Robin Williams is interviewed in a scene from the documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco.
Docuemntary film director/producer Austin Forbord (below right) has created a fascinating documentary about the history of San Francisco theater from the post-World War II days up to the present. The movie has its premeire at the Mill Valley Film Festival this week and will likely see wider release soon after.
I interviewed Forbord for a story in the San Francisco Chronicle. You can read the story here.
The extraordinary cast of interviewees includes: Robert Woodruff, Chris Hardman, Christina Augello, Robin Williams, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Tony Taccone, David Weissman, Misha Berson, Cynthia Moore, Luis Valdez, Peter Coyote, Herbert Blau, Robert Hurwitt, Jean Schiffman, Anna Halprin, Mort Subotnick, RG Davis, Joan Holden, Oskar Eustis, Richard E.T. White. Larry Eilenberg, Bill Irwin, Jeffery Raz, Kimi Okada, Geoff Hoyle, Joy Carlin, Carey Perloff, Bill Ball, Ed Hastings, Bernard Weiner, Charles “Jimmy” Dean, Robert Ernst, Paul Dresher, John O’Keefe, Leonard Pitt, Scrumbly Koldewyn, Pam Tent, John Fisher, Melissa Hillman, Brad Erickson, Philip Gotanda, John LeFan, Dan Hoyle, Stanley Williams and Krissy Keefer.
Here are a couple of excerpts:
You can keep up to date on the movie’s trajectory at the oficial website (click here).
I read your article in the Pink Pages over the weekend, and just wanted to say thanks for giving “Stage Left” some promotion!
I worked on background research for the film, and when I saw the rough cut a while ago, I was a little disappointed that the sense of collaboration within the SF theater community was not given more prominence in the film. While I realize that the topic is vast, it would have been nice to show how, at one time, there was a keen sense of cooperation among the theater community (I’m thinking specifically of the post-fire benefit for the Eureka Theater Company held at Berkeley Rep). Due partly to economics, this cooperation continues to surface in productions like the trilogy of “Brother/Sister Plays” produced by ACT, MTC and the Magic.
The ideas of cooperation and collaboration are essential to theater.
Similarly, no one makes a film single-handedly, and while your article pointed out the difference between “Artists in Exile” and “Stage Left”, unfortunately names of several key collaborators were left out, giving the impression that Forbord’s film is entirely his own creation. Rather, his “immersion” in the theater world took place in part thanks to team members including myself, Paul Festa, Eric Koziol, and Heath Orchard among others (some of us even appear in the film’s credits).
Austin has indeed produced a lively, arresting and informative documentary, but he did not do it alone.