Studio 300 never promised you a Bowl of Rose Leaves


Through Aug. 30. Tickets are $23-$25; call 981-6464 or visit
Studio 300 Theatre, 442 Post, fifth floor (at Powell), S.F.

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Imaginative Productions makes great use of its Studio 300 Theatre home (which doubles as director Shari Carlson's voice and acting studio during the day), creating a interesting world where painter Alex must contend with the annoyances of fame, such as a visit from a wealthy couple from Peoria who come wanting more from Alex than just his paintings. All five cast members have some nice individual moments — Taylor Meritt has a fun turn as a housewife who fantasizes about black granite kitchen countertops. But the almost-two-hour play never coalesces as a whole. Part of this is because of Carlson's staging choices — the actors pace back and forth so persistently that there's rarely a moment to let the story about an artist and those he loves sink in. Playwright Fred Smith, himself a painter, spends all of the third act skewering the state of modern art, throwing about ideas that might be on point but that feel far removed from the careful character study of the first two acts. The play begins with a good idea, but the ultimate product doesn't deliver what it promises.

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