Shakespeare and Company

You consider yourself a theater fan, but you don't go to plays. The people behind the San Francisco Theater Festival know all about you, and they know you demand certain conditions before committing to a production, such as: It should take place in a park, so you can take off your shirt. It has to be free, since you're not made of money. And it'd be wonderful to have, oh, maybe eight shows occurring simultaneously, so if the one you're watching sucks, you can simply rise and waltz over to another.

Done. All of it. Today's dramatic festival blitz has 77 shows with 267 actors running through short, 30-minute productions, spread out over 10 stages, all of which is packed into the Yerba Buena Gardens and a few indoor spots such as Zeum. There's a frightening number of troupes and venues represented, so we'll just name a few: the Marsh, Intersection for the Arts, Cutting Ball Theatre, No Nude Men Productions, Exit Theatre, and BATS Improv. Costume wizard Sha Sha Higby starts things off.

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