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."
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.
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.
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.
Two Bay area theatre companies are currently staging literary classics. One has put a daring new spin on a 400-year-old Shakespearean play; the other is staging a British adaptation of a beloved novel that is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its publication.
Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, and boy gets to marry girl. But then girl turns into a tree and uses her roots to drag boy underground so that she can, once more, lie naked beside him and hold him in her arms.