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Julie Says

Aug 26, 2016 04:35PM ● By Julie Ross

Have you seen a mathematician at play, performing uncanny feats of lightning calculation and mind-boggling mental maneuvers? If not, are you ever in luck. The amazing and appealingly geeky Gregg Tobo, who recited 1,149 digits of Pi from memory in 2015, is starring in a theatrical production aptly named, A Mathematician at Play.


A Mathematician at Play is just one of 150 shows from 38 indie theatre groups featured in the 25th Annual San Francisco Fringe Festival, September 9-24.


There are numerous Fringe Festivals around the world, each offering unique performances in dance, spoken word, puppetry, music, film, theatre, and, apparently, math. And if you typically have spent (or have said, “no way am I spending”) $100-plus for a theatre ticket, you will be pleased to know every show in the festival is only $12 per ticket, or $14.99 if purchased in advance online.


If literature is more your thing than math, you might want to catch A sentence is inside itself (lower case intended; these people are seriously arty), which celebrates Gertrude “there is no there there” Stein along with the essence of avant-garde novelist, playwright and poet Samuel Beckett, famed for his themes of insanity and chess. If you find the Stein/Beckett pair-up an odd choice, please try to reserve judgment until you see the play. And when I tell you this performance combines “obscurity with enlightenment,” using only three actors, three hats, three stools and an accordion, I know you won’t want to miss it.


Atomic Cabaret features physicist and performance artist Lynda Williams, also known as the “Physics Chanteuse,” who obviously struggles with making a career choice. Lynda’s show is a multimedia performance examining human apathy throughout the world as a response to nuclear threats, blending political satire, science exposition and musical comedy. Please note that the following warning is in the promotional copy: MATURE CONTENT, FOR PEOPLE OVER 12. (Hmmm, just how mature can this content be?)


San Francisco Fringe Festival performances will be held at the EXIT Theatreplex at 126 Eddy Street and at the Piano Fight Theatre, right around the corner at 144 Taylor. All are small, intimate studios and theatres with 36 to 90 seats.  


September brings San Francisco’s best weather combined with lower, off-season hotel rates, so you might want to consider making an overnight or weekend of it. There are plenty of hotels in the Union Square area within walking distance of the theatres.


For more information (plus volunteer opportunities!!!), go to the website at You can find more about the EXIT Theatre at


I will leave you with a parting teaser from the write-up of another must-see Fringe Festival show, Awaiting the Podiatrist, which offers Songs! Puppets! Inner Torment! That just has to be worth 12 bucks.


You can reach Julie at [email protected]




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