An uncanny good time 

Resourcefulness is all the rage now, even in theater. Sweet Can Productions’ newest intimate theatrical circus “Candid,” opening this week in San Francisco, is all about transforming everyday objects like tablecloths, chairs and benches into magical experiences.

In the popular show “Stomp,” of course, dancers used trashcans and brooms onstage, but “Candid” pushes the concept further, with performers converting simple objects into trapezes, aerial silks and acrobatic props.

Director Joanna Haigood says, “A main focus of ‘Candid’ is looking at ways to stretch beyond what we think is our normal or furthest capacity, to re-imagine how we live in the world.”

“Candid,” which Haigood describes as a “wonderful mix between the ordinary, the magical and the spectacular,” runs at Dance Mission Theater Friday through Jan. 9.

Haigood, who created San Francisco’s Zaccho Dance Theatre 30 years ago, calls “Candid,” a concert production in a theater, a nice departure from the site-specific choreography for which she’s best known. Typically, she makes dances for unusual places like the Ferry Building and the San Francisco Airport, where two years ago she created a contemporary piece on the African Diaspora titled “Departure and Arrival.”

Even though Haigood is accustomed to working in larger spaces than the 120-seat Dance Mission Theater, Beth Clarke, co-founder of Sweet Can Productions, says the venue makes the show much more intimate than big-top circuses such as Ringling Bros. or Cirque Du Soleil.

“If you think of circus as a giant spectacle, this is intimate in the sense of us just being people who happen to be able to do circus and want to share that humanity with the audience,” says Clarke, a former performer who helped establish Sweet Can in 2006 to fill the void of circus troupes in San Francisco. “You get to see all the sweat that’s accumulating on the performers and every nuance of emotion they’re conveying.”

The 60-minute production showcases some of the Bay Area’s best theatrical circus artists, including Jamie Coventry, Natasha Kaluza, Nobutaka Mochimaru, Matt White and Sweet Can co-founder Kerri Kresinski.

As it combines traditional circus with physical theater and dance — set to tunes by local contemporary musician Eric “EO” Oberthaler — the show has something for everybody.

In the spirit of the holidays, Sweet Can Productions invites guests to sponsor children and purchase a $15 ticket for youngsters who cannot afford to see the show. Those interested in contributing may look online for more information.

In addition, Sweet Can is presenting a special holiday circus cabaret, “Mittens and Mistletoe” for two performances during the run of “Candid.” The variety show for all ages features new material from the award-winning clown duet Coventry & Kaluza.


Presented by Sweet Can Productions

Where: Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., San Francisco
When: 7 and 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Jan. 7-8; 4 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 26, Jan. 2 and Jan. 9; 2 p.m. Dec. 28-29 and Dec. 31; 4 and 7 p.m. Dec. 30 and Jan. 1; 8 p.m. Jan. 6; closes Jan. 9
Tickets: $15 to $60
Contact: (415) 273-4633,
Note: “Mittens and Mistletoe” performances are at 2 and 4 p.m. Dec. 24-25.

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Sarah Haughey

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