Well it may not be set in the White House, but this little slice of the 1966 Mike Nichol’s film adaptation of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” certainly does justice to the original Bette Davis delivery of the now iconic phrase: “What a dump”. What does any of this have to do with Donald Trump? As little as possible. I just couldn’t resist an opportunity to resurrect this masterful classic that is one of only two films to be nominated in every eligible category at the Academy Awards. (h/t AGD) [Read more…]
A state rich in Latino and Anglo cultures, California has always been a perfect stomping ground for Herbert Siguenza, the current Playwright in Residence at the San Diego Repertory Theater.
Siguenza has a gift of melding both cultures together and reaching a diverse audience. This is seen in his plays, “A Weekend with Pablo Picasso,” “El Henry,” “Manifest Destinitis,” and “Steal Heaven.” But Siguenza is more than just a playwright; he’s a performer and painter as well. [Read more…]
When historical women gather on stage—like Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls—their creativity, wittiness, and diversity transform into dynamic energy. The Moxie Theatre production of Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists, directed by Jennifer Eve Thorn, exemplifies that transformation.
Set in Paris in 1793 at the beginning of the Reign of Terror (1793-1794), The Revolutionists portrays four women who played different roles in the French Revolution. The central figure is writer Olympe de Gouges, who championed equal rights for women in the French Republic and wrote plays and pamphlets as well as giving speeches including the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen. [Read more…]
In collaboration with Ping Chong and Talvin Wilks, the Department of Theatre and Dance at Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, North Carolina, staged Collidescope 3.0: Adventures in Pre-and Post-Racial America in February 2017 at the Tedford Stage. Written by Chong and Wilks and directed by Chong, Collidescope 3.0 uses movement, video projections, and a collaged and collided soundscape to explore black and white relations in American history. Set in a space ship, Collidescope 3.0’s characters are aliens who take an anthropological look at the human race in the United State from 1775 to the present.
In the prologue, a group of the aliens are examining the murder scene of Trayvon Martin. In contrast to this prologue, the epilogue presents a ritual of commemoration for all African Americans who have fallen victim to racially motivated violence.
Arena Stage is presenting the Washington DC premiere of Lydia R. Diamond’s Smart People at its Kreeger Theater. Directed by Seema Sueko, the show is filled with ricocheting words on race and gender stereotypes and their effects on different aspects of society in the United States. Set in the period from September 2007 to January 20, 2009, four “smart people” in Cambridge, Massachusetts unpack race and gender related issues in their professional and personal lives, politics, and economy in the times of optimism and hope.
The four characters are, in one way or the other, affiliated with Harvard University, an elite institution peopled by “smart people.” They are: Valerie Johnston, an aspiring and struggling African American actor (with an MFA degree in theatre); Brian White, a white professor of cognitive neuroscience; Ginny Yang, an Asian American (Chinese-Japanese American) professor of psychology, specializing in anxiety and depression among Asian American women, and counsellor; and Jackson Moore, an African American emergency room doctor who is in the process of getting a residency. During the course of the play, these characters encounter, begin relationships, and in some cases, experience their fallouts. [Read more…]
By Lydia P. Wood and James K. Anderson
Author and prison abolitionist Ruth Wilson Gilmore coined the term “Golden Gulag” in her 2007 book by the same name to label and critique what, despite destroying lives, has become a disturbingly normal way of life in the “Golden State” of California.
“I called my book ‘Golden Gulag,’” Gilmore says in the documentary film, “Visions of Abolition: From Critical Resistance to a New Way of Life,” “in order to resonate with the images of totalitarian state incarceration … to emphasize that the ‘gulag’ is not simply a building with cages in it, but it is an entire way of life, an entire way of political and social and economic life. It extends from the places where prisoners come from to the places where prisons are built. [Read more…]
I really wanted to love “Into the Beautiful North,” a new play at the SD Repertory Theater, especially because of its pedigree. It is based on the book by Luis Alberto Urea — it was the KPBS One Book San Diego for 2012 and one of Amazon’s Best Books 2015 — and was adapted by noted playwright, Karen Zacarias. It is directed by Sam Woodhouse and has a stellar cast, including one of my favorite performers, Herbert Siguenza. However, as I was watching the play, I felt like it had great potential, but hadn’t quite gotten there yet.
The play starts out in a small coastal village in the northern state of Sinaloa, Mexico, that is being threatened by “narcotraficantes.” All the men of the village have left for the United States to find work and send money back home. [Read more…]
By Morgan Proctor
In just 23 minutes, it emerges that the range of issues confronted in Dead Mall Walking clearly and remarkably belong there, and the story of the mall is an intricate and absorbing one of profit-driven planning, the abandonment of communities, and the quelling of radicalized space. Dead Mall Walking is a revelation of the complexity of the ordinary in the late capitalist landscape, where so much in decay is a surprisingly complete metaphor for the failure of consumption-based culture. [Read more…]
The Detroit Repertory Theatre’s world premiere of Firepower, written by Kermit Frazier and directed by Lynch Travis, explores the challenge of trust, honesty, respect, and love through the reunion of two generations of African American men.
Using the familiar structure of a family reunion and reconciliation, Firepower is packed with a number of issues and subjects from the history of the civil rights movement, racism and exploitation in American sports, search for and expression of identity, and the need for change toward further inclusion and diversity. [Read more…]
Exploring Self-Identity through Conversations with Ancestors
By Yuko Kurahashi
The MOXIE Theatre production of Blue Door by Tanya Barfield, directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, portrays a middle-aged African-American mathematics professor Lewis’s search for his identity and history by bearing witness to the paths of his great-grandfather, grandfather, and father.
Set in the bedroom of his apartment in 1995, Lewis opens the play with a monolog about his wife of 25 years (she never appears on stage) who has just left him, asking for a divorce. According to Lewis, his wife, who is white, is divorcing him because he would not participate in the Million Man March. This historical march held on October 16, 1995, was led by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan who called for black men to gather in Washington, D.C. to reflect and change their roles both in the private and public spheres. Lewis explains his unwillingness to participate in this historical event disappointed his wife. [Read more…]
By Yuko Kurahashi
Coronado Playhouse is staging Altar Boyz, directed and choreographed by Michael Mizerany, as the first show of its 71st Season. In the intimate 120-seat theatre space adjacent to the Coronado Community Center, audiences are seated at tables to enjoy beverages and snacks before and during the show.
Set in Coronado at the present time, the Christian band members from a small town in Ohio are performing the last night of their national “Raise the Praise Tour.” The Boys—Mathew (Cody Ingram), Mark (SeeJay Lewis), Luke (Peter Armado), Juan (Patrick Mayuyu), and Abraham (Dennis Peters)—parody such contemporary issues as religious and racial tolerance and identity. Using music and dance from rap, hip-hop, funk, jazz, to modern, the Boys make fun of established religion, including the Catholic Church’s rules and customs in “Church Rules.” The show also criticizes, with humor, the impracticality of sexual abstinence for boys. [Read more…]
By Yuko Kurahashi
The world-premiere of Hershey Felder’s Our Great Tchaikovsky (directed by Trevor Hay and dramaturged by Meghan Maiya) at the San Diego Repertory Theatre’s Lyceum Stage portrays Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s life (1840-1893) and music.
During the show’s run (January 12-February 12), the Repertory Theatre is also exhibiting the work of Boris Malkin (1908-1973) in its newly renovated gallery. A Belarusian (formerly Soviet Union) artist, Malkin created hundreds of works ranging from oil paintings, watercolors, drawings to wood sculpture and scenic design. The exhibition serves as a wonderful preshow. [Read more…]