The First Look New Plays Festival will run at the San Francisco company's Zeum Theater through Jan. 27. The works featured will be Carey Perloff and Val Caniparoli's The Tosca Project (Jan 16-17), José Rivera's Brainpeople (Jan. 19-20) and Constance Congdon's take on The Imaginary Invalid (Jan. 26-27). Workshops will be presented as script-in-hand stagings, except for the movement based Tosca Project.
The Tosca Project is billed as a "blend of theatre, movement, and music that toasts the rich history of Tosca's Café, the famed nightspot located in San Francisco's North Beach district that has been a favorite of opera singers, Beat poets, Russian émigrés, and other eclectic characters since the 1920s."
Perloff directs a company that includes San Francisco Ballet veteran dancers Yuri Possokhov, Pascal Molat, Muriel Maffre, Joanna Berman and Damian Smith and actors Corey Fischer, Gregory Wallace, Joan Mankin and Jody Flader.
Next up, José Rivera's latest work "unfolds as a surreal dinner party taking place in an unnamed totalitarian state, where three women reckon with the complexities of their pasts," as press materials describe. Erica Gould directs a cast that features Rebecca Wisocky (as Rosemary), Sona Tatoyan (as Ani) and Camillia Sanes (as Mayannah).
Closing out the festivities will be the "rollicking satire about a hopeless hypochondriac who believes in nothing and no one except the dubious diagnoses his quack doctors keep delivering." Ron Lagomarsino stages the work with Baker (A Year with Frog and Toad, "Perfect Strangers") in the title role of Argan opposite Martin (Oklahoma!, "SCTV") as his impudent maid, Toinette. The ensemble is filled out by Charles Dean (as Diafoirus), Carrie Paff (Beline) Steven Anthony Jones (De Bonnefoi), Gregory Wallace (Thomas), Jud Williford (Cleante) and Margarett Head (Angelique).
Tickets or festival passes to the performances at the Zeum Theater, located on Fourth and Howard Streets in San Francisco, CA, are available by calling A.C.T. Ticket Services at (415) 749-2228 or online at act-sf.org.