emotional core shows in staging
Tiempo legend fg don’t Miss:Study: Pot reduces bladder tiempo legend fg cancer riskLocal anglers’ salmon jackpotBoy’s tribute to momTahoe traps stolen’Late Night’ replacement49ersRaidersGiantsA’sWarriorsSharksQuakesNFLMLBNBANHLCollegePrepsGolfOutdoorsOtherOn TVTicketsShopVideoMoviesMusic NightlifePerformanceArtEventsBooksTV RadioHoroscopeComicsGamesThings To DoHome GardenStyleOutdoorsSki SnowHealthGreenLGBTHouzzDatingMomsPetsSponsored Contentfrom left: Nicholas Pelczar as Hank,Arwen Anderson, Jon Wolanske and Elissa Stebbins in 4 Adverbs. Dress rehearsal/photo shoot for “4 Adverbs, a Word for Word production of four stories from Daniel (Lemony Snicket) Handler’s new novel. Dress rehearsal starts at 7 pm and they’d like photographer to get there about 6:45 to set up. This is an ensemble piece so I don’t think it matters too much who we get pictures of.
day contact is David Hyry 4158643547
Photo taken on 2/19/06 in San Francisco, CA. Photo by Lea Suzuki/ The San Francisco Chronicle MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/ MAGS OUT.
Photo: Lea Suzukifrom left: Nicholas Pelczar as Hank,Arwen.
4 Adverbs: By Daniel Handler. Directed by Sheila Balter. (Through March 12. Word for Word at Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida St, San Francisco. Two hours, 15 minutes. Tickets $25$32. A new arrival in San Francisco struggles under the hostility of a boss who happens to be her husband’s former lover. Another woman, not yet recovered from a bad breakup, takes up with a mere ghost of a man. A third finds herself driving toward South San Francisco with a man who looks like nothing but trouble. Then there are all those magpies that pop up in the oddest places. Not to mention the possibly active volcano seething beneath the city.
The situations in Daniel Handler’s forthcoming book “Adverbs” may be as surreal as that volcano or ghostly lover or as whimsical as the great wads of cash thrown about (rent is “500 billion a month”), but they’re also as familiar as a failed or successful romance, deep friendship, marital negotiation, passing lust or remembered crush. Word for Word embodies and enhances the familiarity and the whimsicality in four of the book’s stories. The result, a very entertaining “4 Adverbs, opened Friday at Project Artaud Theater.
It’s an unorthodox way to whet prospective readers’ appetites for a book that won’t be published (by HarperCollins’ Ecco imprint) until May, a prepublication theatrical production. But it’s unquestionably successful in bringing to life the humor and some of the characters in the book and promoting curiosity about the other stories, to judge by the enthusiasm of the packed house on opening night.
There couldn’t be a better company to undertake such a project than Word, the 12yearold group (a program of Z Space Studio) that specializes in performing works of literature exactly as written with every hesaid, description and digression intact. Word veteran Sheila Balter stages the four stories with the company’s usual inventive flair, investing narrative passages and odd turns of phrase with layers of tiempo legend fg visual or performance wit that underline and enhance Handler’s verbal humor.
The actors, mostly company newcomers, inhabit not only the characters but also every inanimate object mentioned in passing (more regular company members can be seen in bon voyage performances of Amy Tan’s “Immortal Heart, March 13 and 14 at Artaud, before it heads for France). Elissa Stebbins, for example, is delightfully imperiled as Allison, a graduate student taking an illadvised car ride with a possibly dangerous stranger. But she’s unforgettable as a pugnacious bottle of Chianti and, with Arwen Anderson, as part of a pair of plaintively tempting doughnuts.
Two of the stories, “Arguably” and “Particularly, connect so closely that the second simply continues the same tale. Helena tiempo legend fg (a beguiling Sarah Nealis) is a befuddled Youth Nike Soccer Cleats but determined young English novelist with a penchant Youth Nike Soccer Cleats for comically inappropriate comments. Her American husband, David (a maddeningly passive, indulgent Jon Wolanske), brings her to San Francisco to take an elementary school teaching job.
Helena’s supervisor is his exlover, Andrea (Anderson, measuring her rival with withering gazes). Things go downhill from there, with some sweet undertones, as the rest of the cast in Laura Hazlett’s characterspecific costumes brightly impersonates everyone and everything from the eager schoolchildren, blase teachers and Helena’s distant, dismissive mother (the mercurial Beth Wilmurt) to the city’s rumored volcano.
Balter and choreographer Erica Chong Shuch invest every moment with creative flourishes as the scenes shift effortlessly between indoor, outdoor and imaginary locations. Sly, minimal projections (by David Szlasa) and the signs wielded by Word cofounder Susan Harloe set the contexts, as Jim Cave’s evocative light, Joshua Raoul Brody’s sound effects and the strangely expressive stair units of Mikiko Uesugi’s schematic set define the locations.
The two other stories, “Naturally” and “Wrongly, don’t have apparent connections to each other or to the first two tales which is somewhat misleading. It’s the nature of the quirky connections between the stories sometimes as background scenes, memories, sidetracks or dreams within others that makes “Adverbs” a novel rather than an anthology. The Word selection stints the book’s connective tissue and leaves some references and passages seeming gratuitous.
It excels, though, at fleshing out the characters, with delightful cameos by Wilmurt, Anderson, Nealis, Dan Wolf and the rest. It also succeeds in exemplifying the central theme of people desperately seeking emotional connections. In “Wrongly, the desperation has its dangerously yearning undertones in Stebbins’ traumatized Allison and Kevin Rolston’s brilliantly etched, obnoxiously selfcentered Steven.
In “Naturally, the theme strikes a shimmering, ineffably touching chord as Nicholas Pelczar’s confused, heartsick and deceased Hank finds love too late and too little with Wilmurt’s lovely, angry and defensive Eddie. “Arguably” may be the adverb that sets the evening’s tone, but “Naturally” embodies its heart tiempo legend fg Youth Nike Soccer Cleats.