Aurora Theatre Company Extends AMERICAN BUFFALO Through 7/20
Critics and audiences agree that it would be a crime to miss AMERICAN BUFFALO. Aurora Theatre Company announces that it will add an additional 7 performances of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet's powerful, fast-paced modern masterpiece. Tony-nominated director Barbara Damashek, who helmed Aurora Theatre Company's acclaimed productions of Fat Pig and Private Jokes, Public Places, directs AMERICAN BUFFALO, featuring James Carpenter (John Gabriel Borkman, The Master Builder, The Birthday Party, The Homecoming), Paul Vincent O'Connor (Death Defying Acts, National Tour August: Osage County), and Rafael Jordan. AMERICAN BUFFALO plays now through July 20 (added performances: Tuesday, July 15, 7pm; Wednesday, July 16, 8pm; Thursday, July 17, 8pm; Friday, July 18, 8pm; Saturday, July 19, 8pm; Sunday, July 20, 2pm and 7pm) at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley. For tickets ($32-50) and information the public can call (510) 843-4822 or visit auroratheatre.org. For mature audiences.
One of Pulitzer Prize-winner David Mamet's defining works, AMERICAN BUFFALO was instantly hailed as a new American classic when it opened on Broadway in 1977. Set during one long day, three small-time crooks of great ambition and low morals make plans to rob a man of his valuable coin collection, including what they believe to be an extremely valuable "Buffalo nickel." As the day goes on, paranoia builds, motivations change, and loyalties shift, with characters wielding words like weapons to intimidate and manipulate each other. A little out of luck and way out of their league, when the con goes awry, it's every man for himself.
Chad Jones of the San Francisco Chronicle said "One of the pleasures of director Barbara Damashek's production is how much of the humor she and her actors bring out of Mamet's 1975 script," noting "this is a kinder gentler Mamet than you see in later work like 'Glengarry Glen Ross' or 'Oleanna' There's almost an innocence...There's still some humanity... and that spark is what fires Damashek's sharp production and the memorable work by her actors." Karen D'Souza at the San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group declared AMERICAN BUFFALO an "explosive revival...[Barbara] Damashek is an astute director and her finesse with Mamet's staccato cadence gives this sleek two-hour revival its bracing power. Even if you have seen this American classic before, this tale of a big con gone awry will punch you in the gut. Hard." Leo Stutzin at The Huffington Post agreed, stating "[American] Buffalo remains as potent and relevant as it ever was...The edgy, abrasive interplay was directed with expertise by Barbara Damashek, exploiting not only the skills of her strong cast but also a marvelous set designed by Erik Sinkkonen." According to Emily Mendel at Berkeleyside, "'American Buffalo [is] a great drama...[it] delivers a lot of energy and interest, making it a worthwhile night at the theater.
Aurora Theatre Company has assembled a talented ensemble for AMERICAN BUFFALO. James Carpenter returns to Aurora Theatre Company as Teach in AMERICAN BUFFALO. He previously appeared in the company's productions of John Gabriel Borkman, The Master Builder, The Birthday Party, and The Homecoming, and has appeared in productions at American Conservatory Theater, TheatreWorks, Marin Theatre Company, and San Jose Repertory Theatre. Now in his twelfth year as an Associate Artist at California Shakespeare Theater, Carpenter was most recently featured in the company's production of Titus Andronicus. He has appeared in over 30 productions as an Associate Artist at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where he most recently appeared in Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Other regional credits include productions at The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Intiman Theatre, and Huntington Theatre Company, among others. He is the recipient of the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle 2007 Barbara Bladen Porter Award for consistent excellence in theatre.
Paul Vincent O'Connor, who appeared in Aurora Theatre Company's production of Death Defying Acts, returns to the company as Don in AMERICAN BUFFALO. Regional theater credits include 16 years as a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and productions at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Magic Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Paper Mill Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, Yale Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Actors Theatre, The Old Globe, Hollywood Bowl, and The Kennedy Center, among others. He has performed at the National Theatre in London, and toured nationally with the Steppenwolf production of August: Osage County. He has appeared in numerous feature films and television shows.
Rafael Jordan makes his Aurora Theatre Company debut as Bobby in AMERICAN BUFFALO. Credits include productions at American Conservatory Theater, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Curtain Theatre, among others. New York credits include productions at New Perspectives Theatre Company, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Metropolitan Playhouse, and Resonance Ensemble, among others.
Following AMERICAN BUFFALO, Aurora Theatre Company opens its 23rd season in August with the Bay Area Premiere of Obie-winning playwright Gina Gionfriddo's Pulitzer-nominated comedy RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN, directed by Desdemona Chiang. The company presents the West Coast Premiere of Fraser Grace's off Broadway hit BREAKFAST WITH MUGABE in November, directed by Jon Tracy. Barbara Damashek returns to Aurora in January to direct the Bay Area Premiere of Nicky Silver's viciously hilarious Broadway hit THE LYONS. The company pays homage to Lanford Wilson with "The Talley Trilogy" in April with the Pulitzer Prize-winning TALLEY'S FOLLY, directed by Joy Carlin in the company's second stage performance space, Harry's UpStage, followed by FIFTH OF JULY, helmed by Aurora Theatre Company Artistic Director Tom Ross. As a special addition to the 23rd season, and completing the trilogy, Aurora will present readings of Wilson's rarely performed play TALLEY & SON in April, directed by Jennifer King. Aurora Theatre Company closes its 23rd season in June with the Bay Area Premiere of Lisa D'Amour's wicked Obie-winning satire DETROIT, directed by Josh Costello.
Voted Best Theater Company in 2012 by SF Weekly, Aurora Theatre Company continues to offer challenging, literate, intelligent stage works to the Bay Area, each year increasing its reputation for top-notch theater. Located in the heart of the Downtown Berkeley Arts District, Aurora Theatre Company, declared "one of the best regional theaters around" by 7x7 magazine, has been called "one of the most important regional theaters in the area" and "a must-see midsize company" by the San Francisco Chronicle, while The Wall Street Journal has "nothing but praise for the Aurora." The Contra Costa Times stated "perfection is probably an unattainable ideal in a medium as fluid as live performance, but the Aurora Theatre comes luminously close," while the San Jose Mercury News affirmed Aurora Theatre Company is "arguably the finest small theater in the Bay Area," and the Oakland Tribune stated "it's all about choices, and if you value good theater, choose the Aurora."
FOR CALENDAR EDITORS:
Critics and audiences agree that it would be a crime to miss AMERICAN BUFFALO. Aurora Theatre Company announces that it will add an additional 7 performances of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet's powerful, fast-paced modern masterpiece. Tony-nominated director Barbara Damashek, who helmed Aurora Theatre Company's acclaimed productions of Fat Pig and Private Jokes, Public Places, directs AMERICAN BUFFALO, featuring James Carpenter, Paul Vincent O'Connor, and Rafael Jordan. AMERICAN BUFFALO plays now through July 20.
Photo by David Allen