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[personal profile] loracs and I went to see a staged reading of The Drunken City by Adam Bock (some may know him from Shotgun Players). We started the evening by getting dinner at a new (to us) restaurant in Castro Valley called Genghix (or Genghis, there seemed to be a little confusion between their sign outside and how the name was spelled on their receipts). A really nice restaurant friendly, quick service amazingly fresh sushi. I enjoyed their tonkatsu, very tender and tasty, but I sort of wish I had ordered the lamb chop. I tasted some of [personal profile] loracs's and it was really good. We will be going back there.

After dinner we headed for the Morrison Theater (a part of the Hayward Recreation and Park District). To see The Drunken City which was light and funny. There were a few dialogue bobbles especially in the second half of the play. Some of the jokes depended on some fairly specific timing which they pulled off sometimes and other times really didn't. Of course that kind of thing is difficult in a staged reading, but the first half of the play was very tight. The second half just didn't live up to the polish of the first half. Neither of us liked the decision to keep the house lights up. The light on us was very distracting, but we had a very good time.

The theater itself was just barely accessible. The only place for a person in a wheelchair to park was at the back of the house and I can't imagine more than four wheelchair users attending a show there. Except for the entrance to the theater there seemed to be steps everywhere. Clearly a theater designed and built before that ADA. Still, we had a wonderful evening.
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Yesterday I went to see Watt, a play by Samuel Beckett being performed at the Zellerbach Playhouse with [personal profile] wild_irises and [personal profile] waywardcats. Beckett happens to be a favorite playwright of mine, so I was thrilled to go. Although short, the play was well done and I enjoyed it. I had previously arranged with [personal profile] loracs to pick me up around 10:15 thinking that the play would be longer. Before the play began, we called [personal profile] loracs to let her know that I would need to be picked up earlier, but all we got was voice mail. After the play, we all went to Bancroft where I was to be picked up. Last night was amazingly cold and after waiting for a while, we decided to head for Smart Alec’s (where we had dinner before the show) and shelter.

Now it gets embarassing )
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A couple of days ago I had the opportunity to see Richard III at the Curren theater in San Francisco. The play is a problem for me as a person with a disability. Richard is the twisted in body, therefore twisted in mind stereotype of a person with a disability. This production does nothing to help that, but I'm willing to overlook it as a work of its time.

Kevin Spacey does an amazing job as Richard. In fact, the play loses a good deal of energy when he's not on stage. There are several lines that never quite made sense to me until this production. Other lines read completely different than I had understood them before.

Except for the fellow who played Buckingham (who was very good) most of the male actors were underwhelming. In fact, I was surprised at how often I couldn't even hear what they were saying. The actor playing Richmond was particularly bad and the performance of Edward IV wasn't much better. All of the women's performances were particularly strong. I especially loved the the actor playing Margaret Anjou (I'm sorry that I'm not coming up with the actors names. If I get ambitious later, I'll try to insert them.) Margaret was played with such power and dignity and sadness. She was every bit as good as Kevin (and that is saying something in my opinion). The last performance of real note was Lady Anne. A part that I think is very very difficult to play.

I very much liked the direction of this play. Starting sections of the play with names of the character important in that scene really helped organize things for me. I think anyone unfamiliar with the play would have been helped. The set design was spare which worked very well for this performance. Lighting was amazingly effective. I really like how they chose to present the execution/death of several characters. And the tableau of Richard's murder victims towards the end of the play really got me. Music direction was amazingly helpful. I truly loved the drumming it really moves the play.

I will admit to one tiny problem for me. Kevin was very disciplined in keeping his body as crooked as possible except during the sword fight when his leg worked perfectly well to my eye. It wasn't enough to spoil the play, but he had done so well until that point. The first act of the play was too long, as many have said, and there was a lull towards the end of the first act that felt a lot like the director saying, "well I have to get a lot details in, so let's get through them as painlessly as possible". I felt my mind wondering during the last 15 minutes or so of the first act.

The play was a real treat for me. Kevin Spacey is one of my very favorite actors and my esteem for his work gets better all the time.
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I went and saw this with [personal profile] loracs and [profile] dbubley. The play is about exactly what you think it's about and it's about something completely different. It's rough in parts. Some folks' fantasy is someone else's nightmare, but it was worth it to me. Good show. Grabbed some food at Westfield's (I think that's the name) fancy food court. I had nice time.
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Last Wednesday night I went to see Girlfriend at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre with [personal profile] serene. I like Matthew Sweet's music, so I was pretty sure I would enjoy the show and I was right. It was a wonderful evening. The Berkeley Rep did two musicals based on popular music this season. American Idiot by Green Day and Girlfriend. Although, American Idiot was more successful as a musical, I'm not entirely convinced that current music lends itself to dramatization. My working theory which is very preliminary is that back in my youth there were such things as concept albums. Where the music was actually intended to tell some kind of story. We don't seem to do that much anymore (although American Idiot appeared to be conceived as a musical and Green Day was much more involved in its show then Matthew Sweet was in Girlfriend.) So the musicals have much more of a concert feel to me. This isn't a criticism, I enjoyed both shows very much. it's just that after both shows I didn't feel like I'd gone to the theater. Of the two "musicals" I've seen at the Berkeley Rep, Girlfriend was less successful in my mind as a musical.

[personal profile] serene looked beautiful in her sparkly black dress. After the show we got sushi where I was introduced to butterfish sashimi which was very tasty and I ate usual tonkatsu (I'm almost sure I misspelled that, but I'm too lazy to go look right now.) I really enjoyed myself. Thank you so much [personal profile] loracs for the transportation assistance. The evening was much more enjoyable being dry. You wouldn't know it from what I write here, but I have a really good life. Much better than I ever expected.
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Late last month [personal profile] loracs took me on a wonderful surprise date. The Riverview Lounge was a funky little place that catered to seafood. I'm sure I would have enjoyed the food there more if I had ordered seafood, but I was in the mood for steak. I ordered a steak sandwich. Which wasn't my best move. It tasted alright, but was very chewy. I ended up not finishing it but had a lot of fun looking at the restaurant decor and out their huge windows to the San Joaquin River. After dinner [personal profile] loracs wanted to take pictures. The light was beautiful and the weather was surprisingly warm even toward the evening. I had a really nice time there. Now that would have been a wonderful day all by itself. I certainly didn't need to do anymore, but then [personal profile] loracs took me to see Paula Poundstone! She's been a favorite of mine for years. She's one of those performers that seems completely natural on stage. Her demeanor is casual and conversational. It always feels to me like we're just sitting at a table over dinner and she's just talking.

The theater we went to had great seats. The wheelchair seating put us maybe six or seven row from the stage. However it's not a big theater. I feel like just about any seat would be acceptable. I don't think there was any really bad seats. The theater is a refurbished vaudeville theater. It is a pretty, but not beautiful place. It felt comfy to me.

I think [personal profile] loracs enjoyed herself too. I haven't seen her laugh quite so much in a while. It was such a thoughtful gift and great day.

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