A little while back, over in The Standing Room, the recently revealed M. C- (Hi, Sid!) asked who could have guessed that the triumph of the SF Opera season would be Iphigenie en Tauride, in a minimalist and modern production. I’ll blushingly admit it – I knew. I even bought an expensive ticket for a second viewing before I’d had the first. More about Iphigenie anon, but I had to record my triumph of insight only because I’m so often wrong about what will turn out to be a season highlight. (To take just one example, several years ago I urged a Strauss-loving – though maybe it's really more Strauss-liking – friend of mine to accompany me to Arabella, only to realize with horror when I actually saw it that it’s the only opera by him that I can't stand, a kitschy yet dull ode to social climbing. The plot would have made for a great fin-de-siecle Viennese novel, one filled with acrimonious satire and grotesque intimations of sexual perversity; as an opera, well, it’s a long and absurdly superficial meander to that glass of water. That’s what I get for listening to operas on CD and being lazy about reading the librettos. Just as well she didn’t accompany me.) Live performance is chancy by nature. Certain performers or works pique the viewer’s interest, and it’s going to vary from viewer to viewer, and I don’t envy artistic directors (Hi again, Sid!) having to figure out what will make for memorable evenings (or memorable box office). I mean, I think I would come up with a riveting season of theater, and for about a dozen audience members and another dozen performers it would be a highlight of their lives, and then we’d be out of business before the season ends because you need thousands and not dozens. I was pondering this recently when I saw that Berkeley Rep had replaced an upcoming production I was interested in – Rita Moreno in a solo show about Florence Foster Jenkins – with one I have no interest in seeing, Carrie Fisher in a solo show about herself. (Berkeley Rep giveth and Berkeley Rep taketh away: the same article in which I read about that switch said that Theatre de la Jeune Lune, which did a brilliant and inspired version of Moliere’s Miser a few years ago, would be back this spring with their version of Beaumarchais’s Figaro plays.) If you had asked me why I wasn’t interested in the Fisher show, I’d have said I’m tired of theaters skimping by doing one-person shows and I’m tired of the cult of celebrity taking the place of real theater, but if you get right down to it, both shows are about the cult of celebrity and both are solo turns; I just find Florence Foster Jenkins more interesting and moving than Carrie Fisher. I saw the first Star Wars film when it was new, and frankly it bored me, and I figure if Star Wars doesn’t appeal to you when you’re a seventeen-year-old boy there’s little point in pursuing it later in life. (Actually, maybe thirteen is the right age for Star Wars.) I’m sure the cult members will sell out the house, though, and I wish a pleasant evening to all of them. In my public-minded and benevolent way, I’m offering a Carrie Fisher drinking game: do a shot every time Fisher mentions (1) how Hollywood has no good roles for women over 35 or (2) some fanboy confessing to her his Princess Leia sex fantasies. I was going to come up with some more, but why bother? with those two you’ll be smashed in half an hour. The theater should sell the shots and make enough to mount some real plays.