Sam's Editor's Picks: March/April 2014
Thursday, March 13, 2014
By Sam Hurwitt
AlterTheater started its 10th season of plays in San Rafael storefronts in January with the premiere of a new work developed within the company's new playwright residency program, AlterLab: Marisela Treviño Orta's The River Bride. (Another new play from that pool was originally scheduled for earlier in the season but was postponed.) Now Alter follows it up with another world premiere from the Lab. Written and performed by Mugwumpin cofounder Denmo Ibrahim and inspired in part by interviews with immigrant families both like and unlike her own, Baba is the humorous and bittersweet tale of a young Egyptian American woman trying to understand the difficulty her father had in assimilating and striving for the American dream. Visit altertheater.org.
Sam's Other Picks
Every Five Minutes
Mar. 26–Apr. 20
It's been thrilling to get to know the work of Scottish playwright Linda McLean over the last couple of years. The Magic's 2012 production of Any Given Day, directed by Jon Tracy, was a stunning, brutal and achingly resonant piece of theatre, and Tracy's Shotgun Players staging of strangers, babies last year proved a haunting exercise in piecing together elliptical clues in an absence of exposition. Now McLean comes back to the Magic with the world premiere of Every Five Minutes, a play about a homecoming dinner for a man who's just been released from a very long captivity. Can his friends and family rouse him out of the dark fantasies he keeps slipping into? Artistic director Loretta Greco helms this one. Visit magictheatre.org.
African-American Shakespeare Company
Euripides's tragedy from the fifth century BC was the first full-length play that Dawn Monique Williams ever directed, and she returns to the bloody tale of betrayal, revenge and motherhood more than a decade later with a deepened appreciation of the play's thorny emotional terrain. "I imagine we all agree that we could not do what Medea does, but I suspect we have all felt what Medea feels," Williams writes in her director's note on the African-American Shakespeare Company website. "That's what keeps this play heartbreakingly alive." Leontyne Mbele-Mbong stars as the fury of a woman scorned. Visit african-americanshakes.org.
San Jose Repertory Theatre
Mar. 27–Apr. 19
Berkeley Repertory Theatre artistic director Tony Taccone made his playwriting debut in 2011 with a one-two punch of biographical plays about other people, developed in conversation with their subjects: Ghost Light, about Cal Shakes artistic director Jonathan Moscone's memories of his father, and Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup. Both of those played Berkeley Rep—in Ghost Light's case, after premiering at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival—but Taccone's latest effort as a playwright is set to debut at San Jose Rep instead. Curiouser still, it's cowritten with Dan Hoyle, son of frequent Berkeley Rep star Geoff Hoyle, in a great departure from Hoyle the Younger's usual terrain as a solo performer (including the Glickman Award–winning Tings Dey Happen). Directed by San Jose Rep AD Rick Lombardo, Game On is about two avid environmentalists and sports fanatics whose activism may be derailed by their zeal for fantasy baseball. Visit sjrep.com.
Sam Hurwitt is editor-in-chief for Theatre Bay Area. He is also the author of The Idiolect, a blog about theatre, movies, comics, media and the decline and fall of Western civilization.