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Showing posts from July, 2018

Walking in Their Shoes: An Interview with Suns Cultural Consultant Humaira Ghilzai

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By Elspeth Sweatman

For everyone on the team at A.C.T., accurately portraying Afghan culture onstage is an essential part of telling the story of A Thousand Splendid Suns. “True-to-life characters and scenes are forged from an understanding of why people act in certain ways: how their geography, culture, upbringing, and history drive their thoughts and actions,” says cultural consultant Humaira Ghilzai, who joined the Thousand Splendid Suns team for the world premiere in 2017 to help A.C.T. achieve their goal of authenticity. “The main role of a cultural consultant,” she says, “is to bring cultural literacy to a project in order to create an authentic portrayal of Afghan people, their customs, and their languages.” During the development of A Thousand Splendid Suns, we spoke with Ghilzai to get her insight into Afghan culture.

What does a typical Afghan family look like?
In general, an Afghan family consists of two parents (divorces are not very common), their children, and the childre…

From Hecuba to Suns: Director Carey Perloff’s Most Memorable A.C.T. Productions

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By Michael Paller
The following blog uses excerpts from A Five-Act Play: 50 Years of A.C.T., by former A.C.T. dramaturg Michael Paller.

A.C.T. Artistic Director Emerita Carey Perloff has directed more than 50 productions that have moved, challenged, and thrilled San Francisco audiences throughout her 25–year tenure. In anticipation of her world-premiere theatrical adaptation of A Thousand Splendid Suns returning home to The Geary this week, we took a look at a few of her most memorable A.C.T. productions.

Hecuba (1998)

When Perloff asked her friend and colleague Olympia Dukakis which Greek tragedy she’d want to do at A.C.T., the answer came back quickly: Euripides’ Hecuba. In this production, Dukakis gave an overwhelming performance as the Trojan queen who exacts terrible revenge on the king of Thrace for killing her son.

A Doll's House (2004)


Paul Walsh's taut translation of the Henrik Ibsen play continued the A.C.T. tradition of new American translations of Ibsen. Perloff was…

Behind the Scenes at A.C.T.: An Interview with Head Librarian Joseph Tally

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By Taylor Steinbeck

Searching for a text on the Meisner technique? Wanting to read the latest Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner? Familiarizing yourself with contemporary women playwrights? Look no further than A.C.T.'s Allen Fletcher Library. Located on the 7th floor of 30 Grant Avenue, A.C.T.'s library is a hidden gem packed with books, scripts, theater-related magazines, and more. Head Librarian Joseph Tally has manned its shelves for nearly twelve years while juggling a position as director of development at San Francisco's Theatre Rhinoceros. We sat down with Tally to talk about the ins and outs of running a library for both a theater company and a graduate school.

How did you become A.C.T.'s librarian?

I was taking acting and auditioning classes at Studio A.C.T. and was making use of the library since Studio students get access to the books. A.C.T. was looking for a librarian and it ended up working out perfectly since I studied library science. 
How would you describ…

The Cast on the Radiant Return of A Thousand Splendid Suns

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By Taylor Steinbeck
Since A Thousand Splendid Suns’s dazzling world premiere at The Geary Theater as part of A.C.T.’s 2016–17 season, director Carey Perloff’s production has continued to shine across the globe. This epic and heart wrenching story has emotionally affected audiences of all kinds from Canada's Grand Theatre London and Theatre Calgary to San Diego's The Old Globe. Before Suns makes a return to its theatrical home this week, we spoke to three members of the original cast about taking the show on tour and reprising their roles at the place where it all began.

Jason Kapoor (Abdul Sharif, Jalil, Wakil): The response we got in Canada and San Diego was very positive. In Calgary, there is a large refugee population and in San Diego the military presence was very apparent, but in both locations there was an understanding that the story cuts across culture, race, and region. The story may be set in Afghanistan but everyone can relate to it.

It feels surreal to be back. I ha…

Behind the Scenes at A.C.T.: An Interview with Acting Director of Marketing Christine Miller

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By Taylor Steinbeck
Nearly eight years ago, East Coaster Christine Miller made a cross-country move to California to begin her year-long tenure as A.C.T.’s 2010–11 season marketing fellow. What she didn’t know at the time was that she wouldn’t be leaving the streets of San Francisco anytime soon. Flash-forward to 2018 and Miller is now A.C.T.’s Acting Director of Marketing. We sat down with the marketing team’s intrepid leader to celebrate her inspiring career at A.C.T.

For those who aren’t familiar with marketing in the arts world, how do you go about marketing an A.C.T. production?

A Celebration of A.C.T. Artistic Director Emerita Carey Perloff

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By Elspeth Sweatman

Over the past year, theater-makers and arts reporters have written about Artistic Director Carey Perloff and her 25-year tenure at the helm of A.C.T. They’ve focused on her herculean efforts to rebuild The Geary Theater after the 1989 earthquake and her work to refurbish The Strand Theater in 2015. They’ve chronicled her tenacity in commissioning new American translations of classic plays, her international collaborations, and her creative partnerships with Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard. But these achievements only illuminate one side of this director, storyteller, teacher, and collaborator. Now, it’s our turn to celebrate our energetic, industrious leader for the Renaissance artist that she is.


Carey’s love for the city A.C.T. calls home is evident in the numerous Bay Area stories that she has championed, including After the War, The Tosca Project, and Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. Her desire to create theater about, for, and with our diverse community ha…