High art, grim lives shaded in ambitious Tree City

Feb 21

High art, grim lives shaded in ambitious <i>Tree City</i>

Tree City Legends leaves you moved and somewhat perplexed. My experience with Dennis Kim's play as directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph was equal parts fascination and confusion.

There are so many creative partners on this project, it's no wonder the thing feels not only like an art installation but also like an entire museum unto itself. You have art, video, performance and music. You certainly can't fault the creative team for lack of imagination or multimedia ability. But you can fault the creative team...

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Fathers and sons, heists and homelands in Habibi

Oct 19

Fathers and sons, heists and homelands in <i>Habibi</i>

Love, tension and desperation are deeply felt in Habibi, the world-premiere production of Sharif Abu-Hamdeh’s drama about always feeling away from home. This is yet another co-production from Campo Santo and Intersection for the Arts that lights an oil lamp from within a dark subject. On one level, the central relationship between a father and a son is completely recognizable by anyone from anywhere. Tariq (Aleph Ayin) should be in college, but he can’t really be bothered. He gets fired from crappy jobs and spends a whole lot of his time doing nothing in the tiny Mission District apartment he shares with his dad, Mohammed (Paul Santiago), a museum security guard. They’re scraping by, and in their cramped quarters, they fight a lot. Tariq sounds like a spoiled, contemptuous brat when he’s talking to his dad – every sentence practically drips with a sneer and an eye roll. Mohammed is rigid in his own way, loving his son fiercely but holding too tight, lecturing too much.

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Intersection breaks walls, audience follows

Mar 03

Intersection breaks walls, audience follows

Watching the audience on stage at Intersection for the Arts was a stunning experience. Sometimes theater companies trying to push boundaries and break down walls really do get it right.

The show in this case is Oakland playwright Chinaka Hodge'sMirrors in Every Corner, and the companies involved in bringing it to life are many: Intersection, Campo Santo and The Living Word Project'sYouth Speaks theater company. They say it can take a village. In this case, it takes a community.

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It’s alive! Death and theater

Oct 26

Two extraordinary shows are lighting up Bay Area stages, and in each of them, the specter of death hovers in the shadows. In Trevor Allen’s intelligent, compassionate adaptation of Frankenstein at the Thick House, Victor Frankenstein defies death by creating life from dead parts and cowering from the unexpected results. Over at Intersection for the Arts,...

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Theater review: `Fukú Americanus’

May 22

EXTENDED AGAIN THROUGH JULY 12! Maria Candelaria (left) is Belicia, Biko Eisen-Martin (center) is Fukú and Vanessa Cota is Lola in the Campo Santo/Intersection for the Arts production of Fukú Americanus, a theatrical adaptation of Junot Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Photos by James Faerron Diaz novel finds vibrant...

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Diaz novel `Oscar Wao’ hits stage as `Fuku Americanus’

May 12

I wrote a story for the San Francisco Chronicle about Junot Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao becoming the Campo Santo/Intersection for the Arts play Fuku Americanus. Read the story...

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