The Tempest at Cutting Ball

13 Dec

If you’re in San Francisco, go and see Rob Melrose’s gorgeous, 3-actor production of The Tempest. It runs through Dec 19. I don’t often feel a sense of wonder in the theatre–though I live in hope– but by the end of this magically protean production (and play) I was transported. The production uses a spare set which echoes a swimming pool and a psychiatrist’s office to invoke all the dreams and storms of this play. The contemporary staging creates resonance between the four centuries-old dreamscape of the play’s text and modernist understandings of how magic and shape-shifting move across the mind, through projection, dream, desire and fantasy. And the three actors do a fantastic job of shape-shifting, which suits the modern view the play presents of character as multiple personae within the psyche.

The Cutting Ball is on Taylor St. in the Tenderloin, a rough part of town where the homeless live. I’ve spent a fair bit of time there (having done a show in that very theatre, a tiny black box) but after seeing The Tempest, noticed for the first time as I walked back up the street that the dirty asphalt of the sidewalk glittered full of green stars. (And no, Virginia, that wasn’t after a cocktail). It’s that kind of show.

Coincidentally, I came across this the same day– which evokes a similar dreamscape.

Cutting Ball does seriously smart, detailed, elegant, and thought-provoking work that’s also (to my eye) rivetingly sensuous and entertaining. Go see The Tempest, it’s gorgeous.

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