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Nina Ball

A Queen of Many Faces

George Heymont | Posted 06.05.2016 | Arts
George Heymont

Historical dramas have an intense appeal for many audiences. To some, there is the vicarious thrill of witnessing history come alive. For others, such...

Flipping The Narrative

George Heymont | Posted 03.31.2016 | Arts
George Heymont

Hermaphrodites have long been known to exist in nature. In certain indigenous cultures, two-spirited people are treated with great respect.

And You Think You've Got Problems!

George Heymont | Posted 03.20.2016 | Arts
George Heymont

Perspective plays such an important role in our lives. Although the first optical microscopes were built in the early 17th century, it wasn't until th...

Beware the Squid Children of Cebu

George Heymont | Posted 12.06.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

When American Conservatory Theater first announced plans to renovate the Strand Theatre on Market Street, its Artistic Director, Carey Perloff, was bubbling over with ideas about what a second performance space could do for the company.

When Substance Abuse Takes Center Stage

George Heymont | Posted 10.25.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

Directed by Jenny Sullivan on a simple and attractive unit set designed by Nina Ball, Center Rep's production benefits immensely from Scot Woolley's musical arrangements, Steve Blum's music direction and the musical supervision of Brandon Adams.

Fools for Love

George Heymont | Posted 07.23.2016 | Arts
George Heymont

Whether these pairings were deliberate or circumstantial, what made Schnitzler's play so interesting was that they included characters from a wide variety of social classes who were well aware of their station as well as their limitations.

A Sense of Foreboding

George Heymont | Posted 06.18.2016 | Arts
George Heymont

Three dramas playing out on Bay Area stages during May were notable for their sense of foreboding coupled with the audience's suspicion that no good deed would go unpunished.

You've Got Me Under Your Spell

George Heymont | Posted 05.24.2016 | Arts
George Heymont

Two productions new to San Francisco had that special aura about them: a piece of dance theater that attempted to retell a drama written by Sophocles in approximately 441 BC, and a contemporary drama which brilliantly demonstrated what happens when superb writing, directing, and acting combine to elevate a script into a miraculously poignant and deeply fulfilling event.

Bereaved, Bullied, and Bewildered

George Heymont | Posted 05.16.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

One of the sleepers at the 2015 San Francisco Indie Fest was an Australian film called Is This The Real World.

Bidness as Usual

George Heymont | Posted 04.07.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

Two new plays focusing on business issues recently received their world premieres from Bay area theatre companies.

A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes

George Heymont | Posted 02.24.2015 | Arts
George Heymont

Directed by Mark Kenward, the performance that I attended at the 2014 San Francisco Fringe Festival of Caggiano's new monologue felt like a crash landing that kept passing through a series of green spotlights as it bumped and lurched down an ill-fated runway.

Setting Up the Jokes for Maximum Effect

George Heymont | Posted 12.16.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Wardrobe malfunctions can be unsettling, hilarious, scary, or (in the case of Janet Jackson's 2004 half-time show at Superbowl XXXVIII), historic. However, when push comes to shove, if a comic element is involved, it helps to have the audience in on the joke.

Beware Your Fantasy: It Might Just Come True!

George Heymont | Posted 12.09.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Fairy tales, short stories, and playlets have a way of infecting the imagination to produce new variations on age-old themes. In June, Wily West Productions joined forces with the Playwrights Center of San Francisco to present Sheherezade 14, an evening of short plays written by local playwrights and directed by Wesley Cayabyab and Amy Crumpacker.

Give Them an 'E' For Effort

George Heymont | Posted 11.04.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Despite what some people think, storytelling is very much an acquired skill. Not everyone does a good job of it. Some folks are incapable of even launching a narrative.

Undeniable Labors of Love

George Heymont | Posted 08.27.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Politicians, warriors and self-important fools frequently fail to learn anything from the past. But for creative types, the past offers a wondrous portal which invites them to explore science and history (as well as the history of comparative religion, costume design, distant cultures and lots more).

The Edgy Thrills of Extreme Storytelling

George Heymont | Posted 04.03.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Although it's convenient to think of a ride on MUNI as a gift of free theatre, nothing compares to the wonders that transpire while you're asleep.

Those Damned Exasperating Women!

George Heymont | Posted 03.29.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

Last year, two small Berkeley theatre companies presented riveting dramas whose protagonists were fiercely determined women with clearly defined goals.

Curses! Foiled Again!

George Heymont | Posted 03.13.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

From The Mummy's Curse to The Curse of the Werewolf, from the tale of King Midas to the legend of Sleeping Beauty, literature is filled with curses.

Some Like It Raw

George Heymont | Posted 03.01.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

It's easy to reach a point where one no longer wishes to attend performances of The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, Handel's Messiah, or Hansel and Gretel because repetition has dulled the thrill.

Impossible Dreams

George Heymont | Posted 01.23.2014 | Arts
George Heymont

While it's possible that those who aspire to less enjoy life more, I have no doubt that every generation of humanity has had its ass kicked by reality.

City on Fire

George Heymont | Posted 08.15.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

The Boston Marathon bombings forced many people to ask an age-old question. Is someone's behavior shaped by nature or nurture? Some of life's tragedies are undeniably due to natural cycles. Two shorts screened at the 2013 San Francisco International Film Festival demonstrated this process with a wry sense of humor.

The Inside Scoop

George Heymont | Posted 04.29.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

From psychics who claim to be communicating with the soul of the dead octopus to hucksters trying to establish whether Paul is an English or German citizen, The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus gives new meaning to Barnum's claim that "There's a sucker born every minute."

Hearts of Darkness

George Heymont | Posted 03.08.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

The opportunity to experience works like Woyzeck, The Threepenny Opera, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, and The Beggar's Opera in an extremely intimate theatre like the 100-seat Ashby Stage make them far more gritty and accessible.

Turkey-Lurkey Time

George Heymont | Posted 01.17.2013 | Arts
George Heymont

It doesn't have to be a dark and stormy night outside for a critic to wonder if reviewing the evening's performance will be a dark and dirty job. All kinds of questions run through a critic's mind as he sits through a less than thrilling night at the theatre.

Does Enchantment Pour out of Every Door?

George Heymont | Posted 10.22.2012 | Arts
George Heymont

If one were to look for unlikely social climbers in literature, one of the most obvious examples is Eliza Doolittle. The character created by George Bernard Shaw for 1912's Pygmalion was further immortalized in the 1956 hit musical, My Fair Lady.