- OTHER MEDIA
- review in SFist May 14, 2010 (Chris Jones)
- It was pointed out to us that the seating at Exit Theater down in the
Tenderloin is reminiscent of one of those Medieval Times restaurants, where
suburban crowds are treated to Applebees quality dishes while being
entertained by jousting, juggling, and bawdy wenches of olde.
Never having indulged in one of these places (its on the list), this
writer simply had to take the observers word for it. However, considering
the play we were watching in preview, it was an interesting observation.
Based on Oakland writer Peter S. Beagle's 1997 collection of short stories
of the same name, Giant Bones, the latest work by prolific local playwright/director
Stuart Bousel, weaves together four tales set in a medieval-like fantasy
world of remarkable depth and texture.
- Giant Bones tells the story of an acting troupe that once enjoyed royal
patronage but at the time in which the play is set has been reduced to
traveling the countryside to entertain the masses. The first act, a whopping
hour and 15 minutes, has the acting troupe producing three tales about
people kept in situations against their will: a myth on the fate of the
last of the giants as told by their human pet; a fable about the defeat
of an evil queen at the hands of a humble country wizard whose magic she
seeks to capture; and the story of a young woman who seeks aid from a fish
in escaping the forced affections of the king of whom she is a guest.
The first act makes highly effective use of minimal props and clever puppetry
to tell three very entertaining stories.
The second act, an hour and ten minutes, opens with the cast singing a
rueful folk song written by cast member Kai Morrisonvery nice, if
reminiscent of something that might have fallen off the latest Magnetic
Fields albumsetting the mood for the story of how the acting troupe
lost favor with its royal patron and can never return home again.
- The excellent writing is only made better by the work of the cast,
all of whom do an outstanding job in bringing this fantasy world to life.
Of particular note are Jessica Rudholm, whose performance as the wicked
queen and senior troupe actress Lisonje is especially captivating, and
Morrison, who is highly entertaining as the toadying first minister Majak
to a king in search of the right consort. Also noteworthy is Mikka Bonel,
whose Keane-eyed naiveté as fish friend Tai-Sharm is a particularly
good match of actor and role.
- Extra bonus - all attendees to this play will receive a special edition
of The Magician of Karakosk, the short story collection that inspired the
- Please note that Exit Theater is a small space and can get really hot.
Please dress accordingly. You can, by the way, bring your beers from the
theater cafe into the theater itself. Yay