Mrs. Warren's Profession

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Through Nov. 11 at The Garage, 975 Howard (at 5th St.), S.F. Tickets are $10-20; call 948-5637 or visit www.pusworks.org.

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The intriguing premise of using masks to highlight the characters' duplicity in George Bernard Shaw's play never gets off the ground in this Performers Under Stress production. When they are compelled to share their true feelings about each other and the oldest profession in the world, the masks come off, but the broad and unspecific acting style remains the same. A few moments stand out, such as when Mrs. Warren (Valerie Fachman) reveals to her headstrong daughter (Katherine Leilani McDowell) the source of her wealth and freedom. Yet director Scott Baker fails to use the mask motif to really penetrate or explore the text, and most of the actors lack the chops to make the turns from mask to emotional truth and back again resonate at all. This two-hour-plus production starts off with a promising idea and quickly fades, weighed down by its inability to meet its ambitious dramatic goals.

 
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