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Best Theater Company San Francisco 2008 - foolsFURY Theater

The dramaturges, artists, and professional rabble-rousers of foolsFURY make supporting the arts feel like a truly commendable personal responsibility. The company, cobbled together in 1998 and helmed by artistic director Ben Yalom, specializes in pieces that break creative boundaries and get actors up, off their asses, and sometimes (literally) bouncing off walls. The performances take physical theater and all its myriad aspects — from clowning to dance — to a whole new level, because these aren't works that are merely visceral and spectacular; they also require that audience members have more than half a brain. In an era of multiple scene changes and dialogue delivered at breakneck speed to accommodate dwindling attention spans, the fact that a foolsFURY performance mandates that you keep your wits about you is refreshing, to say the least. Productions include renditions of Shakespeare, postmodern plays in free verse, and works by obscure absurdist playwrights. (The company's most recent play, Monster in the Dark, took the postapocalyptic Orwellian dystopia formula to transcendent levels.) You always feel supersmart and invigorated coming out of a foolsFURY production — the company tends to remake classics without mangling stage tradition, and it has all the intimacy of a black box without the preciousness you might come to expect from less dexterous troupes.

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