Best of 2000: Best Theater Without The Hyperbole

Cassius Carter Centre Stage
Balboa Park
(619) 239-2255 (Box Office)

This is "theatre in the round," a sunken stage no larger than a small dance floor, ringed by a mere 225 seats. A sigh of relief, for there can be no helicopters swooping from the ceiling, no casts of hundreds mincing around in animal suits, no singing. The most extravagant special effects at the Cassius Carter are on the order of cigarette smoke and guns shooting blanks, both receiving full billing in the program, and a warning sign posted in the lobby. Productions at Cassius Carter are experimental in their simplicity, lack of gimmickry, and willingness to tackle unflattering images of contemporary human experience. The 1998 performance of Nixon's Nixon and, more recently, Old Wicked Songs are two fine examples of how this theater can broach provocative subject matter on a small scale.

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