Aisle Seat

The Dad We Wish We Had
What a nice change of pace: Here's the story of a father (straight) and son (gay) who cohabit happily in a town in Australia. Sound familiar? Maybe you saw the flick, The Sum of Us, which played in art houses not so long ago. Now it comes to the New Conservatory Theatre in its original form — as a theater piece by David Stephens. It played at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York for two years, where the director of the S.F. production, Ed Decker, saw it three times. “I think the reason I was so attracted to it is that it's a play with a father that many of us never had — the father is very supportive of his son's lifestyle on every level. I don't know many folks that have a father like that — even my straight friends,” he says. The movie got so-so reviews, but Decker says that was in part because the Australian accents were so thick movie-goers lost a lot of dialogue. “We've worked very hard to get authentic accents, but they're very crisp and clean. The other thing about the play is it's a very intimate experience — you're right there in their living room, which doesn't work so well in film.” Previews begin at the New Conservatory Theatre this week; the show opens Sept. 7.

Actors Ken Grantham and Kimberly King, a married couple who star in Marin Shakespeare Festival's production of Much Ado About Nothing, didn't cross stars — or paths — for a decade and a half, despite leading uncommonly similar lives. Both resided in Berkeley and worked regularly at Berkeley Rep for 15 years, sometimes missing each other on productions by a mere two weeks. Then both got gigs at the Alley Theater in Houston (of all places) where they finally met and realized they'd been leading parallel lives. They also fell in love and got engaged a couple of weeks later. Now they play Beatrice and Benedick in this tale of quarreling lovers, marking their first onstage romantic encounter. This production is set in the 1850s, right before Italy became a modern republic and when the setting, Messina, was enjoying an era of artistic leisure. Much Ado opens Aug. 26 at Forest Meadows Amphitheatre at Dominican College in San Rafael.

Flub Control
Recently Aisle Seat reported a special offer for tickets to the dance/theater spectacle Forever Tango with the wrong theater (horrors!). It's at Theatre on the Square and the deal for $25 tickets goes through Aug. 27, for you tango aficionados.

By Laura Jamison

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