Reintroduction of theatre in person is possible within the Bay Area after a prolonged time of being in a confined space due to the epidemic. But, it did not match the levels of attendance and production prior to COVID. This year was full of tension and change, including the departures of Susie Medak (long-serving Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s director of operations) and AlterTheater’s Jeanette Harron and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Rebecca Ennals and Marin Theatre Company’s Jasson Miadakis. There is no doubt that progress is being made despite the significant changes.
Six years after its reconstruction, 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 year 2019. It was still awe-inspiring to see shows on the local stage throughout this season, in spite of the tragic announcement. I had the privilege to have been a part of 10 of these unforgettable moments. I’ll mention “Indecent” in the San Francisco Playhouse. Paula Vogel’s innovative work is based on Sholem Asch’s Yiddish production.
Berkeley Repertory Theatre presented “Dana H,”” an enthralling play written created by Lucas Hnath. It was an all-person production. The controversy surrounding its production, which included the detention of the entire group for obscenity is evident in the compelling play. It contrasts with the growing incidence of antisemitism throughout Europe at the time. The play, which was directed by Susi Damilano, was awe-inspiringly effective due to the incredible actors who effortlessly changed characters in a play-within the play. Jordan Baker delivers a powerful performance as the mother of playwright Hnath in her lengthy abduction.
The masterful direction of Les Waters and his authentic story of the play resulted in a profoundly moving and thrilling experience in “Hadestown,” an exclusive post-Broadway production. The show was unique and captivated the audience with its captivating blend of blues, jazz and folk songs. The show also included an emotional, captivating rendition of Eurydice as well as Orpheusas they descend to Hades. Kimberly Marable’s enthralling performance as Persephone who is the flamboyant ruler of the Underworld is to be applauded.
The Aurora Theatre Company’s performance of Jonathan Spector’s “This Much I Know” is an impressive production. Jackson Gay, the director, is in charge. The play tells of a family that is struggling with their emotional struggles to join the public pool system in Kansas City. The story spans a number of decades and also the fashions that were popular in the times. The narration is superb by a wit and humor that includes stunning performance. This is an enthralling view of an important subject.
It was the first time that Berkeley Repertory Theatre premiered “Goddess” which was a world premiere of the musical. Rajesh Bose, Anna Ishida and Kenny Toll played their roles as semi-reformed white supremacists. Jocelyn Bioh wrote the musical using Michael Thurber’s lyrics. The production included the character of an African God of Music, featuring powerful beats and electrifying choreography created by Darrell Grand Moultrie, as and stunning singing by Amber Iman, who played the goddess of the title.
Summary: The Aurora Theatre Company’s performance of Jonathan Spector’s “This Much I Know” is a spectacular performance. Jackson Gay, the director, has created an engaging story of the efforts of a family to join public pools into Kansas City. The multi-decade tale was told through humour and captivating performance. This is an engaging piece which offers an original perspective of this subject.