Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Witch House, at the Garage

(Photo by Kelly Puleio.)

I was very pleased to be able to support this show, now playing at one of the most Fringey venues in SF, the Garage, which perhaps more than any other space in the Bay Area is dedicated to new artists and experimentation. I love the fact that artistic director Joe Landini gives artists a place to develop new work from scratch and to perform it -- a galling rarity. I also love the fact that the space shows something different every single weekend; unfortunately, that means that it's usually difficult for me to cover it. One of the peculiarities of working for a weekly newspaper is that our print schedule favors and often demands shows with longer runs. That has the problematic effect of making it look like shows with longer runs, which tend to come from wealthier companies, are the only shows I think are worth covering. That isn't so. So I'm redoubling my efforts to get work by those smaller companies in print, or, at the very least, online.

I saw The Witch House yesterday, and even after reading the script and interviewing the playwright and director, I found a lot of the show, about three boys who get possessed by Abigail Williams and other Salem Witch Trial accusers, difficult to follow. The show features abrupt shifts into the surreal that only get more surreal as time passes. But I was pleased to see that much of the comedy came to full, rich life in the transfer from page to stage, and that the performers tackled their challenging parts with total commitment. The women's chorus, even as their words confused, made abstraction bewitching.

The Witch House continues through Jan. 27 at The Garage; info here.

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