“Experience the Best of !”
After an extended period of indefinite confinement as a result of the ongoing disease, there has been the returning of live theatre across the Bay Area since . However, the return was not enough to match the levels of attendance and production prior to COVID. The past year was full changes and turmoil, such as the departures of Susie Medak (long-serving Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s managing director) and AlterTheater’s Jeanette Harron and the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Rebecca Ennals and Marin Theatre Company’s Jasson Miadakis. It’s evident that there is progress despite the significant changes.
This year, in the time of being in San Francisco’s EXIT Theatre and San Jose’s Dragon Productions Theatre Company both closed as well as Cal Shakes announcing that it will not be hosting any shows in the coming year, the legendary Uers Playhouse reopened after a period of six years of rebuilding. There were still many exceptional productions on stage in the area this year, despite the tragic information. I had the privilege to have been a part of the most memorable events. It is my intention to highlight “Indecent” at San Francisco Playhouse. Paula Vogel’s inventive work centers on Sholem Asch’s Yiddish production.
The gripping one-person play by Playwright Lucas Hnath, entitled “Dana H.”, presented by Berkeley Repertory Theatre, epitomizes the controversy over its inception and included the entire actors being taken into custody for obscenity. The play contrasts starkly with the rising rate of antisemitism in Europe in the period. The play’s direction by Susi Damilano, was powerful and haunting with a stellar cast that effortlessly switched the roles of a stage play within the play. Jordan Baker gives a riveting performance in which she is embodies her voice and words Hnath’s mother, a playwright, during her long and arduous abduction.
The masterful direction of Les Waters and the authentic tale produced a deeply moving and thrilling evening at “Hadestown,” an exclusive post-Broadway production. This unique show captivated the audience with its captivating mix of jazz, blues and folk. Also included was an emotional, captivating rendition of Eurydice and Orpheusand his descent to Hades. Kimberly Marable’s captivating performance as Persephone the exuberant ruler in Hades is worthy of praise.
This production by the Aurora Theatre Company of Jonathan Spector’s “This Much I Know” is a masterful production. Jackson Gay, the director, is in charge. It tells the story about a family struggling the emotional challenges of integrating the public pool system in Kansas City. It is a story that spans many years and styles of the day beautifully narrated by eloquence as well as humour and thrilling performance. This piece of art provides compelling perspective on this important issue.
It was the first time that Berkeley Repertory Theatre premiered “Goddess” in a world premiere production of the show. Rajesh Bose, Anna Ishida and Kenny Toll played their roles as semi-reformed white supremacists. Jocelyn Bioh wrote the musical and Michael Thurber composed the songs. The musical had the role of an African goddess of the music, featuring powerful beats and electrifying choreography from Darrell Grand Moultrie, as amazing vocals from Amber Iman, who played the god of the title.
The Aurora Theatre Company’s adaptation of Jonathan Spector’s “This Much I Know” is an exceptional performance, performed by director Jackson Gay, that artfully portrays the story of a family’s struggles to establish public swimming pools in a Kansas city. This story spans decades and was presented by way of humor and captivating performance. It is a compelling piece that provides a fresh perspective regarding this issue.