Showing posts from November, 2019

Spring into the MFA Program Season

By Claire L. Wong

For the next two weekends, the MFA class of 2021 springs back to turn of the 19th century Germany with Spring Awakening: The Play, directed by Christine Adaire. “The main crux of the show relies on a culture where people struggle to communicate,” says MFA Program actor Allen Darby, who plays Moritz. “Spring Awakening asks us questions about tricky concepts that we have done our best to answer, but leave open for the audience to ponder after the show.”

The class of 2020 kicked off the MFA Program season with Derek Walcott’s Ti Jean and His Brothers, directed by Dawn Monique Williams. Catch the same actors this winter in A.C.T.’s seasonal favorite A Christmas Carol, which runs November 29–December 24. The third-years are onstage again February 20–29 for Passage by Christopher Chen, an Obie Award–winning Bay Area playwright. “It’s a fantastical examination of colonialism and xenophobia,” says Associate Producer Ken Savage, “and it’s in conversation with TestmatchPass…

Stories from behind the Curtain: The Accents of Testmatch

By Claire L. Wong

“Accents help the audience understand where a character is coming from,” says A.C.T. Head of Text and Dialects Lisa Anne Porter, who is the voice and dialect coach for Testmatch. “Where a character comes from could be in terms of the physical location they’ve lived in, or their status in the world they live in. Status may be socio-economic, it may be how dark their skin is, it may be what they look like—all those elements may explain how they get that status.”

The Messenger (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) shares wisdom with Daanya (Avanthika Srinivasan), a talented village cricketer, in Kate Attwell's Testmatch. Photo by Kevin Berne. 
The ways the Indian and English characters speak in Testmatch provide reference points for the audience. And as this world premiere came into focus in the rehearsal room, shaping those reference points was a team effort, starting with playwright Kate Attwell. “In differentiating the characters of [the three English cricket players] England 1,…

Testmatch Mesmerizes Audiences

By Claire L. Wong 
As the world premiere of Testmatch heads into opening night on Wednesday, the buzz about the show keeps growing. Kate Attwell’s new play is already lined up for a run at Yale Repertory Theatre in 2020, and while it’s attracting a lot of attention from East Coast theater-lovers, Bay Area audiences are loving the production.

“The play was super funny, insightful, and thought-provoking,” says one audience member.

India 2 (Lipica Shah) and England 3 (Millie Brooks) discuss which is the better team in Kate Attwell’s Testmatch. Photo by Kevin Berne.
“I loved it!” says another theater-goer. “I loved that it was an all-female cast and that it featured women of Indian descent in substantial roles, which we almost never see. I loved it that it was written by a woman and directed by a woman—yay Pam! And I loved the production’s sophisticated theatricality and the complicated and nuanced experience it presented. Brava!”

To hear from audiences directly after the performance, chec…