Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
San Francisco, Here I Come is the story of seven different tenants in one apartment over 10 decades who dared to change themselves and the city around them. It's penned by seven different playwrights and directed by seven different directors. Each scene is about 10 minutes long. This can be compared to Neil Simon's Plaza Suite in which the playwright wrote three different scenes for one suite at The Plaza hotel.
This is a microcosm view of gay life from 1945 to the technology-influenced present day, all taking place in one apartment and performed by seven gifted actors and actresses. The stories range from 1940s gays harassment, as depicted in "Femme Fatale," to a forgotten gay revolution in "Coffee at Compton" three years before Stonewall, to a leather sex party titled "Apples & Orgies."
There are a few that could be expanded into longer dramas, such as the opening sequence "Femme Fatale" by Chris Maltby which takes place in 1945 with butch gay man Jeff (Heren Patel) and effeminate gay man Cary (Ryan Engstrom). Both actors are exceptional this scene.
Most scenes are melodramatic and several are really high camp. "Apples & Orgies" by Rita Long is a hoot, about two leather sex parties that were accidentally double booked in the apartment which has now been converted into a "dungeon." In "Disruptified," which could be extended into a hilarious 90-minute comedy, tech nerd Zack (Richard S. Sargent) has invented a new phone that can bring celebrities back to life, such as Elizabeth Taylor doing cartwheels (don't ask how, it's a farce).
Alex (Richard S. Sargent) asks for Colonel Sanders to deliver a bucket of his famous fried chicken but instead he gets Emperor Norton (Stefin Collins), a celebrity who walked the city streets in the 19th century and people bowed to him. Both actors give over great over the top performances.
Bravo to actors Courtney Russell, Erica Andracchio, Kai Brothers, Michael Connor, A.J. Davenport, Sabrina De Mio, and Scott Fee and to directors Neil Higgins, Sabrina De Mio, Richard S. Sargent, Michael Sally, Chris Maltby, James A. Martin, and Don Hardwick for two wonderful hours of entertainment. Also, bravo to playwrights Chris Maltby, Terry Maloney Haley, Richard S. Sargent, Charles Zito, Rita Long, Richard Ryan, and Rodney Rhoda Taylor for clever dialogue to make seven 10-minute stimulating plays.
San Francisco, Here I Come plays through May 7th, 2016, at the Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy Street, San Francisco. For tickets call 1-800-838-3006 or visit lctc-sf.org/.