.
Death of a Salesman
Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida (at 17th St.), 626-4370.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden (at Park), San Jose, 408-277-5277.
Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.
DIVAfest Cabaret: Sassy & Seductive
Original Joe's, 144 Taylor (at Eddy), 775-4877.
Fear and Misery of the Third Reich
Traveling Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida (at Mariposa), 285-8282.
First Person Shooter
SF Playhouse, 536 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596.
Off-Market Studio, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.
Glass Jungle
Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa (at Florida), 621-7978.
Good Doctor
The Actors Center of San Francisco, 3012 16th St. (at Mission), 389-8975.
Great Puppet Musical!
SF Playhouse, 536 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596.
How We First Met
Theatre 39 at Pier 39, 2 Beach (Beach & Embarcadero).
Actors Theatre San Francisco, 855 Bush (at Taylor), 345-1287.
Hypnodrome Head Trips
The Hypnodrome, 575 10th St. (at Bryant), 248-1900.
Live from the Front
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard (at Third St.), 978-2787.
Love, Chaos & Dinner
Pier 29, Embarcadero (at Battery), 273-1620.
Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck (at Berryman), Berkeley, 510-704-8210.
Memoir of a Bar Room Floozy
Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847.
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.
Mother on Fire
Women's Building, 3543 18th St. (at Valencia), 431-1180.
Murder Mystery Dinner
The Archbishop's Mansion, 1000 Fulton (at Steiner), 563-7872.
Past Perfect
Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St. (at South Van Ness), 861-5079.
Queen of Spades
Florence Gould Theater, 34th Ave. & Clement (at Palace of the Legion of Honor), 863-3330.
Shopping! The Musical
Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 433-1226.
Songs for a New World
Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469.
Take Me Out
New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), 861-8972.
The Global Age Project
Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-843-4822. Water Engine
Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477.
Z/Magic Mondays Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Bldg. D, Marina & Buchanan, 441-8822.

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