Garry Essendine thinks the world of himself. And so do all his girlfriends and boyfriends.
Present Laughter is one of Coward’s most personal and wittiest comedies. This semi-autobiographical comedy follows a self-obsessed actor in the midst of a mid-life crisis who freely indulges his considerable appetite for wine, wickedness and sleeping late.
At the center of his own universe sits matinee idol Garry Essendine: suave, hedonistic and too old, says his wife, to be having numerous affairs. His line in harmless, infatuated lovers is largely tolerated but playing closer to home is not.
Just before he escapes on tour to Africa the full extent of his misdemeanors is discovered. And all hell breaks loose.
Noël Coward's Present Laughter premiered in 1942 during WW2 just as such privileged lives were threatened with fundamental social change.
Tickets Available at
The Critics Applaud "Present Laughter"!
A SF Chronicle/SFGATE Pick!
"No more is the ensemble’s talent revealed in full than through the top of the second act, when every actor in the 10-person cast is onstage, laying before Garry the tangled web of his self-absorbed lifestyle. It’s a manic concoction of characters running in and out of doors, revealing open secrets and giving Garry much-deserved grief. We see a man’s horrid choices tumble on top of him and as an audience, we literally get to laugh in his face for it — courtesy of Noël Coward. In short, it’s a scene of delightful, frenetic chaos." Danielle Gutierrez – The Daily Californian
“Fisher and Company spin gold with Coward’s scandalous farce.” Murray,Forallevents.com
“Expertly present with terrific acting.” Rink, SF Bay Times
"Fisher has a field day in the role, mastering not only a high brow accent, but getting very physical in the role, showing no fear as he almost takes scenes over the top, but reeling it in just before he goes from slapstick to caricature. He’s a great vessel for the work of Coward, who actually played the part himself when it was first produced." Kevin Thomas, Progressive Pulse
“I loved the show!” Vince, V Media
“Fisher plays Noël Coward's flair for the dramatic in this superb comedic tour de force. [Fisher] is outstanding as Garry Essendine.” Connema, ‘Talkin’ Broadway
“The broad physical company & campy gay jokes leap up at every turn.” – B. Horwitz, Theatrestorm
“Over-the-top farcical gaiety in a high energy fashion!” V. Cordell, Forallevents.com
Tuesday, July 5, 7 p.m. Swollen Tongues, by Kathleen Oliver. This is a queering of Restoration Comedy (roughly 1660-1710 in England), including being written in rhyming couplets. It explores mistaken identities and "transgressive circulation of desire" as when the lead lesbian character competes with her brother for the love of the same woman. Directed by Nick Gabriel.
Monday, August 1, 7 p.m. The Bat, by Avery Hopwood and Mary Robert Reinhart. This play from the 1920s was one of the most popular of Hopwood's, who was the most successful playwright of his time. He was also gay, though none of that could be explicit in his writing. However, we've engaged a Hopwood scholar to direct, and he feels with just a couple of gender alterations of the character list, it will become pretty gay. The story line is a murder mystery/who-done-it, but this will be an example of reclaiming and queering our own history/culture. Directed by Jack Sharrar.
Tuesday, September 6, 7 p.m. Whale Riding Weather, by Bryden MacDonald. This is a "Pinter-esque" play about three men in an apartment: an older man with a young kept boy; and another young man who wants to get the kept boy out of the apartment. It's suffocating and dysfunctional and kind of delicious. It also represents (we think) a kind of queer drama that was being written in the late eighties and nineties, and is an important part of our history/culture. Directed by Craig Souza.
Monday, October 3, 7 p.m. Oedipus at Palm Springs, by the Five Lesbian Brothers. A queering of an old tale, as the title indicates. Set at a lesbian B&B in Palm Springs, a group of middle-aged friends gather for a holiday. One brings along her much younger girlfriend. One too many secrets is revealed. Directed by Kathryn Wood.
Monday, November 7, 7 p.m. Bahala Na, by Clarence Coo. A young Chinese/Filipino man and his husband are about to adopt a baby, but he can't tear himself away from the side of his ailing and unconscious grandmother. The family disapproves of the young man's gay lifestyle (and his partner), but through the dreams of the grandmother, we see that she, too, has been pushing against gender restrictions her whole life. Directed by Alan Quismorio.
Monday, December 5, 7 p.m. Juanita's Statue, by Anne Garcia-Romero. This is a queering of the kind of farce produced during the Golden Age of Spanish Theatre (roughly 1590-1681). A woman caught in bed with a young man betrothed to a suitable young bride has to put on his clothes to escape the wrath of his father. She spends a day as a man, as the young man's family seeks to catch her. During that day, numerous people (the young bride, a gay couple, her female best friend) fall in love with her/him. Directed by Erin Washington.
Thank you, Donors!
Theatre Rhinoceros is very lucky to have generous patrons that support the production of queer theatre in San Francisco.
The Rhino Wins Two Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (BATCC) Awards for "Shakespeare Goes to War"!!
11 Nominations! Two Wins!
Congratulations to the Winners...
For Set Design:
Jon Wai-keung Lowe for Shakespeare Goes to War
For Sound Design:
John Fisher for Shakespeare Goes to War
Theatre Rhinoceros's 2015-16 Winter Appeal
Support the Longest-Running LGBT Theatre Anywhere!
Your generous donations last year helped us achieve another record year of donor support! It also helped us put the most adventurous, professional and entertaining gay-lesbian productions onstage. Thank you! In these challenging economic times we still need your help.
Please keep the Rhino a long-running hit with a generous donation this year.
We had a very successful year in 2015. It started off with our hit production of The Anarchist, an exclusive West Coast Premiere. Next was our most successful production in a decade, the Alan Turing bio-play Breaking the Code, a production recommended as a “Go See” show by the Bay Area Critics’ Circle. Then we presented our World Premiere outdoor extravaganza Timon! The Musical, a Theatre Rhinoceros production wholly funded by and presented as a part of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. Timon! was another fun-filled hit show and a completely free event, open to all – though we of course gave our subscribers and donors the exclusive treatment. The year continued with a revival of Breaking the Code, playing another successful run of four weeks in August and, finally, we just closed our brand new show Shakespeare Goes to War at Thick House – a show that received glowing reviews and a loving response from its audience. The year isn’t quite finished though - we still have our annual New Year’s Eve Extravaganza to present, this year Morris Bobrow’s hysterical musical Are We Almost There?
In 2015 The Rhino was a hit! Whatever we produce, we continue our dedication to adventurous, diverse, professional theatre on gay and lesbian themes with an emphasis always on entertainment and provocation.
All Theatre Rhinoceros donors receive invitations to special events like our closing night parties and donors of $1,000.00 or more will be recognized as “Honorary Producers” of a show of their choice. All donations are tax deductible and are acknowledged in our programs, unless otherwise requested.
Please contact me directly for further donor benefits.
With warmest holiday wishes,
Please use the donation form page 2 of this letter. You can also donate on-line.
Theatre Rhinoceros is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible