The reintroduction in-person theatre performances can be achieved within the Bay Area after a prolonged time of confinement caused by the epidemic. But, this is not enough compared to levels pre-COVID of attendance and production. This year was full of tension and change, including the departures of Susie Medak (long-serving Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s director of operations), AlterTheater’s Jeanette Harron and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Rebecca Ennals and Marin Theatre Company’s Jasson Miadakis. There is no doubt that the theater is making progress even with these significant changes.
After six years of construction, Uers Playhouse was able to reopen following San Francisco’s EXIT Theatre closed and San Jose’s Dragon Productions Theatre Company announced that it would no longer stage productions in the year the coming year. There were many amazing shows on the local stage throughout this year, despite the sad announcement. I was fortunate to have been a part of some of these wonderful moments. I will mention “Indecent” in the San Francisco Playhouse. Paula Vogel’s inventive work centers on Sholem Asch’s Yiddish play.
Berkeley Repertory Theatre presented “Dana H,”” an intense play composed by Lucas Hnath. It was only a single-person show. There was a controversy over its creation, including the arrest of the entire cast for obscenity, are depicted in this enthralling play. The play is paired with the increasing prevalence of antisemitism within Europe during the time. Under the direction of Susi Damilano, the production resonated with a powerful resonance which is evident by the stellar cast who effortlessly shifted roles inside a spectacular play-within-a-play. Jordan Baker delivers a powerful performance as the mother of Playwright Hnath in her lengthy abduction.
Les Waters’s masterful direction and the authentic tale resulted in a profoundly moving and intense experience at “Hadestown,” an exclusive post-Broadway production. This unique show captivated audiences with its engaging combination of blues, jazz and folk songs. The show also included an enthralling, emotionally charged version of Eurydice as well as Orpheusas they descend into Hades. Kimberly Marable’s enthralling performance as Persephone an exuberant leader of the Underworld is to be applauded.
This production by the Aurora Theatre Company of Jonathan Spector’s “This Many I Know” is a masterful performance. Jackson Gay, the director, guides it. It is a story about a family struggling with their emotional struggles to join the public pool system in Kansas City. It is a story that spans many periods and the various styles of the day that are expertly narrated using eloquence as well as humour and thrilling performance. This provocative piece offers a an engaging perspective on this crucial subject.
Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s world-premiere of “Goddess” featured stunning performances by Rajesh Bose as an obsessively obsessed psychologist, Anna Ishida as his spouse who is grieving as well as Kenny Toll as a semi-reformed white supremacist. The script, by Jocelyn Bioh with songs by Michael Thurber, presented an African deity of music with powerful rhythms and pulsating choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie and stunning voiceovers by Amber Iman as the titular goddess.
Summary Aurora Theatre Company’s staging Jonathan Spector’s “This I Know” is a spectacular show. Jackson Gay, the director, has crafted the most compelling tale of the efforts of a family to join public pools in Kansas City. This multi-decade story was told with humor and captivating performance. This is an engaging piece that provides a fresh perspective regarding this issue.