Ze Ren, Heng San, and a plug for Jesus

So far, the solo performances this years SF Fringe Festival haven't been the stand-outs, though I did hear strong things last night from someone whose opinion I value about Eileen Tull's Jesus Do You Like Me?, so I'm going to try to make the last performance this coming Saturday afternoon and suggest you do the same. My source also had really positive things to say about The Wounded Stag.

Xiao Juan Shu's Ze Ren was another not-quite-ready-for-a-paying audience delivery of personal experiences, though she has an interesting story, and an engaging, warm personality. But (and I know this is becoming a theme here), without some sort of narrative moving toward a climax or satisfying resolution, or performed with a level of insight that makes one leave the theater questioning something about their own life or what have you, 45 minutes of someone talking about themselves, even when the story is told in a linear fashion, can make for a long time. Unless you're really funny, of course.

Ze Ren had an unannounced opening performance, which confused me after Sarah Lau took the stage to perform her 10-minute monologue Heng San- a keenly observed meditation about her family's reactions at her grandfather's funeral. Just as she hooked me with her keen ability to capture nuance and details, the show was over, and having little idea I was watching something other than Ze Ren, I thought really?  That's it? But it wasn't. Lau, who won "Best of Fringe" last year with her one-woman show The Secret Adventures of Fat Woman and Remedial Girl, is a performer whose work I'd be interested in seeing more of.

Ze Ren and Heng San can be seen on September 15th at 9:00 PM.

The Secret Adventures of Fat Woman and Remedial Girl will be performed at 7:00 PM on Sunday, Nov. 25th at Stage Werx on Valencia.