Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
PianoFight is a relatively new theatre complex in town. It bills itself as San Francisco's Premier Indy Entertainment Venue. Dan Williams, Rob Ready, and Kevin Fink opened PianoFight in 2012 on the site of the former Original Joe's Tenderloin restaurant after a $1.2 million renovation. PianoFight has a full service restaurant and bar, a cabaret stage, and two intimate theatres. They present new works by new artists who are mostly local. The shows run the gamut from world premiere plays to inventive sketch comedy, improv, variety shows and more.
In one theatre in the complex, Awesome Theatre (which bills itself as "Theatre for people who didn't know they liked theatre") recently presented Terror-Rama II: Prom Night. I caught one of their last performances on October 27. It's not Edward Albee, Tom Stoppard, or even Eugene O'Neill and it aims for the 21 to 25 crowd. I was entertained by the two one-act plays because I like to think young.
Terror-Rama is a new play incubator that commissions two new horror-themed plays every two years. Each pair of plays goes through a year of development, including readings, dramaturgical meetings, and writing workshops. Another year of revisions and workshops culminates in a full stage production, usually mounted in October for Halloween.
The first terror shock drama in this year's pair was Purity by Clair Ann Rice, a two-character study with a Lutheran minister Cameron (Adam Neimann) and a young woman who is a newcomer to the church, Mary Beth (Laura Peterson). They are holding up in a church basement because a killer is stalking the dark streets of the sleepy community as they are preparing for the annual Purity Ball. Both discover dark secrets about each other which makes them wonder if the killer is right in front of them.
Adam Neimann and Laura Peterson gave vivid performances but it was a long 45 minutes before the violent climax. It could be shortened to about 30 minutes.
After intermission was Sexy Vampire Academy, an original play by the Artistic Director of the company, Anthony R. Miller. It involves Price Academy, which is hidden in a forest across the river from a small Oregon town. Price Academy is a high school populated by vampires where it is 1996 forever. They are preparing for prom night.
New girlfriend Abby (Meghan Chambers) wants to help Vampire Cole (Kyle McReddie) escape the grip of Queen Vampire Callidora (Megan Luis) with the help of her friend Simon (Heren Patel). Simon develops a plan on prom night that is hilarious. This was an entertaining 45 minutes with lines like "Bitch, if you do not show me some respect, I will make you douche with Holy Water." Everyone in the cast camped up a storm, particularly Heren Patel, Kyle McReddie, and Laura Peterson. Meghan Chambers, Andrew Chung, Megan Luis, Adam Neimann, and Kaylamay Paz Suarez gave entertaining performances. All this plus a biting millennial host who looked like Vampira with the name Sindie Chopper.