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Tis The Season

November 27, 2007

Why oh why are the pickins always so lean, culture-wise, during the holiday season? There were so many great theatrical productions opening in October and November in the Bay Area. Way too many to schedule for review. Suddenly we hit December and I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for productions to see and write about.

I don't mean to sound like Ebeneza Scrooge, but it's my dream to put together a Bay Area cultural program for the month of December that doesn't include a single holiday show. This is practically impossible to do when I have three slots a week to fill with reviewable shows at SF Weekly. Most of the stuff on offer is recycled from year-to-year and I've had my fill of seeing the same mothballed productions of The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol. Three cheers, I say, to the adventurous Jump Theatre company, who, undaunted by the season of goodwill, is staging one of the most downbeat plays written in the last 20 years this December -- Sarah Kane's 4:48 Psychosis.

Here's what I'd like to see in years to come: theatre, opera and dance companies spreading their work out so that it doesn't all clump together in October and November. If more of these non-holiday shows opened in December, they might entice in audiences looking for more than comedies based on the Cinderella and Nativity stories to whet their cultural appetites. These shows would probably also stand a better chance of being reviewed.


  • Thanks, Chloe. It's true that the choice of "4.48 Psychosis" flies in the face of theatrical-season convention -- and might not the easiest way to fill the house. But since Jump's mission is to stage real stories of mental illness, it's a perfect time to produce this play: many people (whether diagnosed with mental illness or just seasonal doldrums) experience severe depression during the winter, especially during the holidays. "4.48" is a sensitive, beautiful play that asks the audience not merely to understand but to identify with those engaged in private battles with depression.

    Thanks for appreciating the risk we've taken.

    Rebecca Longworth
    Managing Artistic Director
    Jump! Theatre Company

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At December 5, 2007 at 8:43 AM  

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