The Rude Mechs Play Zellerbach

The Austin theater troupe The Rude Mechanics brings satire, mystery, and fable to Berkeley, and The Fishnet Follies and Circus Beyond the Ring create excitement in Oakland.


The Rude Mechanics

Photo courtesy of the Rude Mechanics

How do you make something cheap look expensive? Spray paint it gold. Austin-based theater troupe The Rude Mechanics bring their flamboyant, glam-heavy farce, Stop Hitting Yourself, to Berkeley—the perfect place to poke fun at the 1 percent. The show is an exercise in competitive greed in the name of greater good, one in which whoever dies with the most, wins. Meanwhile, the wealthy characters practice a very self-conscious form of noblesse oblige.

Excess and self-indulgence à la Jackie Siegel in The Queen of Versailles or the Kardashians, Stop Hitting Yourself is a satire/mystery/fable that takes a wild man out of the woods and “civilizes” him for the sole entertainment of a narcissistic and entitled queen. Replete with an excess of chandeliers and a “gold” piano (can you hear Liberace swooning?), the set, gilded entirely in gold, is a glittering, albeit vulgar, homage to the excesses and vanity of the über-rich. You can’t buy taste.

Somewhere between theater, farce, and the avant-garde, The Mechs create genre-defying theater in a totally egalitarian fashion. The name comes from the two mechanics, Pyramus and Thisbe, who were out to make a name for themselves in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Mechs are hailed as one of the most subversive, engaging, and innovative practitioners of physical theater today. Be prepared to play along as the troupe involves the audience in some interactive games using real moola. You never know what you might do for a buck.

Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 19-22, 8 p.m. $76 and up. Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Berkeley campus, Berkeley.



Fun with Boas and Feathers

The Fishnet Follies revives the burlesque scene.

Hubba hubba! Buxom ladies with a little boom-boom, bouncy bosoms, and a naughty bump grind ain’t so hard to find—if you know where to look. The Bay Area’s burlesque scene is alive and well at the Garter Room. For those with a taste for the tassel and tease, boas and heels, The Fishnet Follies Classic Burlesque Revue is a saucy soiree of your favorite broads—in barely-there apparel—and bulging beefcake in slightly more sartorial splendor all in the name of Hollywood and Las Vegas sparkle, glamour, and glory. Come enjoy a classic burlesque revue in an authentic, intimate cabaret setting. Local faves like Lookie Lulu, Maggie Motorboat, and Frankie Fictitious, and imported talent like Philadelphia’s criminally cut Lil’ Steph heat up the stage in a cozy cabaret clubhouse. Vavavavoom! Thursday, Nov. 5, 9 p.m. $8 general admission, $13 reserved seating. Upstairs at the Legionnaire Saloon, 2272 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.



Resolve, Adapt, Imagine

Circus with a crazy twist awes at Kinetic Arts.

Dystopian immersive circus with futuristic undertones brings professional acrobats, aerialists, contortionists, and jugglers to the Kinetic Arts Center when Circus Beyond the Ring presents Salvage. It’s the story of survivors of a global catastrophe galvanizing to rebuild for the future told through compelling homegrown circus arts theater. Salvage is an original production, the first by Circus Beyond the Ring, and it uses talent from the Bay Area, the epicenter of the melding of tech, science, and arts. Many of these athletic artists do their circus acts around the country, and Circus Beyond the Ring, through Salvage, seeks to showcase their amazing abilities in the place where they live. It also aims to bring back such performances in following years, and is using Indiegogo funds to employ Bay Area professional designers, performers, and technicians. Salvage, which offers family-friendly entertainment, explores the themes of resolution, adaptation, and imagination as performers remake their ruined world. Salvage has a six-week run, Saturday, Nov. 14, through Sunday, Dec. 20. Shows are 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays. There is a special holiday matinee 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27. $69-$125. Kinetic Arts, 785 Seventh St., Oakland.,

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