SF Bay Guardian Review

*Savage Arts Marsh, 1062 Valencia, upstairs studio; 826-5750, 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $15-35, sliding scale. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 16. Love. Lust. Murder. Art. Lies. Xenophobia. An apron and a chair. These are the themes and sole props in Sharon Eberhardt’s original play, in which an out-of-love housewife and her dying husband become entangled in the brutal intrigue surrounding the unsolved murder of a new neighbor. Brilliantly written and earnestly acted, Savage Arts brings to life a true-crime drama with real newspaper quotes, stories, and characters based on key players in the infamous 1930 trial of Lila Jimerson, or “Red Lila,” the woman accused of murdering the wife of a French artist in Buffalo, NY. The story is told from the point of view of Margaret, an emotionally volatile witness, who goes from loyal, doting wife to fierce, revitalized adulteress to insecure, self-deprecating room pacer in a matter of 80 minutes. It is quite a sight to behold. An earlier form of this one-woman tour de force was initially developed and staged at the Marsh’s Festival of New Voices, and now Eberhardt is back where it all started. Directed by artist in residence David Ford at the intimate Upstairs Studio Theater, this production is not for audiences who are afraid of direct eye contact or strange women unbuttoning their blouses in public. The audience sees everything, including a whole handful of characters, through Margaret’s eyes, and she is not as puritanical as she first seems. (Amy Glasenapp)