Stream of Consciousness Local polymath Doniel Soto of CSUS makes a most ambitious attempt with this independently produced show. It’s focused on physical movement and the actors’ presence in the moment—frequently inspired, but occasionally off the mark. As playwright/director/choreographer/songwriter, Soto guides nine eager, highly athletic, young performers dressed in hooded khaki jumpsuits and black Army boots, with only heads and hands exposed. The show is a cascade of scenes (note the title!), with episodes emerging and dissolving into abstract action. Topics extend from the animal kingdom to human childhood and old age, medieval to modern times, and goofy comedy to savagery and gut-wrenching tragedy, spiced with a cappella singing. It’s starry-sky boot camp and brain candy for the art set, triangulating somewhere between Joe Goode, Meredith Monk, Monty Python and mime. A treat for those who relish a stimulating challenge, but those seeking reassuring romantic comedy had best look elsewhere. Soto’s sparkling direction/choreography are optically engaging, he has lots to say and he’s tuned into many of the stages of life. At just under two hours, the show (which plays without intermission) feels long, probably because it demands nonstop attentiveness from the audience. But there’s a brilliant mind at work here. The setting is an industrial warehouse, and there’s no heat. Bring a blanket on chilly evenings. Abandon Productions, 8 p.m. F, Sa. $10. 2509 R St. (theater unmarked). 737-2304. Through Mar. 31. J.H.
The Millennium Monologues The Sacramento Theatre Company commissioned four monologues for this show—three by associated playwrights Velina Hasu Houston (Kokoro), Aviva Jane Carlin (Jodie’s Body) and Bob Devin Jones (Uncle Bends), and one by Davis writer Robert Daseler. They were asked independently to write futuristic one-acts based, respectively, on race, politics, gender and science. The result, as you’d expect, is a grab bag. But it makes for an evening that turns up several interesting surprises. The most pleasant is Daseler’s near-future script, a poolside essay in which a perky college student chats about everything from black holes to cybersex to the way rose petals move on the surface of the water. It’s marvelous writing, and actress Bari Newport brings her saucy character to vivid life. Carlin’s script (co-written with E. Eden) is a bit of far-future sarcasm: a syrupy infomercial for a terraformed community on a hitherto undiscovered moon of Jupiter. The humor’s brittle and pointed, but the concept is borrowed science fiction and the playwrights play a cheap trick at the end. Still, it’s engaging and funny until the final scene, and actress Tara Blau has a field day peddling her wares. Monologues on gender and race by Bob Devin Jones and Velina Hasu Houston are less successful. There are also two likable, smart-aleck songs written by local composer Gregg Coffin. Director Sheldon Deckelbaum conjures up some glowing visual images. Sacramento Theatre Company, 8 p.m. Tu-Sa; matinees Th 12:30 p.m.; Sa, Su 2 p.m. $16-$32. 1419 H St. 443-6722. Through April 8. J.H.