The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the great theatrical centers of the United States. Our area is home to a huge pool of talented actors, storytellers and comics, many of whom hone their skills in the presentation of extraordinary one-person shows. For a theater adventure that is truly outside of the hum drum, check out these talented folk up close. You may notice that three of the shows listed will be performed at The Marsh. This should come as no surprise, because this San Francisco (and Berkeley) institution is known worldwide as a leading developer of one-person shows.

Marga Gomez (credit: Last.FM)

“Lovebirds” by Marga Gomez
The Marsh
1062 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 282-3055

Dates: Oct. 17 through Nov. 9, 2013

Much of the excitement of experimental theatre is having the chance to see work in progress as it is being developed. “Lovebirds,” a story of incurable romantics of various ages, backgrounds and sexual preferences, has previously been workshopped both in San Francisco and New York City, and returns this fall for further development at The Marsh. For previous work, Marga Gomez has received an Ovation Award in Los Angeles and a New York Outer Critics Circle award. She has also performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Those with a tight budget will be pleased to know that performances of “Lovebirds” at The Marsh will be on a “pay what you can” basis (except for opening night).

Don Reed (credit:

Don Reed’s “Can You Dig It?”
The Marsh Art Center
2120 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
(415) 282-3055

Dates: Now through Oct. 27, 2013

Over at Berkeley Marsh, catch HBO performer Don Reed’s “Can You Dig It?” Reed is an accomplished and critically acclaimed comedian. One of his gigs is as the warm-up comedian for the studio audiences of “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” so you can bet he has some chops. Reed has guest starred on many network television shows. Previous productions of “Can You Dig It?” have received rave reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle and other leading Bay Area reviewers.

Related: Best Theatre Companies In East Bay

(credit: Last.FM)

Will Durst’s “Boomeraging—From LSD to OMG”
The Marsh
1062 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 282-3055

Dates: Now through Oct. 29, 2013

Will Durst is known as one of the premiere political satirists at work in America today. His resume includes over 800 television appearances including The Today Show, Letterman, Comedy Central and the CBS Morning News, among others. He has been nominated five times for an Emmy Award. The New York Post has called him “the natural successor to Mort Sahl” and the New York Times reviewed this show as “highly recommended.”

Karen Penley’s “Stardom Becomes Me”
Franconia Performance Salon
282 Franconia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 994-1601

Date: Nov. 9, 2013

Karen Penley is a noted Bay Area performance artist who has not appeared publicly for some time. Her long-running performance salon in Berkeley, “Retard,” featured some of the most interesting avant garde work to be found around the Bay. Karen herself is performed in a variety of forums including the renowned reading series Quiet Lightning. She is scheduled to perform at the Franconia Performance Salon for one night only on November 9, 2013. If you plan to see this remarkable artist, be sure to visit the website close to the date to confirm your plans. Franconia Performance Salon is very much in the avante garde underground, and unpredictable changes in schedule are not unheard of.

Related: South Bay’s Best Community Theatre

Michael Cooper’s “Masked Marvels & Wondertales”
Wheeler Auditorium Wheeler Hall
UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 642-9988

Date: Feb. 9, 2014

Looking forward into next year, consider taking the entire family in February to see Michael Cooper’s amazing afternoon of storytelling. Known as “The Masked Marvel,” he is famous for his masks which allow him to transform into a giant, a baby, various animals and even a giant, sneezing nose. Both children and adults are captivated by his performances. Coopers has performed at storytelling and theatre festivals throughout the world.

Charles Kruger is well known in the Bay area as “The Storming Bohemian” ever since he entered the Bay Area cultural scene in the summer of 2009, attending 90 cultural events in 90 days and blogging about it. This project was successful enough to warrant a mention in The New York Times. His coverage of Bay area theatre can be found at