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Large and In Charge 

Wednesday, May 13 2009
The Akhe Group brings a stage show from Russia to the San Francisco International Arts Festival. Gobo.Digital Glossary is theater, sure, but it has a lot in common with Japanese bunraku puppetry and Tom Waits rock concerts. The group’s Web site says, “The space mastered by the Operators is valuable and sufficient itself. Without ignorance of the real Theatre laws, but admiring its Signs, Akhe substitutes with desire: dramatic art (drama) by logic development of images and situations, rehearsals by zombeing themselves and psychological play by dependence on elementary physical laws.” Yeah, that sounds insane, but the results look amazing, with performers just as likely to gang up on a huge bag of flour as they are to slap on a hat that pees from six or seven canisters of sand while the performer puffs on a cigar. Often called “Russian Engineering Theater,” the style is cute, funny, and sometimes wackily frightening, highlighted as it is by live music and Foley-type artists, intense lighting, and innovative stage sets. The festival’s other highlights include local Guatemalan singer Ana Nitmar, South Korea’s Cho-In Theater, and locals Scott Wells and Dancers, among many, many others.

The festival continues today with “Jewels in the Square” at noon in Union Square.
May 20-31, 2009

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Hiya Swanhuyser


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