Aurora Theatre Company to Present AMERICAN BUFFALO, 6/13-7/13

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Aurora Theatre Company to Present AMERICAN BUFFALO, 6/13-7/13

Closing Aurora Theatre Company's 22nd season is David Mamet's powerful, fast-paced drama AMERICAN BUFFALO. Tony-nominated director Barbara Damashek, who helmed Aurora Theatre Company's acclaimed productions of Fat Pig and Private Jokes, Public Places, returns to direct 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 June 13 through July 13 at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley. For tickets ($32-60) 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.

Widely recognized as a modern masterpiece, The Washington Post declared "American Buffalo remains a gleefully flinty slice of burnt-out life: taut, funny and, in the end, surprisingly touching," and The New York Times stated "sizzler, searing and dynamite...can still be used to describe 'American Buffalo,' which age has not withered or staled." Mamet's cunning portrait of small-time thievery won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play in 1977, has been nominated for numerous Tony and Drama Desk Awards, and garnered an Obie Award for Best New Play in 1976. It was revived in 1983 on Broadway featuring Al Pacino, and was revived again in 2008 starring Cedric the Entertainer, Haley Joel Osment, and John Leguizamo. The play was adapted into a 1996 film featuring Dennis Franz, Dustin Hoffman, and Sean Nelson. Mamet himself acknowledges that he is "very fond" of AMERICAN BUFFALO, believing that, of all his work, "It's the most structurally competent. It has the form of a classical tragedy."

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.

Tony-nominated director Barbara Damashek, who helmed Aurora Theatre Company's productions of Fat Pig and Private Jokes, Public Places, returns to direct AMERICAN BUFFALO. Best known as the director, composer-lyricist, and co-author of the musical Quilters, which received six Tony nominations, Damashek has directed productions for South Coast Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Trinity Repertory Company, Mark Taper Forum, Yale Repertory Theatre, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, among others. Additionally, Damashek has helmed productions at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (House of Blue Leaves, Rhinoceros), Center REPertory Company (Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Noel and Gertie), Marin Theatre Company (Arms and the Man), American Conservatory Theater (The Cherry Orchard), and Magic Theatre (The Cryptogram, Lonesome West). An Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University, Damashek has created a large body of original plays with music, including Whereabouts Unknown, a musical documentary about the homeless, which was commissioned by the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival and a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director David Mamet was born in born in 1947 in Chicago. He went on to found the St. Nicholas Theatre Company and also worked for a time as the artistic director of the famed Goodman Theatre in his hometown. Mamet first gained acclaim for a trio of off-Broadway plays in 1976, The Duck Variations, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and AMERICAN BUFFALO, winning Mamet the Obie Award for distinguished playwriting. Other works for the stage include Lakeboat (1970); Lone Canoe (1972); Squirrels (1974); Reunion (1976); The Water Engine (1976); A Life in the Theatre (1977); The Revenge of the Space Pandas, or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock (1978); Mr. Happiness (1978); The Woods (1979); The Blue Hour (1979); Edmond (1982); The Frog Prince (1983); Glengarry Glen Ross (1983), for which Mamet was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; The Shawl (1985); The Poet & The Rent (1986); Speed the Plow (1988); Bobby Gould In Hell (1989); Oleanna (1992); The Cryptogram (1994); The Old Neighborhood (1997); Boston Marriage (1999); Faustus (2004); Romance (2005); The Voysey Inheritance (2005); Keep Your Pantheon (2007); November (2007); Vikings and Darwin (2008); Race (2009); School (2009); and The Anarchist (2012).

Mamet began writing for the screen in 1981 with a re-make of The Postman Always Rings Twice; he has also written the screenplays for films including The Verdict (1982), directed by Sidney Lumet; The Untouchables (1987) directed by Brian De Palma; Hoffa (1992); Ronin (1998); Wag The Dog (1997); The Edge (1997); and Hannibal (2001). Feature films which Mamet both wrote and directed include House of Games (1987); Things Change (1988); Homicide (1991); Oleanna (1994); The Spanish Prisoner (1997); The Winslow Boy (1999); State and Main (2000); Heist (2001); Spartan (2004); Redbelt (2008); and the bio-pic TV movie Phil Spector (2012). His latest feature-length film, Blackbird, is slated for release in 2015. Mamet has taught acting at his alma mater, Goddard College, as well as at The University of Chicago, Yale School of Drama, and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he established a traveling repertory company in 1988, called the Atlantic Theater Company.

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:

Closing Aurora Theatre Company's 22nd season is David Mamet's powerful, fast-paced drama AMERICAN BUFFALO. 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. Widely recognized as a modern masterpiece, The Washington Post declared "American Buffalo remains a gleefully flinty slice of burnt-out life: taut, funny and, in the end, surprisingly touching," and The New York Times stated "sizzler, searing and dynamite...can still be used to describe 'American Buffalo,' which age has not withered or staled."

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. Mamet's cunning portrait of small-time thievery won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play in 1977, has been nominated for numerous Tony and Drama Desk Awards, and garnered an Obie Award for Best New Play in 1976. Tony-nominated director Barbara Damashek, who helmed Aurora Theatre Company's acclaimed productions of Fat Pig and Private Jokes, Public Places, returns to direct 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. For mature audiences.

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