The Marsh offers a Theater Alternative to March Madness

It IS March and the NCAA playoffs known as March Madness are almost here… but here’s a theater alternative-- Marsh Madness-- from the folks at San Francisco’s Marsh Theater, home to some of the Bay Area’s best solo performance. A-LAN SPEAKS: It’s basically theater’s equivalent of the basketball playoffs-- 28 Theater teams competing for cash prizes… and a chance for a production at the Marsh, here’s Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman with more. #5 ACT. Marsh Madness/Weisman Tr 218 9:35 You come and you can spend all day looking at all these things one after another, and seeing the entire world in front of you. Now do you get that in basketball. No. You get that in performance basketball.” A-LAN SPEAKS: It’s a great chance to see new theater from across the bay area before they hit the mainstages. CYRUS INTERJECTS: And maybe some screaming failures as well. A-LAN And The Marsh always brings in some eclectic taste: so you’ll see a bit of political theater, improv, gender bending, comedy, drama, monologues, music..the lineup gives a little bit of something for everyone, mixed in with just the right amount of competitive edge. (Courtesy of Pearl Marill)

The NCAA playoffs -- also known as March Madness -- are almost here, and now there’s a theater alternative called Marsh Madness. It comes from the folks at San Francisco’s The Marsh, home to some of the Bay Area’s best solo performance. The Marsh has invited 28 theater teams, some solo, some with large casts, to compete for cash prizes and a chance for a full production on The Marsh's main stage.

Sia Amma is a contestant in 'Marsh Madness' with her play 'Uncle Sam's Children in Africa'
Sia Amma is a contestant in 'Marsh Madness' with her play 'Uncle Sam's Children in Africa' (Coutesy of Sia Amma and The Marsh)

Founding Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman says she knows nothing about basketball; a board member suggested the idea. But Marsh Madness is definitely better than the NCAA playoffs.

"You come," she said, "and you can spend all day looking  at all these [plays], one after another, and seeing the entire world in front of you. Now do you get that in basketball? No. You get that in performance basketball.”

As my co-host A-lan Holt notes, it’s a great chance to see new performers and ideas on stage, perhaps something that will become a smash hit or a screaming failure. Audiences get to vote on their favorite shows, and there's a playoff round on Sunday in which Marsh judges like Weisman will pick the winner from the top rated four performances. 

Marsh Madness runs March 9-11. Details here.

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