Arts & Events

Around & About the Performing Arts—a few shows, backyard theater and Oedipus in Moraga.

By Ken Bullock
Wednesday January 12, 2011 - 10:10:00 AM

Some unusual music this week: 

—MidEast Tapestry, featuring Coralie Russo on oud; Vince Delgado, kanun; and Robbie Belgrade on riqq, with music from the Arabic-speaking world, Turkey, North Africa and Persia—Wednesday, 7-9 p. m. January 12 19 at Le Bateau Ivre, 2629 Telegraph Avenue. No cover. 849-1100; 

—Bobi Cespedes will perform Afro-Cuban music Monday, January 17 at 4, in the salon of the Museum of the African Diaspora of San Francisco for Martin Luther King Day, also featuring other activities, including a reenactment of the 1965 Selma March from the Third Street Bridge at noon. The Museum will be holding a family day on King's birthday, 11-6, Saturday the 15th. Free. (415) 358-7252; 

—Berkeley Chamber Performances presents Songs of My Father, with clarinetist Deborah Pittman, the Sun String Quartet, dancer Sheila Coleman and pianist Joanne De Phillips in a program including compositions by Coleridge-Taylor, John Williams and Pittman. Tuesday, January 18, at the Berkeley City Club, Durant. $12.50-$25. 525-5211; 


In theater: 

—The [formerly Traveling] Jewish Theatre goes into its last weekend of a critically acclaimed production of Neil Simon's unusual comedy of Stateside, WW II: Lost in Yonkers, featuring Nancy Carlin's direction of Jewish Theatre's co-founder Naomi Newman, Deb Fink and Soren Oliver, Thursday-Saturday at 8, Sunday, 2 and 7, at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California Street. $20-$39. (415) 292-1253; 

—Subterranean Shakespeare's announced the results of its Shakespeare's Top Ten balloting—over a thousand votes from SubShakes audiences, actors and Theatre Bay Area magazine readers—and the winners! in ascending order (including dates and directors for the staged readings): 10: Measure for Measure (February 7; Bruce Coughran),9: Othello (Feb. 14; Kate Jopson),8: The Tempest (Feb. 21; Robert Estes), 7: As You Like It (Keshuu Prasad), 6: The Winter's Tale (March 7; Liz Anderson), 5: Twelfth Night (Mar. 28; Julianne Reeve), 4: King Lear (April 4; Robert Estes); 3: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Apr. 11; Bruce Coughran), 2: Macbeth (Apr. 18; Kate Jopson); 1:Hamlet (Apr. 25; Stanley Spenger)—and on May 2, Falstaff & Hal (May 2, Bruce Coughran, also adapter), inspired in part by Orson Welles' Chimes At Midnight. Mondays at 7:30 (excepting Hamlet, at 7), Berkeley Unitarian Fellowship, 1924 Cedar at Bonita. $8. 276-3821. 

In my wrap-up of 2010 theater last week, I omitted a couple of unusual things: 

—The phenomenon of Backyard Theater around Berkeley last summer, with performances out-of-doors, among friends and neighbors, a wonderful way to see a play and socialize a little with those who put it on. 

—And Quixotic Players' production of Oedipus Reborn, written by student Jennifer Nicholson and performed by the Quixotic Players at St. Mary's College in Moraga last fall. There's been some talk of producing it somewhere outside the College; with some luck, we might see it around here. A funny, flighty burlesque, a la Desperate Housewives, of the original Problem Play, in Oedipus Reborn, the hero and his retinue have become the problem, clueless in a suburban kind of way. Will Maier plays the obtuse hero and Sally Clawson his ding-a-ling trophy wife—also his mother, of course, but unbeknownst to them—harried by the chorus of the Homeowners Association, by fortunes from an 8-ball party favor, while they munch roast griffin and keep up with the Theban Jones—until disaster ... and plenty of ketchup ... catches up with their blandly serene visages. 

Directed by Alex Moggridge, the Quixotics are a sharp troupe for comedy, getting a ways beyond the usual sketch or sitcom form, even while sending it up. Barry Horwitz, their gracious founder and producer, who teaches at St.Mary's, is a UC grad (he helped set up the Interdisciplinary Studies Division there) and Berkeley resident. Nothing like a spoof of Greek Tragedy to spiff up the halls of academe.