The Debate in this play and around the nation is: Does Violent Video Games contribute to the recent School Shootings? If you were to ask me, I would say yes. I personally think that there is also too much gratuitous violence in the Movies. But, you have to pay to get into a movie – whereas Video Games you watch at home – over and over again.
This provocative, moving and well-acted drama brings to forth many issues. It all begins in a small start-up video game company, where the young C.E.O has come up with a very violent game. The genius is only in his twenties. The game has put the company on the Video game fast track. The media frenzy has begun. Then a shock comes along. A school shooting has happened that closely resembles the “Video Game”. Accusations fly and Attorneys swarm around the victims and the Video Company, which was started by a tight knit group of friends. As the company looks like it is headed for huge lawsuits, the friendships begin to fall apart. Some of the dialogue is jolting, but so real: “Pound your chests and wave your dicks at each other,” says a female co-worker… referring to a verbal battle at the company. Yeah, there is some spicy dialogue on that stage.
To be sure, there are exciting moments in “Shooter”. The action on the stage, with slamming chairs and slamming tables surrounded by huge Videos on the walls bring you into the violent world of Video. At times the acting and the situations are breathtaking.
If only the second act were as strong. What starts out to be a pulsating work of art – turns into a morality play. And, for me it just didn’t work. It was hard for me to believe that a young C.E, O. would jeopardize his company and the pot of money that he is about to make because he feels guilty about what he has created. Yes, there is the memory of his wife being raped and killed by a mad gunman, but the ending where he becomes buddy, buddy with the side that wants to sue him, just doesn’t seem real to me.
Chad Deverman who plays the employee/associate at the Video Game company gives a dazzling performance as the aggressive guy in the office. You know the type – he talks with his dick. Deverman nails the role. He’s boisterous and original. If for no other reason – see the play for this exuberant performance.
Craig Marker – the young C.E.O. is a slow building marvel that builds to a crescendo. He’s got that star quality on the stage.
Susi Damilano who plays various roles is splendid. I actually thought it was two different actresses playing the two characters.
Adrian Roberts gives a strong, emotional performance as the father who has lost a son.
Kate Del Castillo and Sung Min Park both play a variety of roles. Both actors are absolutely terrific.
The Direction by Jon Tracy is perfection.
The Playwright Aaron Loeb has written a mind-boggling play that isn’t perfect, but yet it holds out enormous possibilities. I would like to see a different ending. One that is not so mushy and patronizing. On the other hand – “First Person Shooter” does touch our emotions. So, I’m giving it – THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!! – trademarked-
At the SF Playhouse on Sutter
MAUREEN MC GOVERN – HITS ALL THE RIGHT NOTES
It was nostalgia night at the stunning Commandants Ballroom at the Marines Memorial club. McGovern took us down a sentimental trail of memories with “Embraceable You”, “In A Sentimental Mood”, It don’t Mean a Thing”, the ‘Ding Dong” song from Oz, and also from Oz – Judy song “Over The Rainbow” which she sang solo without the Piano backing. And then she went into a fabulous version of “The Man Who Got Away” from the movie “A Star is born”. There were also fun things like “Happy Birthday” and “Surrey” from Oklahoma. All in all, McGovern covered twenty or more songs.
Her soaring range goes from Operatic to Pop and Jazz. Even some B. Bop. The evening was totally mesmerizing – but it would have been nice if she had balanced it with a few current ballads. There are many that would have fit right in with the theme of the show. Oh well, like one of her songs says: “It was Just One of Those Things.” Jeffrey D. Harris was tickling the piano keys.
Marilyn Levinson works hard to bring quality Cabaret events to the City. And this one lived up to all expectations. As Cole Porter would say: “It was a Swellegant, Elegant Party.” Looking forward to the next one.
PULSE BEAT THEATER
John Apicella will be Argan at A.C.T's Imaginary Invalid
The Klieg lights are on. The crowds are swooping down on tickets for…..
Jason Robert Brown’s ‘Songs for a New World’ that opens this weekend and runs thru May 27th at the Eureka Theater. Buzzin review next column.
Get ‘em while their hot! That would be “The Underpants” that also opens this weekend in Marvelous Marin at The Barn Theatre. www.rossvalleyplayers.com. Gee, maybe we’ll see Mickey and Judy there. And, maybe not.
Nunsense – is all about Nuns who never run out of steam. It was a hit in 1986 off Broadway – and it is still a favorite today. At the Willows Cabaret in the Campbell Theatre in Martinez. Does anyone know the way to Martinez? Ask here: www.willowtheatre.org
Talk about extreme…David Mamet’s “Hurlyburly’ – a comic reflection or invection of the 80’s, starts this weekend at the Actors Theatre on Bush Street in SF. www.actorstheatre-sf.org
They even named a song after him. That would be Vincent Van Gogh – but don’t call him Vinny. Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame wrote a play about the famous artist – and surprise, it’s called “Vincent”. Jim Jarrett stars at the Academy of Art -- 79 New Montgomery, SF. Opens May 20.
Renowned is what Josh Kornbluth is. “Citizen Josh” opens at the Magic Theatre this weekend. He’s gonna skewer everything we want to hear about in a comical way. Politics will be on his list, and of course Global Warming. Previews start May 19. www.magictheatre.org.
A NEW TWIST! Oliver Twist in a new version Take a great novel and add a British musical hall twist to it – and you have a very interesting show indeed. Opens May 16th – one day after my Birthday. How’s that for a twist?
THE JERSEY BOYS SAN FRANCISCO CAST AS BUZZIN REPORTED EARLIER HAS LEFT FOR L.A. TO START THE NATIONAL TOUR. A NEW CAST IS IN PLACE, AND A COUPLE OF THEM YOU HAVE SEEN BEFORE IN SAN FRANCISCO. REPORTS ARE THAT THIS CAST ALSO HAS THAT ‘JERSEY’ SPIRIT. www.shnsf.com
MOLIERE IS STILL AROUND – AT LEAST HIS PLAYS ARE. And, A.C.T. has one in the wings. They are bringing a new spirited production of “The Imaginary Invalid” to the Geary Stage on Wednesday, June 13. The Stars: John Apicella and Nancy Dussault. www.act-sf.org
BESIDES ME…THERE ARE OTHER GREAT MEN OF GENIUS: Where might that be? – You ask. Let me see, I’ll consult the Berkeley Rep Theater – cause that is where you will find “Great Men of Genius” performed and written by Mike Daisey and directed by Jean-Michelle Gregory. Here is when it happens. Sunday June 10. O.K., I know – you want to know what it’s about. It is a series of shows that Daisey with his trademark wit and eccentric insight takes us into the lives of P.T. Barnum, Bertolt Brecht, L.Ron Hubbard and Nikola Tesla. On Sunday he will perform all four monologues in a manic marathon. Daisy’s humor is dark but hilarious. Do we have a date? Oh, O.K, you’re right…we’ll keep it professional. www.berkeleyrep.org
The Photo of Lee Hartgrave Boy Reporter is by Jim Ferreira – Film Noir & Hollywood Glamour. www.lafterhall.com.
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