weekly theater guide

Right now, The Free Audience, is still in beta-phase. As soon as we enter regular production, this page will be a weekly theater guide, offering capsule reviews of all notable productions in the Bay Area, especially short one. Some will have full reviews on the site that you can click to. For right now, it will take a short while to get up to full strength.

Theater guide for shows currently in production.

Week of Monday, August 24, 2018

now playing



August 12, 2018

There are two important points to make about Anton’s Well’s production of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis. The first is that it’s a pleasure to see a young theater company stake out an aesthetic philosophy, to essentially say: This is what we do and this is how we’re going to do it. In the bland world of Bay Area Theater, that’s a cause for celebration.

The second point is a bit more damning. Though you can understand why Artistic Director and Founder Robert Estes would be attracted to the late, avant-garde shock master Sarah Kane, the best you can say of her work is that it doesn’t require much attention. Reaction, maybe, but for a writer so interested in brutality, it’s amazing how little Kane’s plays demand that we think, engage, and concentrate.

Info and tickets.

the past


Vietgone at ACT

March 16, 2018

Vietgone possesses a kind of conceptual genius that makes you feel that Qui Nguyen has found a more fluid and expressive form of American playwriting. And then he blows all that brilliance with some truly dreadful writing — weak-minded parodies, sitcom tripe, and post-modern juvenilia.

Full Review. Info and tickets.

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Between Us at TheatreFirst

The Difficulty of Real Lives

March 2, 2018

These days, when complicity has become such a potent, possibly criminal question (in our government, businesses, and private lives), TheatreFirst’s two-program collection of seven one-act monologues, Between Us, presents a group of men and women who got in the way. The problem is that none of the plays on display here.

Full review. Info and tickets.

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Red Speedo at Center Rep

May 9, 2019

The fascinating American playwright Lucas Hnath’s Red Speedo captures a strange quality about ethical thinking -- it helps to not have any. Ethics, that is. It’s an awful proposition, and one we resist throughout the play’s lurid, 80-minute sprint to hell, even as scene after scene unfolds to demonstrate otherwise. In that, Red Speedo is of the moment for our awful times.

Full Review. Info and tickets.