Parks finds poetry, drama in epic Father

May 02

Parks finds poetry, drama in epic <i>Father</i>

There's some epic myth-making happening on the stage of American Conservatory Theater's Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3). Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks – one of those great American playwrights whose mere name should always inspire you to check out her work – nods in the direction of other great epics, most notably The Odyssey, but also, as she has said, The Oresteia and The Mahabharata as she tells the story of a slave who reluctantly follows his master into the Civil War.

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Wilson’s Fences hits hard at Marin Theatre Co.

Apr 16

Wilson’s <i>Fences</i> hits hard at Marin Theatre Co.

I've always been moved by August Wilson's Fences, the 1950s installment of his extraordinary Century Cycle of plays depicting African-American life in the 20th century. But the current production of the play at Marin Theatre Company under the direction of Derrick Sanders made me feel the play in a whole new way.

This has largely to do with Carly Lumbly's wrenching central performance as Troy Maxson.

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Undine undone or finding fabulous in Fabulation

Mar 20

Undine undone or finding fabulous in <i>Fabulation</i>

Though unplanned, we have something of a Lynn Nottage festival happening in the Bay Area right now.

Berkeley Rep is showing Nottage's most serious side with her Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Ruined, a tale of hope amid brutality, and the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre showcases a more lighthearted (though not exactly comic) side of Nottage with Fabulation, the story of a modern woman's relationship to her roots.

The really good news here is the story of the Lorraine Hansberry itself. After losing both of its founders last year – the subsequent deaths of Stanley Williams and Quentin Easter is still difficult to fathom – the Hansberry could have foundered and disappeared. That would have meant a huge loss to Bay Area theater. How would you compensate for the loss of one of the nation's most prominent African-American theater companies as it's just about to celebrate its 30th anniversary? You couldn't. And thankfully, we don't have to.

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Review: `Blood Knot’

Feb 14

Opened Feb. 13, 2008 at American Conservatory Theater Powerful performances tighten ACT’s Knot Three stars (Powerful, scary) Athol Fugard’s Blood Knot comes from a terrifying place, and I don’t mean the apartheid-dominated world of South African in the early 1960s, when the play was written. The horror of Blood Knot is deeply human. It comes from that...

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