“A consummate showman…[OBSCURA is] thoroughly intriguing and entertaining… [keeping] folks in the audience on the edge of their seats.” —SF Examiner

“A captivating suspended animation of eerie alchemy and delightful drama.” —Chicago Stage Review

“Cagigal is a great practitioner of his art…see this guy!” —Short and Sweet NYC

OBSCURA is a teeny-tiny magic show, performed LIVE on a big screen by a renowned Bay Area magician and storyteller! Christian Cagigal — named three times by the SF Bay Guardian as the Best Magician in the Bay — weaves fairy tales, dark fables and strange happenings into an intimate and engaging evening fraught with wonder, mystery and imagination. With OBSCURA, Cagigal returns to his roots as an up-close and personal performer, peppering some of his favorite short stories with witty and eccentric demonstrations of close-up card magic and more. The entire show is performed under the watchful eye of a video camera and projected as large as can be, so the audience can’t miss a thing.

Note for parents: This is not a tame magic show for kids; it contains tales of the occult albeit with no profanity or (um, excessively) graphic stories of violence. As always, however, we leave it to parents’ discretion as to what is appropriate for their children. Fair warning: mature preteens and up with a taste for creepy stories and magic will probably beg you to bring them back again before the show closes. Just saying.

Photo by Julie Michelle

9th Annual Full Houses Poker Tournament

UPDATE 6/4/15: Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to postpone the event. We hope to be able to reschedule it for late fall or winter.

The most fun you can have supporting your favorite small theatre company! You can win a $500 Amazon gift card plus tons of other prizes worth $20-100+, and enjoy pizza and desserts all night. Best of all, you can suck at poker and still win big — we’re not kidding! You can win sports tickets, luxury merchandise, adventures, gift cards and certificates galore, and more!

Plus you’ll get free pizza and desserts all night — come enjoy the best arts fundraiser of the year! Last year sold out, so make sure to get your tickets early!

The 20/20 Campaign: Get us to our 20th season with a donation of at least $20

Frankly, it’s a miracle we’ve made it to our 19th season. Most people go to theatre that has a large element of familiarity: a well-known play and/or a well-known playwright and/or a well-known cast member or two. At Impact, we’re on the opposite end of that spectrum: we produce new plays by playwrights most people haven’t heard of (yet), performed and produced by casts and crews who are often artists on the rise, some just starting out. Despite these unfamiliar elements, in our tiny basement space we continue to create amazing live theatre you just can’t see anywhere else in the Bay Area.

We’re creating the kind of theatre that the next generation of theatre patrons wants to see. And we’re creating theatre that’s affordable for everyone. And we’re doing our best to pay our artists as much as we possibly can. But we can’t do that all on our own.

Simply put, we need your help to get us to our 20th season and beyond. That’s why we’ve created the 20/20 campaign. Help us achieve our amazing vision and continue to create the kind of theatre we do by donating at least $20 before the end of 2014. Here’s what your donation can help us afford:

You can make your gift in a single payment or spread out in recurring payments over an interval of your choice (monthly, quarterly, semiannually). As you can see, it doesn’t take much to be considered a major donor in our eyes. Please help us reach our 20/20 vision with a gift of at least $20. Thank you so much for your support!

Donate now!

Need to modify your recurring donation? Click here.

Thank you!

Many, many thanks to the amazing people and organizations listed below. You rock!

Your name here!

Alameda County Arts Commission
City of Berkeley
Paul & Gail Caslavka
Howard Chong

Anonymous, in honor of The Theater, The Bard, and my nephew Scott the Troubador
Paul Ethier
Carol LaPlant & Phil Brown

Anonymous (6)
Anonymous, in memory of Barbara Oliver
Anonymous, in honor of David and Cari Trease
Anonymous, in honor of Diana & Alan Goy
Anonymous, in honor of Stacz Sadowski
3Girls Theatre Company
Benj Azose & MacKenzie Stuart
Chas Belov
Roy Bergstrom
Tim Bishop
Martha Brown
Noah James Butler
Erin Carrino
Pete Caslavka
Monica Cappuccini
Katherine Copic
DioAmore Dance & Fitness
Chris Dutra
Team Dyson
John Ferreira
Maggie Ferrill
Tony Franklin
Prince Gomolvilas
Alan Goy
Woody Griffin
Don & Charlene Hillman
Sam & Melissa Marie Hillman
Kahn & Lyon family
Laurie Kahn
Katie Kiehn
Lynn Eve Komaromi
Julie Kuwabara & Chuck Lacson
George Silva Lester
Mary Ann Mackey
Dave Maier
Kevin Mann
Sheila McCormick & Paul Herzmark
Kim Mondelli & Miguel Gonzalez Baidez
Henri Picciotto & Irva Hertz-Picciotto
Andrea Plesnarski & Tom Nugent
Kathy Reynolds
Ellen Robey
Boyard Rowe
J. Elizabeth Smith
Sharon & David Strachan
Dave Weinstein & Mary Barkey

Anonymous (13)
Anonymous, in honor of Bitter Gertrude
Anonymous, in honor of Cheshire Isaacs (2)
Anonymous, in honor of Cthulhu
Anonymous, in honor of Jon Tracy
Anonymous, in honor of Melissa Hillman
Anonymous, in memory of Frank and Sherry Snyder
Anonymous, in memory of Janet Johnston, actor extraordinaire
Paul Anderson
Alyssa Bostwick & Wayne Rawley
Boxcar Theatre
Kevin Brown & Leann Christianson
Kathy Chao
Christopher Chen
Josh & Sadie Costello
Tiffany Cothran
Matthew Gunnison
Nina Haft
Anne Hallinan
Marija and David Hillis
His Holiness, Pope Edward of Juicytown
Dave Holstein
Jack Judkins
Kathleen Kahn
Sabrina Klein & Tom Clement
Pidge Meade
Nina Meehan
Nora Merecicky
Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
Kaya Oakes
Evren Odcikin
Claire Rice
Kathy & Hal Rucker
Amy & Miranda Seham
Zoe & Rzo Velasco
Gretchen vonDuering
Tracy Ward
Amy Wratchford
Dennis Yen

Anonymous (22)
Anonymous, in honor of Doric Wilson
Anonymous, in honor of “Go, Melissa!”
Thomas Ayres
Sarah Bordson
Rachel Bublitz
Donna Davis
Peter Easterbrook
Linda Eisenstein
Michaela Goldhaber
Nick Hayman
Bob Hill
Inbal Kashtan & Kathy Simon
Dana Lewenthal
Randy McMullen
Jerry Metzker
Patricia L. Morin
Meg O’Connor
Danielle Perata
Jennifer Roberts
Jonathan Spector
Nuno Subtil
Ryan Tasker
JoAnne Winter
Adam & Traci Wyss

For press

Press Release: Magic is Ready for Its Close-up at Impact Theatre (June 16, 2015)

Press photos (photos by Julie Michelle):


Renowned Bay Area magician and storyteller Christian Cagigal brings his hit show OBSCURA, featuring amazing close-up magic and incredible tales of the occult, to Impact Theatre for a special limited summer run.


Renowned Bay Area magician and storyteller Christian Cagigal brings his hit show OBSCURA, featuring amazing close-up magic and incredible tales of the occult, to Impact Theatre for a special limited summer run.

About Impact Theatre

Melissa Hillman, Artistic Director
Cheshire Isaacs, Managing Director
Read Tuddenham, Production Manager
Jon Nagel, Technical Director
Christina Novakov-Ritchey, Literary Manager
Alice Ly, Associate Managing Director
Luisa Frasconi, Patron Services Manager

Artistic Associates: Miyaka Cochrane, Sarah Coykendall, Mike Delaney, Sarah Isaacs, Anne Kendall, Marissa Keltie, Tunuviel Luv, Maria Giere Marquis, Marilet Martinez, Cassie Rosenbrock, Lizabeth Stanley, Jacqueline Steager, Diana Strachan, Colin Trevor, Reggie White, Jordan Winer

Since 1996 Impact Theatre has spoken to a new generation of theatregoers and longtime enthusiasts alike who want to see something fresh and fearless on stage. Our audience ranges from students to professionals to seniors, all of whom share a taste for exciting, unpretentious theatre that doesn’t conform to traditional assumptions of what constitutes high culture. Impact ensures the continued strength of American theatre by

  • featuring new plays by emerging playwrights
  • producing vital, contemporary spins on classic drama
  • engaging new audiences
  • fostering the development of Bay Area theatremakers

Impact shows compel, provoke, and inspire, at prices everyone can afford. We’re looking forward to having you at our next show!

Impact Theatre performs at La Val’s Subterranean, located at 1834 Euclid Avenue in Berkeley. Street parking is usually plentiful right near the theatre.

For more information

Questions? Comments? Please contact us at info at impacttheatre dot com or call us at 510 224-5744.

Want to see your play on our stage?

As our mission is to produce kickass new plays by upcoming playwrights, we generally select only unpublished full-length plays that are either world or regional premieres or have had very few prior productions. Here’s how to have your best shot at getting your play produced at Impact:

1. Your submission should be a single PDF document with the title being “[writer’s last name]_[playtitle].” So if your name is Jane Q. Badass and your play is titled Make Mine a Double, your PDF should have a filename like badass_makemineadouble.pdf. If your play title is long, feel free to title your PDF with a shortened play title.

2. This ought to go without saying, but your script should include a list of characters at the beginning, along with any notes about doubling or tripling. We need to know from the start what the cast size and requirements are.

3. Your email to us should include your play’s production and/or development history.

That’s it! Please email your masterpiece or any questions about the process to Literary Manager Christina Novakov-Ritchey (christina [at] impacttheatre [dot] com). Christina will email you a confirmation upon receipt. Due to the high volume of submissions, we are unable to provide feedback for each entry. If we are interested in your script, we will contact you within three months. Thank you for your interest in working with us!