Stage listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, and Nicole Gluckstern. Submit items for the listings at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks. For complete listings, see www.sfbg.com.
Audition – A Play Exit Theater, 156 Eddy; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. Call for price. Thurs and Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Feb 13. GenerationTheatre presents a comedy of the absurd by Roland David Valayre.
Bone to Pick and Diadem Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor; (800) 838-3006, www.cuttingball.com. $15-50. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Feb 13. Cutting Ball Theatre presents a pair of plays by Eugenie Chan.
Clue Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma; 776-1747, www.boxcartheatre.org. $15-35. Wed-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 7 and 10pm. Through Feb 19. A play based on a film based on a board game is just the kind of tangled genealogy much goodtime theater is made of these days. So there’s nothing too new about Boxcar’s stage adaptation of the manic 1985 comedy derived from a once popular Parker Bros. diversion. In fact, it’s at least the second stage adaptation of same to be offered in San Francisco. (Impossible Productions remounted its version at the Dark Room just last year.) Nevertheless, led by adapter-director Nick A. Olivero, Boxcar’s production pursues its vision like a mad yen, with a loving fidelity and self-referential glee that are not so much inspired as just plain zealous (although Olivero’s scenic design does reach new heights: a TV-toned board-game set that the audience peers down on from six-feet-high balconies ringing the stage). Performances are dutiful and solid for the most part, with especially nice work from Brian Martin (as the butler) and J. Conrad Frank (as Mrs. Peacock). Although there’s something vaguely and not unpleasantly hypnotic about it all, groups of cult-film line-gleaners may be the best audience for this one. (Avila)
*The Companion Piece Z Space at Theatre Artaud, 450 Florida; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. Call for price. Thurs 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Feb 13. Z Space presents the world premiere of a new play by Mark Jackson, with Beth Wilmurt and Christopher Kuckenbaker.
*A Hand in Desire Viracocha, 998 Valencia; www.viracochasf.com. $10-20. See website for dates and times. Through 1/29 Even though the card game of choice in Tennesee Willams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is poker, it’s fitting that the five-member cast of EmSpace Dance’s adaptation A Hand in Desire should play at hearts instead. After all, as Mitch (Christopher White) reminds us, “poker shouldn’t be played in a house with women” And besides, hearts are very much the core of each character: the heart of Blanche, a flighty bird, the heart of Stella, a string of colored lights, the heart of the doomed Allen Grey (Kegan Marling), an open wound. As the cast plays onstage with a custom-designed deck, each trump card is turned over to a laconic narrator/conductor (Heather Robinson) who names the scene they are to play next. Each evening promises a different sequence of scenes, some of which stick more closely to the original script than others. However, the ensemble is at it’s best when it lets go of text altogether, such as the scene “a cleft in the rock of the world I could hide in,” during which Stella (Natalie Greene) and Stanley (Peter Griggs) get it on, and Blanche (Rowena Richie) awkwardly waltzes with Mitch as Alan insinuates himself into their duet. Musicians Joshua Pollock and Chris Broderick tie the whole experiment together with aplomb. (Gluckstern)
Out of Sight The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $15-35. Thurs and Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Feb 13. The Marsh presents a new solo show by Sara Felder.
Party of 2 – The New Mating Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; (800) 838-3006, www.partyof2themusical.com. $27-29. Sun, 3pm. Open-ended. A musical about relationships by Shopping! The Musical author Morris Bobrow.
*Pearls Over Shanghai Thrillpeddlers’ Hypnodrome, 575 Tenth St; 1-800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $30-69. Sat, 8pm. Through April 9. Thrillpeddlers’ acclaimed production of the Cockettes musical continues its successful run.
Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough; (510) 207-5774, www.custommade.org. $10-25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 19. Custom Made Theatre presents stories by the late writer and performer.
Treefall New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctsf.org. $24-40. Call for dates and times. Through Feb 27. New Conservatory Theatre Center presents a tale of erotic attraction by Henry Murray.
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs Berkeley Rep, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $14.50-73. Call for dates and times. Through Feb 27. Storyteller Mike Daisey spins a yarn about the Apple head.
East 14th – True Tales of a Reluctant Player The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Call for times. Through Feb 13. Don Reed’s one-man show continues its extended run.
Heartbreak House Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 649-0999, www.berkeleyrep.org. $12-15. Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Feb 13, 2pm; Feb, 17, 8pm). Through Feb 19. Actors Ensemble of Berkeley presents the George Bernard Shaw comedy set just before World War I.
The Last Cargo Cult Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $14.50-73. Call for dates and times. Through Feb 20. As fans of J. Maarten Troost have learned, life on an island “paradise” is far less idyllic than the imagination yearns to believe. So it’s hardly surprising that Mike Daisey’s monologue The Last Cargo Cult begins with a white-knuckle ride in a prop plane piloted by a man with a milky eye. Daisey’s destination, the Pacific island of Tanna, is the location of one of the world’s last so-called “cargo cults”, and their big celebration “John Frum Day” is approaching. Daisey’s intention to hang out at the festivities smacks a little of entitled voyeurism, but the parallel he manages to draw between the complexities of a religion dedicated to a mythical cargo of “awesome shit”, and our own dedication to the acquisition of same, is a striking one. From our almost blind faith in the value of basically valueless currency, to our even blinder faith that indenturing ourselves by debt will enrich us, the foundations of our own “cargo cult” are revealed smartly by Daisey to be just as precarious as if built at the base of a volcano as in Tanna. Still, I found the most revealing thing about the evening to be the moment when the couple next to me took off with a $100 bill they’d acquired free-of-charge at the door, to which I can’t help but ask them: “Did you get your money’s worth?” (Gluckstern)
No Good Deed Pear Avenue Theatre, 1220 Pear, Mtn View; (650) 254-1148, www.thepear.org. $15-30. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Pear Avenue Theatre presents a world premiere noir-inflected play by Paul Braverman.
*Of the Earth – The Salt Plays Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby; (510) 841-6500, www.shotgunplayers.org. $17-30. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Sun/30. If those whom the gods favor die young, it’s probably just as well for Odysseus (Dan Bruno) that Zeus (Rami Margron) happens to be irked at him. That Zeus occasionally manifests as a scary nurse with a penchant for ballroom dance is one of but many mysterious angles Jon Tracy teases out of the standard Odysseus myth. Another involves the instant-messaging potential of paper planes; a third, a blunt addiction metaphor for warmongering. In what must surely be a happy coincidence, the design elements and staging of Of the Earth are curiously similar to those of the recent Cutting Ball production of The Tempest. Characters leaping about from floor-to-ceiling ladders to physically embody shipwrecks and monsters, a handful of actors playing multiple roles, watery video installations, even the allusion to mental illness and modern psychiatry are threads that tie the two productions, however unsuspectingly, together. Happily for The Shotgun Players, their version floats above the comparison with a host of extra tension-drivers—the sinuously menacing fighting-style of Posiedon (Anna Ishida), the heart-throb pounding of Taiko drums, the sensual machinations of Circe (Charisse Loriaux), the clever usage of Penelope’s (Lexie Papedo) “tapestry” to weave together the action. And though at times the thread is broken mid-scene, we are finally given to understand that this epic tale of war’s fallout is first and finally a story of love. (Gluckstern)
Strange Travel Suggestions The Marsh Berkeley, Cabaret, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $15-35. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through Feb 19. Jeff Greenwald stars in a one-man show about the vagaries of wanderlust.
The 39 Steps TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $24-79. Tues-Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 13. TheatreWorks presents Patrick Barlow’s comic adaptation of the book and movie of the same name.
World’s Funniest Bubble Show The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $8-11. Sun, 11am. Through April 3. The Amazing Bubble Man extends the bubble-making celebration.
Gush Brava Theater, 2783 24th St; 6470-2822, www.brava.org. Call for dates and times (through Jan 29). $15-35. Brava presents a dance series curated by Joe Goode.
A Hand in Desire Viracocha, 998 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Fri-Sat, 8pm (through Jan 29). EmSpace Dance presents a “remix” of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Women of the Way Festival Shotwell Studios, 3252-A Shotwell; and The Garage, 975 Howard; (800) 838-3006, www.ftloose.org. Call for dates and times (through Jan 30). $15-20. The dance festival celebrates it 11th anniversary with 23 new shows.
Marga’s Funny Mondays The Cabaret at The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. Mon/31, 8pm. $10. Marga Gomez hosts a Monday night comedy series.