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The "very nearly solo show" Shark Bites gets its name from writer and actor Jeffrey Hartgraves' irrational childhood fear of sharks. That he lived in Phoenix reassured him not at all, and isn't that how fear usually goes? Hartgraves' autobiographical play tells the story of his diagnosis with a nasty cancer, complete with complications like crushed vertebrae and lost jobs, but he credits the fear his sickness created with powerful motivation to make art. Some people have the gift to be funny about their own illnesses: If we're smart, we latch onto them and listen in for dear life. Hartgraves is definitely one of them, as he proved in an interview with the Bay Area Reporter: "It starts out about fear in general, and then we give you specific information about my life. It ends up with my explaining the meaning of life. All for $16. In 75 minutes. And drinks will be served."
Jan. 17-Feb. 9, 8 p.m., 2008

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