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Showing posts from October, 2019

Playwright Kate Attwell on Testmatch (Part Two)

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By Simon Hodgson

As soon as director Pam MacKinnon read the script for a new play titled Testmatch, she fell in love with the writing of its playwright, Kate Attwell. Hear from the playwright and director about the journey from script to stage, and catch the world premiere of Testmatch at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater.


Left to right: England 3 (Millie Brooks), England 2 (Arwen Anderson), India 2 (Lipica Shah), India 1 (Meera Rohit Kumbhani), and India 3 (Avanthika Srinivasan) discuss which is the better cricket team in Kate Attwell’s Testmatch. Photo by Kevin Berne
Pam MacKinnon: There are many extraordinary theatrical elements in Testmatch: the way actors take on other guises to tell the story in different ways; the oversized British accents; the Memsahib character that echoes Ophelia [in Shakespeare’s Hamlet]; the clash of contemporary and classical language; the character of Abhi who goes in and out of the scene as both the beleaguered sepoy and the main character who straddles both worlds…

60 Minutes, 60 Plays

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By Claire L. Wong

“It’s a wild, thought-provoking, and fun hour,” says Director of the Young Conservatory Jill MacLean. For the next five nights, the Young Conservatory presents the Student One-Minute Play Festival, featuring 60 one-minute plays written and performed by young artists from around the Bay Area.

After going on an artistic writing retreat and working together as a community to produce the plays, this next generation of theater-makers and change-makers presents work that is reflective of the world they want to see. “There’s an immediacy and a relevance to the content of the plays,” says MacLean. “Because the students are writing the material, they’re invested in it, it’s their own.” 

This is the first time the YC has taken on this creative challenge, but these emerging artists have an excellent guide: Dominic D’Andrea, founder and producing artistic director of the One-Minute Play Festival (#1MPF). Additional direction by local directors Karina Fox, Jill MacLean, Nikki Meñez,…

Playwright Kate Attwell on Testmatch (Part One)

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By Simon Hodgson
As soon as director Pam MacKinnon read the script for a new play titled Testmatch, she fell in love with the writing of its playwright, Kate Attwell. Hear from the playwright and director about the journey from script to stage before catching the world premiere of Testmatch at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater.

Playwright Kate Attwell. Photo courtesy Kate Attwell.
Pam MacKinnon: As a South African–born playwright, you might be expected to draw on that experience in your work. What made you choose India as the focal point?
Kate Attwell: What I want to do with this play is challenge the notion of empire and the way it’s historicized. I want to confront the way people talk about empire—to take down the idea that “We British went all over the world, we took so much, we destroyed so much, but now we’re going to talk about it as this wonderful time when we built the railways.” Britain’s colonization of India had a particularly capitalist bent—it was fundamentally about wealth and the tr…

Time Warp to the Geary!

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By Claire L. Wong
There’s a reason San Franciscans identify so closely with The Rocky Horror Show. “It’s a haven for people of all stripes to be their most brilliant, strange, honest, fabulous, and terrifying selves,” says Tony Award–nominated director-choreographer Sam Pinkleton. “It’s been blowing minds and opening hearts in San Francisco and around the world for over 40 years and I am—yes—shivering with antici . . . . pation to assemble a community of Bay Area performers who will take over the Geary in 2020 to collaborate on a musical blowout that could only happen in and for San Francisco.”


For A.C.T.’s mainstage production of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show on the Geary stage this spring, we’re holding an open call for local Bay Area actors and performers. Auditions will be held October 31, 2019 from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Auditionees of any ethnicities, body types, gender identifications, and ability levels are welcome.

The all-star creative t…

Fearless and Fierce: The Women of Top Girls

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By Simon Hodgson

Who were all these women, anyway? Get a glimpse of these historical and legendary figures’ lives beyond the stage in this breakdown of characters from Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls.

L to R: Top Girls actorsRosie Hallett (Pope Joan),  Summer Brown (Dull Gret), Michelle Beck (Marlene), Monica Lin (Lady Nijo), and Julia McNeal (Isabella Bird). Photo by Kevin Berne.
Isabella Bird  In 19th-century Britain, middle-class women were expected to lead lives filled with crafts, music, and church-related activities. But while Isabella Bird’s life began that way, this curious, intelligent woman chose a different path. When doctors prescribed outdoor activity as a tonic for her fragility, she took a trip to the United States to visit family. Traveling set Bird free—the letters she wrote home were full of quirky details, and she turned them into a travel book. In 1872, she toured Australia, Hawaii, and the Western United States, where she fell for a one-eyed trapper. Traveling in the 19…