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An excellent production of one of world literature’s most provocative plays, Thomas Whitaker’s Woyzeck is great both as theater and as food for thought about drama’s most enduring yet volatile genre, the tragedy.

B¼chner’s Woyzeck at UCSB

Few plays have as tangled a history as Woyzeck, the acclaimed Late Romantic masterpiece by tragically short-lived playwright and agitator Georg B¼chner. B¼chner packed about as much literature, philosophy, and risk-taking into his 23 years as it is possible to imagine. And Woyzeck is the distillation of his precocious genius, a play that anticipates Brecht and Marx by decades while fulfilling the German Romantic quest for a drama to rival Shakespeare’s force, tension, and propulsion.

The God of Hell

Perhaps it takes a playwright who reached his creative peak in the Reagan era to understand the darker aspects of our current Republican nightmare, but fortunately for us, Sam Shepard is back on form and Genesis West has got him.

The God of Hell at Center Stage Theater

Genesis West opens Sam Shepard’s apocalyptic post-9/11 farce this weekend, and you can expect fireworks-or at the very least, long, arcing electric sparks emanating from Haynes, a representative of a secret U.S. agency who is on the lam after being exposed to radiation.

Jane Eyre

This ambitious stage version of Charlotte Bront»’s novel Jane Eyre, adapted several years ago in England by Polly Teale and directed here for Westmont by Mitchell Thomas, is likely to be remembered for a long time, both as a successful show in its own right, and as an example of an adaptation that fulfills the promise of its source material.

Over the Tavern

Tom Dudzick’s irreverent comedy Over the Tavern is set in the 1950s in Buffalo, New York. While not exactly nostalgic, the play is based on Dudzick’s rigid upbringing as a Polish boy in a Catholic parochial school. In the opening scene, the austere sound of an organ sets the mood of the St. Casimir School.

Jamaica Farewell

Debra Ehrhardt’s sure-footed one-woman show is an immigrant story of a type many Americans are inclined to romanticize (if it is buried far enough in the past), or denigrate, especially if it involves people from the Caribbean or Latin America. The cunning, determination, and perseverance required of a Jamaican person immigrating to this country are not always easy to remember for those privileged enough to have been born here, and Ehrhardt’s courageously straightforward approach foregrounds these qualities throughout her play’s storyline.

Dreaming of Graceland

The Mentor Theatre Company presents and Center Stage Theater plays host to two one-act plays, titled Dreaming of Graceland. Ellen Byron’s dramedy tells two touching stories of a young girl trying to hold fast to the things that matter most to her. Furthermore, all the proceeds from opening night ticket sales will benefit Dream Foundation, a wish-granting nonprofit for adults with life-limiting diseases.

Madwoman in the Attic Gets a Makeover at Westmont

Giving a new twist to the classic story often studied in high school English class, Westmont College’s production of Charlotte Bront»’s Jane Eyre promises passion and intrigues enough to fascinate even the most unfocused students.

Movin’ Out

The opener for the 2007-08 Broadway at the Arlington series, Movin’ Out is an unusual jukebox musical that unfolds without dialogue, relying on song and dance to tell a familiar story of 1960s high school sweethearts ripped apart by the Vietnam War. The songs, in this case, are classic Billy Joel numbers delivered by a vocalist and a 10-piece band on a platform above the stage; the dances are the work of New York choreographer Twyla Tharp.


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