Arts In the round 

News and notes from San Antonio's theater scene

Autumn in the movie biz is traditionally the time for risky, high-quality fare. In theater, not so much. September, the beginning of the new season, brings safe stagings that follow established audience preferences. Here, that means lots of old chestnuts, popular revivals, and musicals. Starting in November we’ll get the cavalcade of holiday-themed entertainment (Does that sound like a euphemism? It is!), and so October, that lonely little month in between, is often a wasteland if you’re looking for interesting programming.

There are some bright spots on this month’s horizon, however, starting with Caryl Churchill’s Far Away at University of the Incarnate Word, which closes on October 8. Universities are your best shot in San Antonio at seeing a Churchill play, and an added bonus of this production is a cameo appearance by the deservedly revered Maureen Halligan, one of the co-founders of the department and a truly great lady of the international stage. Call 829-3810 for tickets and info.

One of the best shows I saw last year was Watermark 1.0, a site-specific dance-performance piece by S.T. Shimi and Sandra Dunn, produced by Jump-Start Performance Co. Watermark 1.5 is finally here, and opens October 7 at 2303 S. Presa. Shimi and Dunn are joined by Monessa Esquivel in another site-specific re-imagining of water tales and myths (watch out for sirens!), with text contributions by Sterling Houston. 227-5867 or

The Rocky Horror Show may be both a revival and a musical, but it will never feel like an old chestnut. Directed by and starring Lee Marshall (the city’s best Frank-N-Furter), the latest encore production at CameoCenter (the former Cameo Theatre on East Commerce, running through November 5) promises to be the most elaborate, in-your-face incarnation yet. 472-2636 or

The Renaissance Guild continues their ActOne Series (Vol. VI) at Jump-Start Theatre October 14-15. Few theatrical experiences are more risky, or more potentially important, than supporting the development of local writing talent. Kudos to the Guild for their commitment. 656-0349 or

I’m also recommending Alicia in Wonder Tierra or, I Can’t Eat Goat’s Head (the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, October 27-30) largely on the strength of the title. Director Maria Ibarra is also a point in the show’s favor. The show promises that Alicia, a Latina teen searching for her identity, will encounter (to name just a few) the Tree of Heads, a Day of the Dead sugar skull, and the Maze of Velvet Paintings. Now that’s holiday entertainment! (Not a euphemism). 351-7787 or

- Laurie Dietrich



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