Why are some theatres like salad bars? The answer is simpler than you might expect. If you attend a production whose set is in full view as the audience enters the theatre, all kinds of possibilities come to mind before the performance actually begins. Although the architecture and props on display may look deceptively familiar, one never knows what might happen 30 minutes after going for the bait.
Two productions greeted Bay area audiences with sets that radiated an unusual sense of foreboding. One looked like a messy apartment with some tables, office chairs, and a large beanbag. The other was a decrepit, ominous-looking coastal shack resting on a cluster of eerily-lit wooden pilings.