Summer sneaks: Theater

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If you're spending your summer around the Bay, it's important to keep in mind the one major form of entertainment that students often ignore or forget: The East Bay and San Francisco have thriving theater scenes, and all the old reliable companies have intriguing summertime fare lined up.

Presented by Cal Performances starting May 4, Ireland's Druid Theatre Company are visiting Zellerbach Playhouse with Martin McDonagh's "The Cripple of Inishmaan." The comic work from the writer-director of the film "In Bruges" will be directed here by Druid's award-winning Garry Hynes. It's only playing for about a week and a half, so stall your studying to take in a show.

Berkeley's Aurora Theatre Company will finish its season in June with David Farr and Gisli Orn Gardarsson's adaptation of Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis." Aurora veteran Mark Jackson will direct this version's American professional premiere, and it will be exciting to see how Kafka's disturbing tale translates to the stage.

Also in June, California Shakespeare Theater will be launching its first ever production of the Bard's notoriously gruesome "Titus Andronicus," directed by Joel Sass. Following this promising venture, July sees the premiere of Amanda Dehnert's "The Verona Project," a music-filled riff on Shakespeare's "The Two Gentlemen of Verona."

Across the bay, San Francisco will play host to some exciting theater festivals this summer. First up is EXIT Theatre's DIVAfest 2011, which runs throughout May and highlights the work of women in theater. Starting May 13, the Cutting Ball Theater presents "Risk is This The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival," which will include "five staged readings of new plays that push the boundaries of what theater can be."

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