Pint Sized III Only Has Two Shows Left!

Sad but true, we are reaching the end of this year’s Pint Sized Play Festival!

If you haven’t been yet, don’t miss your chance to see this unique cross between a new works festival and a bar party! If you have been, don’t miss your chance to bask once more in the glory of ten fantastic plays written by some of the Bay Area’s best writers, brought to you by some of the Bay Area’s best actors and directors!

The festival plays tonight and tomorrow and then it’s gone till 2013, so head on down to the Cafe Royale, where the show is always free, and always starts at 8 PM. Get there early because we’ve been filling the houses, plus it gives you a chance to patronize our pop-up restaurant of the night!

See you at the bar!

Hi-Ho, the Glamorous Life: Westward Ho

Marissa Skudlarek shares survival tips for theater safaris into San Francisco’s Pacific-side neighborhoods.

On Wednesday the 18th, some intrepid theater-makers forded Van Ness Avenue and lit out for the Richmond District. The mission of these noble pioneers: to spread the gospel of the theater in an area previously deprived of it. I have long believed that the Manifest Destiny of San Francisco theater is to spread westward (see https://sftheaterpub.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/heigh-ho-the-glamorous-life-the-van-ness-avenue-problem/) and I am proud to have been part of this trailblazing vanguard.

I am referring, of course, to Theater Pub’s touring performance of the Pint-Sized Plays at the Plough and Stars pub on Clement Street. We were unsure of what to expect from this venture, but it turned out to be an amazing success. The house was packed, and not merely with the usual faces, but with people from the neighborhood. The Plough and Stars performance was featured on SF Daily Secret and on Richmond neighborhood blogs. And while we love our regular berth at the Café Royale, the Plough and Stars offered some advantages all its own. For people like me who aren’t beer fans, the pub’s full liquor license was nice. And it has no pillars to block anyone’s view!

Although there is no regular theater in the Inner Richmond, I’ve always thought of the area as a cultural hub, because of its high concentration of restaurants and the presence of the amazing Green Apple Books. Restaurants, bookstores, and theaters seem to belong together naturally. Let’s say you’re a playwright whose latest play was just called “Nietzschean” in the pages of a local newspaper, but, to your eternal chagrin, you have not actually read the Nietzsche book upon which your play was supposedly based. So, before the play’s third performance, you make a quick dash into Green Apple Books, pick up a used copy of The Birth of Tragedy, and feel better about yourself. Um, not that I am thinking of anyone specific here, or anything.

As for restaurants, the Inner Richmond presented my family and me with a plethora of options. Should we go for fried halloumi cheese and Mediterranean-style dips at Troya? Try to score a table at the wildly popular Burma Superstar? Make it a chic night out at the French bistro Clementine? In the end, we took Theater Pub co-founder Stuart Bousel’s advice and went for the hearty American-style food at Q. With its Southern and Southwestern influences, it was a perfect meal for pioneers like us!

Our touring performance at the Plough and Stars was a success, but it was a one-night-only occurrence in a venue not purpose-built for theater. More work still needs to be done in the realm of creating new theater spaces in the central and western neighborhoods of the city. To that end, I recently became aware of a nonprofit that is attempting to purchase and remodel the vacant Harding Theater on Divisadero Street and use it as a venue for live performance, among other things. Neighbors Developing Divisadero aims to turn the Harding into a community center for the neighborhood, but with the possibility of presenting outside programming on the theater’s main stage. See more information and take their survey at NDDivis.org.

I think Divisadero Street is a great location for a theater: a neighborhood where people already go for nightlife, eating out at restaurants like NoPa and seeing concerts at the Independent. Naysayers may note that it’s not near a public transit hub and there is little parking space. But, face it, we live in a city where there’s never enough parking, and the public transportation is unreliable except to get you right downtown. (Theater Pub has even provided a venue for our complaints about these matters: “How to Ride a Bus in San Francisco,” from March 2010, told MUNI stories; and Nancy Cooper Frank’s “Circling,” in this year’s Pint-Sized Plays, deals with the scarcity of parking in S.F.)

I admit that perhaps no neighborhood is “perfect” for theater; the Tenderloin has its flaws and so does Divisadero. Still, why should most San Francisco theater be concentrated in just one neighborhood, when we have a whole city in which to spread out? Go west, young theater-maker!

Marissa Skudlarek is a playwright, arts writer, and proud resident of western San Francisco. She is still working on reading Nietzsche. Twitter @MarissaSkud.

Pint Sized Plays Returns Tonight!

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, we are back tonight with the best little new short play festival the summer has to offer!

Join us at our usual stomping grounds, the lovely Cafe Royale, for another night of witty banter, ironic eulogies, philosophical speculation, peer-pressure, unrequited love, sexual tension, and all the girl meets boy, boy meets girl, bear meets llama madness you could ask for!

It all start at 8 PM, but we’ve been packed to the gills every night, so aim for 7:30 or earlier, and grab a beer and some fine bbq food (yes, we’ve got pop-up BBQ in the house tonight!) and hang with your favorite theater company in a bar!

The event is free and happens at the Cafe Royale, 800 Post Street, San Francisco. See you there!

Measure For Measure Next Up At Theater Pub!

Join the San Francisco Theater Pub for its 2012 Shakespeare production! This year, we’re doing Measure for Measure: A Problem Play Solved In Twelve Scenes.

Isabella is a nun, Lucio is a drunk, Marianna’s been traumatized and this sh*t just got real… photo by Claire Rice.

The story follows Duke Vincentio (William Hand), who appoints Angelo (Nick Dickson) and Escalus (Carl Lucania) to run Vienna while he goes on a spiritual retreat. What neither delegate realizes is that the good duke has remained behind in disguise to observe whether his subordinates embody the same compassion he possesses. Angelo revives long dead sodomy laws that result in the imprisonment of Claudio (Vince Rodriguez), a young man who has gotten his wife pregnant out of wedlock. Claudio’s drinking buddies Lucio (Neil Higgins) and Mistress Overdone (Linda Ruth Cardozo) enlist the aid of Isabella (Julia Heitner), Claudio’s sister who has recently entered a nunnery, to convince Angelo to dismiss the charge but things take a dire turn when Angelo tells Isabella she either needs to sleep with him or Claudio will be executed. Vincentio hatches a plan with the help of Marianna (Kirsten Broadbear), Angelo’s ex, and the Provost of the local prison (Tony Cirimele) to find a way to save Claudio’s life, Isabella’s honor, and his own reputation as a benevolent monarch.

Directed by Stuart Bousel, Measure for Measurepromises to be a fast-paced, thought-provoking, atmospheric romp around the Cafe Royale- the perfect way to end the summer theater season!

Admission is free, with the usual five dollar donation. There are four performances- August 14, 20, 21 and 27- and no reservations necessary, but be sure to get there early since we’re bound to fill up! The show starts at 8 PM at Cafe Royale in San Francisco!

Bear With Me

Esteemed director and long-time Theater Pub collaborator Meg O’Connor talks about collaborating with Allison Page on this year’s best play about a dancing bear.

Allison Page in the now iconic Bear with a Beer photo. (Photo by Erin Maxon.)

I have had the esteem privilege – nay! the HONOR- to direct Megan Cohen’s BEEEEEEEAAR! for this year’s Pint Sized Plays III. I was a little apprehensive to take on this piece – Megan delivers another inspired, hilarious, thoughtful play, and I was worried I couldn’t do it justice. I knew casting was everything, and I wondered at my luck that the talented genius Allison Page agreed to take on the role. I learned a lot about bears, beers, but most importantly, I learned a lot about myself. Mainly, that Allison kicks my ass at bear-puns.

Here are some typical text conversations between the two of us:

Meg: Hey Bear – what time is good for you tmw?
Allison: Oooh…how’s 3PMbears? Where shall we go?
Meg: BEARpm it is. My apartment: I have beeeeeeeeeeeer.
Allison: CoolBEARS!

This bear is always looking for beer. Always. (Photo by Erin Maxon.)

Allison: Ich bin ein Bearliner
Meg: Sorry, don’t know what you’re saying – I only speak Bearlish.
Allison: hahahahahahabearhahahahabear

Play it again, Bear. (Photo by Erin Maxon.)

Meg: Ah bears, I double beared myself tonight.
Allison: Ah bearshit!
Meg: Can we meet on Saturday? Is that bear-k with you?
Allison: That’s bearcceptable. I will find someone to be on bear book for me.
Meg: I’m emBEARassed to have to flake. Hope you can beargive me.
Allison: It’s going to be hard…just…let me get my bearings.
Allison: Bearsome!
Meg: Bear beary bears bears!

I Dreamed A Bear In Time Gone By…. (Photo by Erin Maxon.)

It has been an absolute blast working with Allison on BEEEEEEAAR, and with Rob Ready on the epic return of Llama, the mascot of Pint Sized Plays, written by Stuart Bousel, around characters created by Megan Cohen and Elana McKernan. Whenever you make it out to the show, come say hi. I’ll be the giggling idiot on a bearstool, trying to think of more puns.

Bear For Now! (Photo by Erin Maxon.)

The title of this post donated by Allison Page. Don’t miss her in action, only at this month’s Pint Sized Plays III, playing tonight at The Plough and the Stars and July 23, 30 and 31 at the Cafe Royale!

Pint Sized Interview 7: Sylvia Hathaway vs. Katja Rivera

Pint Sized III opened last night to a packed bar and tumultuous laughter and applause. Did you miss it? Well, no worries, you can see it tonight or tomorrow (at the Plough and the Stars), or next Monday, or the Monday and Tuesday after that! But hey, why not see it tonight so that you can come see it again… and again… and again! Meanwhile, we’ve got two of our directors, Katja Rivera and Sylvia Hathaway, comparing notes on what it’s like to be a part of this year’s Pint Sized Plays!

Who are you, in fifty words or less.

Katja Rivera: Mexican-Irish actor, director, mommy, massage therapist, yoga gal, severe optimist, born and raised in LA, Dodger and Jimmy Cagney fan, keen purveyor of free boxes.

Sylvia Hathaway: I’m a theatre maker and teaching artist with a passion for creating positive change through arts learning. I’m native to the country’s rust belt, growing up in Cleveland and then living near Pittsburgh before moving to SF. I have a background in dance, music, acting and baking with chocolate.

What’s the play you’re directing about?

Katja Rivera: Beer Theory, by Marissa Skudlarek, is about how we can use our mental constructs to say no to opportunity.

Sylvia Hathaway: Circling, by Nancy Cooper Frank, is a comedy of errors that explores one woman’s frustration at what is well-known to be the “scarcest resource in San Francisco”.

What drew you to this kick-ass show?  

Katja Rivera: I like the intelligence of this play, and how the playwright doesn’t go for the easy answer.

Sylvia Hathaway: The script was so open and waiting to be brought to life. I added elements of commedia and farce to the production that complemented the snappy humor really well.

What are you discovering is the challenge of working at Theater Pub?

Katja Rivera: Opening this show 2 days after another show opening/rehearsal space.

Sylvia Hathaway: The challenge is always the audience for me. I sometimes wish I could just rehearse a play forever and never get the audience involved. And yet, it’s such a joy to see them enjoying the show on opening night! Anyway, not knowing where the audience is going to be–whether they are in your playing space or not–that has been the main challenge.

What has you most excited to be there?

Katja Rivera: The fevered talent.

Sylvia Hathaway: Absolutely everyone involved is there because they love doing it. There is no sense of drudgery or heavy responsibility. It’s fast, furious and fun!

What’s been your biggest, craziest, most HA! I PULLED THAT OFF, BITCHES! moment as a director?

Katja Rivera: I think it might be the play I open July 14, An Evening With The Great Zamboni.  Come see it and tell me if I did.

Sylvia Hathaway: This was my first time directing, so I suppose actually getting to opening night with a fantastic piece is my moment!

If you could direct anything, with limitless budget and stars, what would it be and why?

Katja Rivera: Transformations–a book of poems by Anne Sexton.  I love her way of twisting the classic fairy tales.

Sylvia Hathaway: I have always wanted to stage Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas for the theatre as an entirely masked musical production.

What’s up next for you?

Katja Rivera: Casting Eurydice, opening April 2013 at Custom Made, and a well deserved break until December.

Sylvia Hathaway: I’m performing in “You Need to Read Poetry” with Performers Under Stress this Fall.

What else in the SF Theater scene has you excited?

Katja Rivera: Marat Sade at Thrillpeddlars

Sylvia Hathaway: I’m most excited about Crowded Fire’s upcoming season. You just can’t miss with that company!

What is your favorite beer?

Katja Rivera: Bunderberg Ginger Beer.

Sylvia Hathaway: My favorite beer is a glass of red wine. But in the spirit of opening night at Cafe Royale, I enjoyed a local brew called Triple Vodoo Inception, which was delicious.

Don’t miss Pint Sized Plays III, tonight, tomorrow and July 23, 30 and 31!

Pint Sized Plays Interviews 6: Amanda Ortmayer Flies Solo

Pint Sized Plays III Opens Tonight! Don’t miss it! We start at 8, but get there early because we’re definitely going to fill up! And if you can’t make it tonight, we have shows tomorrow, the 23rd, the 30th and the 31st, in addition to a traveling show at the Plough and the Stars on July 18th!  

Meanwhile, we thought we’d introduce you to one of our new directors, Amanda Ortmayer, who joins us from the Exit, for her first Theater Pub!

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Who are you, in fifty words or less?

I am an EXIT Theatre family member.   I am lucky enough to do theatre for a living.  I am terrible at all other jobs.

What’s the play you’re directing about?

I am directing a play by Sunil Patel and it is about a man and his potential first beer.  Debate, conversation, and a real emotion connection ensue.  Do they have a future together?  Come and find out.

What drew you to this kick-ass show?

I was drawn to Theatre Pub because the community surrounding it is exciting.  I was drawn to this particular piece because the writing is funny and honest.

What are you discovering is the challenge of working at Theater Pub?

I think it’s a bit tricky to get people’s attention and keep it when you are in a bar.  It means the actors have to fight harder. Directing theatre in the round has its own set of challenges.

What has you most excited to be there?

I love the idea that we are magnifying moments that we would usually ignore in a bar.  Most people go to a bar to talk to their friends or drown their sorrows, not pay attention to everyone else who is doing some variation of the same thing.

What’s been your biggest, craziest, most HA! I PULLED THAT OFF, BITCHES! moment as a director?

Hmmm…  If we are talking about this show specifically I haven’t had too many challenges.  The script is funny, and the actors are great.  I have 2 props.  The most difficult thing I have had to do is schedule and that isn’t really all that impressive.

If you could direct anything, with limitless budget and stars, what would it be and why?

I like limitations because I like making choices bases on what I have.  I would probably find some great building (something old and creepy) and find a play that needs to take place there.  If anyone has an old creepy house, hook me up.

What’s up next for you?

The SF Fringe Festival.  I’m the Production Manager and the fun never stops.

What else in the SF Theater scene has you excited?

I think site-specific work is really exciting.

What is your favorite beer?

Duvel or any Chocolate Stout.