The final weekend of the Bay Area Playwrights Festival finds fest alumni and stage newbies gathering to see their visions realized in work that packs a punch. It includes Marcus Gardley's every tongue must confess (Aug. 3), a mournful yet incisive piece centered on the legacy of segregation in the deep South and the burning of black churches in the late 1990s. Dominic Orlando's Danny Casolaro Died for You (Aug. 2) draws from a true story about the playwright's cousin, who was found dead while working as a beat reporter probing corruption in the Reagan/Bush Justice Department. While many of the six plays at BAPF take on heated political moments, there are also pieces like Jen Silverman's Crane Story (Aug. 2), a poetic meditation about a girl looking for her brother's spirit, which uses Japanese bunraku puppetry to reflect on the liminal realm between life and death and the uncertainty of memory. Given the plethora of offerings, picking a single event to catch might be challenging, but don't be afraid to take your chances. Since 1976, everyone from Sam Shepard to Philip Kan Gotanda has presented work at the festival, so regardless of what you fancy, it's a great place to see the next big thing on the theater scene. Tonights offering, Claire Chafees Whisper from the Book of Etiquette, starts at 8.
July 25-Aug. 3, 2008