Going to the theater lets you take in dramatic scenes at a safe distance, much like listening to your neighbors argue about how to pronounce gnocchi. Hide behind the fourth wall with today’s GrouponLive deal: for $50, you get a five-play subscription to San Jose Stage Company (up to a $196 value, including all fees). The subscription includes one ticket for best-available seating upon redemption to each of the following plays:
Race, October 6–28
David Mamet’s searing 2009 case study on race and gender relations applies the playwright’s energetically profane dialogue to the story of a law firm faced with representing a wealthy white man accused of raping a black woman. As in masterworks Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow, Mamet confines his bloodthirsty characters to small rooms and sticky situations as the audience’s alliances shift, resulting in what Bloomberg called “a high-voltage melodrama that is unafraid to raise painful questions while dispensing prickly ideas and provocative dialogue amid steady suspense.” Equity actors in the lead roles include L. Peter Callender—well prepared for the zip and vigor of Mamet’s one-liners by his work as the artistic director of the African American Shakespeare Company—and the Stage’s own artistic director, Randall King.
Reckless, December 1–16
Craig Lucas’ Reckless rings in the holiday season with the tale of a relentlessly chipper woman who discovers on Christmas Eve that her husband is plotting her murder. As she flees, her journey catapults her through the lives of a host of bizarre characters and situations, combining absurd comedy with the gift for closely observed emotion that Lucas displayed in his book for the musical The Light in the Piazza.
Red, February 6–March 3
Winner of six Tony Awards, Red by John Logan burrows into the mind of the painter Mark Rothko as he creates several of his enormous, color-soaked murals during the 1960s. The story pits the tempestuous artist—ambivalently engaged in a commission for the Four Seasons restaurant—against a young assistant who takes jabs at the master’s ego.
The Threepenny Opera, April 6–28
It was Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera that first introduced the world to Kurt Weill’s swinging hit “Mack the Knife,” later popularized by pop singer Bobby Darin. The musical follows the song’s title character, a charismatic criminal, as he struggles with his father-in-law—a man grown wealthy by protecting and exploiting the city’s population of beggars. As it careens through a Victorian London infected by the jazzy sounds of the seamy cabarets common to Brecht and Weill’s own era, the plot veers knowingly from melodrama to satire to outrageously creaky deus ex machina.
Summer musical (yet to be announced), May 29–June 30
The theater is currently deciding on the next piece to follow in its tradition of popular musicals such as Cabaret, Avenue Q, and Altar Boyz.
San Jose Stage Company
San Jose Stage Company has been producing and premiering works of explosive power and social resonance since 1983. Professional actors fill the stage with new and classic works by the likes of David Mamet and Neil LaBute every year, but the company’s work extends beyond its intimate theater space—whose capacity of 200 ensures that no one gets a bad seat or, probably, runs into the evil twin they haven’t met yet. Programming spills out into the streets of San Jose in events that have included indie hip-hop concerts, art-walk performances, and partnerships with smaller theater groups and high-school drama classes.