We all know the type: unshaven, shifty-eyed, lovable scoundrels, sitting on park benches and babbling to themselves, saying things like Im gonna stomp your lizard! and Youve been giving Mussolini a blow job for 60 years! Thats right: theater people. We rely on them to tell us stories about ourselves using wigs, puppets, and off-color jokes, to transport us to ritual spaces where laughter, uninhibited weeping, and joyeux moments of schadenfreude return us to human form. A lot of that will be going on at the San Francisco Theater Festival, a spectacle of 17 stages taking over the grass at Yerba Buena Gardens. Hosted by D.A.G., also known as David Alan Grier, also known as Antoine Merriweather from the In Living Color sketch Men on Film (Hated it!), this theatrical roll in the hay features no less than 130 shows. While the centerpieces are performances from the witchy cast members of Wicked and a sampling of Beach Blanket Babylons pop cultural bombast, there are also many more local favorites: side-splitting sketch comedy from local troupe Killing My Lobster and hair-splitting improv from BATS among them. The festival also saw fit to include a mind-splitting something called Wormhole, which follows a young woman through the afterlife and an alternate reality. If it all gets to be too much, wind down with one of the shows for kids there are more than 30.
Sun., July 26, 11 a.m., 2009