The Rogue El Gato

Playwright Shawn Ferreyra tries his hand at writing for kids. He shoulda stuck to tales of half-naked nymphs.

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Through Sept. 29 (Saturdays only). Tickets are $5-10; call 800-838-3006 or visit www.elgatotheatre.org.
The Eureka Theater, 215 Jackson (between Battery and Front), S.F.

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Last year playwright Shawn Ferreyra and his company, El Gato Del Diablo, produced a marvelous play called The Legendary and Fabulous Passion Play. It was a night filled with wine, sex, and half-naked nymphs. It had an immensely creative set and a loud soundtrack pounding out Nine Inch Nails. This is not that play. The Rogue El Gato is a rustic children's play about a demon cat trying to protect its natural habitat from a wasteful and polluting village of humans. On many levels, it works. The costumes are soft and colorful. The actors are obviously skilled and expressive. There are even brief moments of juggling and acrobatics. Ferreyra is an excellent writer of dialogue, but Rogue could use some more creative staging to avoid its long sections of characters standing around talking. Though this play seems targeted to children five and up, it lacks a certain level of production that young audiences have come to expect. Ferreyra uses no special lighting, no music, and very little creative movement to tell this modernist tale of environmental neglect. Without those things, the forbidding forest and devil cat don't seem all that menacing, and Rogue, while still fun at moments, feels fairly one-dimensional.

 
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