Sunday, December 31, 2017

Theatergoing 2017

In 2017, I saw 39 fully staged theater productions; here they are all in chronological order:
  1. Six Eleven, by E. Hunter Spreen, produced by San Francisco University High School 
  2. Belleville, by Amy Herzog, at Custom Made 
  3. Fun Home, by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, at the Curran (my review)
  4. Sunday in the Park with George, by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, on Broadway 
  5. Sleep No More, by Punchdrunk, at the McKittrick Hotel 
  6. Where All Good Rabbits Go, by Karina Cochran, at Faultline 
  7. Isaac’s Eye, by Lucas Hnath, at Custom Made 
  8. Eclipsed, by Danai Gurira, at the Curran 
  9. Kilgallen/Jones, by Allison Page, at the EXIT 
  10. Putas Asesinas, adapted by Carlos Barrera from Roberto Bolaño, at Third Cloud from the Left
  11. Pint-Sized Plays (March 2017 edition), by various authors, at PianoFight 
  12. The House of Yes, by Wendy MacLeod, at Custom Made 
  13. The Baltimore Waltz, by Paula Vogel, at Magic Theatre (my review)
  14. You’ll Not Feel the Drowning, by Marissa Skudlarek, at Custom Made 
  15. John, by Annie Baker, at ACT 
  16. Breeders, by Dan Giles, at Faultline 
  17. Spell Eternity, by Alandra Hileman, at Quantum Dragon Theater 
  18. Twins, by Stuart Bousel, at PianoFight 
  19. The Events, by David Grieg, at Shotgun Players 
  20. Grandeur, by Han Ong, at Magic Theatre (my review)
  21. ShortLived 2017 (Round 1), by various authors, at PianoFight 
  22. Hamilton, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, on tour 
  23. Mother Night, adapted by Brian Katz from Kurt Vonnegut, at Custom Made 
  24. A Life on the Ocean Wave, by Carson Beker et al, at the EXIT 
  25. Shortlived 2017 (Finals), at PianoFight 
  26. MacBitch, adapted by Oren Stevens from Shakespeare, at the Breadbox 
  27. The Curious Case of the Watson Intelligence, by Madeleine George, at Shotgun 
  28. A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Part 1, by Taylor Mac, at the Curran
  29. Myth Mouth, by Dandy Darkly, at the Fringe 
  30. Clickshare, by Lucas Kavner, at ACT’s MFA program 
  31. How I Learned to Drive, by Paula Vogel, at Custom Made 
  32. Hamlet, by Shakespeare, at ACT 
  33. The Mineola Twins, by Paula Vogel, at Cutting Ball 
  34. Junk, by Ayad Akhtar, at Lincoln Center Theater 
  35. The Lion in Winter, by James Goldman, at Custom Made 
  36. Bag of Dickens, by various authors, at Killing My Lobster 
  37. Ageless, by Bridgette Dutta Portman, at Quantum Dragon Theater 
  38. Small Mouth Sounds, by Bess Wohl, at ACT 
  39. The Secret Garden, by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon, at 42nd Street Moon (my review)
This is slightly fewer shows than I saw in 2016, but the exciting news is that I saw slightly more plays by women than by men! (The grand total is 17 plays by female writers or all-female teams, 16 by male writers or all-male teams, and 6 mixed-gender collaborations or anthologies. Okay, if my own play hadn't had a workshop in April, it would have been a 16-16 male-female tie.) While this did take some conscious effort on my part, it was by no means difficult to achieve this ratio. Without even intending to, I started 2017 with a streak of 3 plays (plus 1 staged reading) by women; I finished the year with another streak of 3 plays by women, too.

My advice to anyone who wants to undertake this experiment is that it's not only about seeking out plays by women that you may have overlooked; it's about not going to see plays by men if you think they sound mediocre or boring. Having started the year with an all-female streak, I decided that when I broke the streak, it'd have to be for something really special. The penultimate Broadway preview of Sunday in the Park with George starring Jake Gyllenhaal definitely qualified -- especially because I got the tickets after taking a red-eye flight to New York and getting in line for rush seats at 7 AM! But I might not have broken the streak for a less exciting show.

I also saw a baker's dozen of staged readings (5 by solo women, 2 by solo men, 1 by a nonbinary playwright, 5 anthologies):
  1. Las Pajaritas, by Jordan Ramirez Puckett, at Custom Made New Works 
  2. The Mourner, by Bridgette Dutta Portman, at Custom Made New Works 
  3. Siesta Key, by Jonathan Spector, at Custom Made New Works
  4. Erinyes/Eumenides, by Rebecca Longworth, at Custom Made New Works 
  5. River Protectors/Desert Dwellers, by various authors, at the San Francisco Olympians Festival
  6. The Sorrows, by Carson Beker, at Custom Made New Works 
  7. Abzu by Megan Cohen and Tiamat by Stuart Bousel, at the San Francisco Olympians Festival
  8. Ishtar in Syria, by Barry Eitel, at the San Francisco Olympians Festival
  9. Shamash / Enlil / Hadad / Nanna-Sin, by various authors, at the San Francisco Olympians Festival
  10. Attendants of Grove and Field, by various authors, at the San Francisco Olympians Festival 
  11. Queens of Temple and Hall, by various authors, at the San Francisco Olympians Festival 
  12. You’ll Not Feel the Drowning, by Marissa Skudlarek, at Custom Made's NYC reading series
  13. Token, by Lisa Marie Rollins, at Crowded Fire’s Matchbox series 
And five broadcasts or streams of theater productions that took place elsewhere:
  1. The Encounter, by Simon McBurney, produced by Theatre de Complicité
  2. Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, by Tony Kushner, National Theatre 
  3. Angels in America: Perestroika, by Tony Kushner, National Theatre 
  4. Present Laughter by Noel Coward, Broadway 
  5. Indecent, by Paula Vogel, Broadway 
(one of the best things about 2017 for me is that it was a Quadruple Vogel Year, what with 3 very good productions of her work here in SF and the broadcast of Indecent)

Finally, I also saw 2 live operas, 1 streamed opera, 1 live ballet, and 1 "immersive live art event". Appropriately enough, this includes the first opera I've ever seen by a female composer:
  1. Laughing and Crying, by Repulsive Women, at Z Space
  2. La Circe, by Pietro Andrea Ziani, at Ars Minerva
  3. Manon, by Massenet, at San Francisco Opera
  4. The Nutcracker, by Tchaikovsky, at Cardinal Ballet
  5. Cinderella, by Alma Deutscher, at San Jose Opera (streamed)
Previous year-end theatergoing reports: 2016, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

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