THIS GOLDEN STATE, AND I AND SILENCE and SISTER PLAY World Premieres Set for Magic Theatre's 2014-15 Season
Magic Theatre, the Bay Area's preeminent home for new plays and playwrights, proudly announces its 2014-2015 season, anchored by part one of This Golden State, a world premiere trilogy by Luis Alfaro, co-commissioned by Magic Theatre and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In addition, the season will kick off with Bad Jews, a hilarious comedy that will introduce up and coming playwright Joshua Harmon to Bay Area audiences. Next, Magic welcomes MacArthur Genius Award winner Naomi Wallace for the West Coast premiere of her powerful And I and Silence. In the spring, the rolling world premiere of the uproarious Sister Play (with the Harbor Stage Company of Cape Cod) marks the return of John Kolvenbach. One final play will be announced shortly, as well as the next chapter of "Sheparding America", Magic's five year commitment to re dreaming Sam Shepard's legacy in the Bay Area and beyond.
"This season truly exemplifies what Magic Theatre does best," said Producing Artistic Director Loretta Greco. "Building rich relationships over time with playwrights like Luis Alfaro and John Kolvenbach, providing them with an artistic home in which to create a body of work, as well as introducing thrilling mid-career and emerging writers such as Naomi Wallace and Joshua Harmon, to our adventuresome audiences. I know these visionary writers and their stories will both entertain and ignite a highly substantive season-long conversation about our place in the world."
Magic Theatre kicks off its 48th Season with the Bay Area Premiere of Harmon's Bad Jews. Cousins Daphna, Jonah, and Liam are Jewish. But when religious Daphna squares off with secular Liam and his Shiksa girlfriend over a family heirloom, they battle over what it means to be Chosen in a blisteringly funny play the New York Times called, "The best comedy of the season."
"It's got that Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf feel in which you lock smart, funny people in a room and let them fight over something big and deep," says Magic's Associate Artistic Director Ryan Purcell. "But what is especially resonant about the play now is that it's asking a big question about how young people find meaning and connection in a world in which our traditions are breaking down."
In January, Magic will produce the West Coast premiere of Naomi Wallace's And I and Silence, in which two women bridge a racial and cultural divide to form a bond of friendship in 1950's America.
"I have been a huge fan of Naomi's writing for a couple of decades and have been wanting to introduce our audiences to her work since arriving." said Producing Artistic Director Loretta Greco who will direct the piece. "This particular play blew me away. The slice of 1950's America, the dramatic structure, hearty humor, and visceral buoyancy of the human spirit found within these two unlikely friends -- is truly transcendent."
In April, Magic welcomes back playwright John Kolvenbach (Goldfish, Mrs. Whitney), for the rolling world premiere of Sister Play which he will also direct. Brenda will do anything to make her sister Lilly happy, including destroying all her relationships. When Lilly, Brenda, and her husband Malcolm retreat to their late father's cabin in Cape Cod, they expect to relax, unwind, and take stock. But when a charming but shadowy drifter enters the picture angling for Lilly's heart, their pilgrimage takes a surprising turn.
"I wanted to look at the risk we take when we allow someone into our circle of intimacy" says playwright John Kolvenbach, "And sisters. I personally have five sisters. I wanted to write about sisters."
"I also wanted to return to the Magic, my artistic home away from home, so I could subject this play to the immediacy, daring, and intimacy that are the trademarks of Magic Theatre artists" he continued, "to take this play way out over the knife where it belongs."
The season concludes with part one of Magic Theatre and Oregon Shakespeare Festival's historic co-commission of Luis Alfaro. Magic Theatre's Producing Artistic Director Loretta Greco said, "It is with great passion that we come together with our friends at OSF to celebrate a writer we have both heralded over the years and to support his next groundbreaking cycle of work. Our community was transported by Luis' Oedipus el Rey and Bruja and looks forward to experiencing his one-of-a kind lens on America within
This Golden State. This is probably an unprecedented collaboration between theaters of such varying size and I couldn't be happier to be cross pollinating with such a spirit of possibility."
OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch agreed. "We are so proud to be in collaboration with our esteemed colleagues at the Magic to help our playwright-in-residence Luis Alfaro dive even more fully into creating this ambitious and hugely important trio of plays. Luis is a major American artist and arts leader, and we could not be more proud of the impact he is having on our campus through his residency."
According to Mr. Alfaro, each part of This Golden State will examine a different "great American theme"-religion, politics, and identity-through the experiences of an extended Latino family with deep multi-generational roots in the Western United States.
"I really want to write about Latinos as Americans," Mr. Alfaro said. "What does it mean to be 'American' for a family whose ancestors were indigenous to this land long before it was part of the United States? In a way, that's the great American story."
"I see this as one big American story told in three plays," Mr. Alfaro continued. "It's an ambitious idea that rises to the ambitions of these two outstanding American theatre companies."
For the last 47 years, Magic Theatre has amplified it's mission of fostering ferociously courageous playwrights and producing explosive, entertaining and ideologically robust plays. Magic believes that by demonstrating faith in a writer's vision by providing a safe yet rigorous artistic home, where a full body of work can be imagined, supported, and produced, that writers, in turn, will thrive. Twenty-two of the last 25 plays developed and produced at Magic have enjoyed extended life in cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington DC, Paris, Manila, and Seoul. Magic's home-grown premieres, Sharr White's Annapurna and Polly Penn and Victor Lodato's Arlington, can both be seen this Spring in New York.
With its intimate thrust stage, it is the perfect venue for audiences to experience new work up close. That intimacy extends beyond the stage through a number of special events - nightly audience engagement activities, NextGen Nights that offer access to the Next Generation of theatre audiences, Friday night actor TalkBACKs, New Work Salons with playwrights and directors, and the Martha Heasley Cox Virgin Play Series. Magic also prides itself as a collaborative community partner with its five-year Sheparding America celebration, its Laney College Initiative and Magic:Oakland Annex in addition to active collaborations with ACT, Word for Word, Intersection for the Arts, and The Commonwealth Club, amongst others. Enjoy unparalleled access to new plays, playwrights, and the process of taking a play from the page to the stage at Magic Theatre.
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