A.C.T. And Magic Theatre Announce Partnership For Upcoming Productions From Mfoniso Udofia's Ufot Family Cycle

By: Nov. 20, 2018

A.C.T. And Magic Theatre Announce Partnership For Upcoming Productions From Mfoniso Udofia's Ufot Family Cycle

San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) and Magic Theatre announced today that they will collaborate on a thrilling theatrical event, bringing two plays from Mfoniso Udofia's acclaimed Ufot Family Cycle to the stage. From February 15-March 31, 2019, A.C.T. will present Her Portmanteau at the Strand Theater (1127 Market St.) and from March 27­-April 21, 2019, the Magic Theatre (2 Marina Blvd., Building D) will present In Old Age. Through an exclusive package deal, patrons can purchase tickets for both plays, which can be seen in any order, for $40 each-for a savings of up to 45% off their individual ticket price. This package deal is available now by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or online at www.ufotplays-sf.com. Package holders receive free ticket exchanges, priority invitations to special events, and exclusive content on this Bay Area theatrical event.

Says A.C.T. Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon: "We look forward to partnering with the Magic Theatre on the fourth and fifth plays of Mfoniso Udofia's wildly ambitious, nine-play legacy saga. It is a unique opportunity for Bay Area audiences to immerse themselves in the deep and complicated journey of a Nigerian American family reconciling their complicated pasts so that they might have a future together. I am honored to welcome Mfoniso-an A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts alumna-back to her artistic home and to celebrate her brilliant storytelling."

Adds Magic Theatre Artistic Director Loretta Greco: "After championing the work of this incredible artist through our Virgin Play series, our production of the first cycle play, Sojourners, and our world premiere of the third, runboyrun, I am thrilled to be teaming up with A.C.T. in support of Mfoniso Udofia, a writer we both have a deep and long-term commitment to. I'm most excited for our collective audiences to meet-or re-meet-the women of Mfoniso's Ufot family and to reap the joy of experiencing two of her heart-filled plays in tandem once again."

Playwright Mfoniso Udofia is a first-generation Nigerian American storyteller and educator, and obtained her M.F.A. in acting from the American Conservatory Theater. The Ufot Family Cycle, a series of nine plays exploring the history of Nigerian immigration in America through the eyes of one family, began through Udofia's residencies at the National Black Theatre's I Am Soul program and The Playwrights Realm's Page One program. In January 2016, The Playwrights Realm produced the world premiere of Sojourners, the Ufot Family origin story. In spring 2016, the Magic Theatre produced Sojourners in repertory with the world premiere of the third installation in the Ufot Family Cycle, runboyrun. In spring 2017, New York Theatre Workshop produced a new production of Sojourners in repertory with the world premiere of Her Portmanteau, to universal critical acclaim. A.C.T. has commissioned Udofia to write the eighth installment of the cycle.

Her Portmanteau is a taut and achingly poignant drama exploring the multigenerational bonds of a Nigerian family living in the United States. Traveling from Lagos to visit her mother, Abasiama, and American-born sister for the first time in two decades, thirtysomething Iniabasi arrives to a snowy landscape, and even chillier truths inside a small Manhattan apartment. As Nigerian traditions clash with American realities, the family is forced to confront its literal and emotional baggage and its painful legacies across language, continents, and cultures. Pulsing with humor and heartache, this tender and hopeful window into an evolving family is "a reminder that most Americans share a common origin story" (The New York Times).

The fifth installment of the Ufot family cycle, In Old Age, continues the story of Abasiama, offering both a purge and a peacemaking, frenzy and faith. When Azell Abernathy, a seasoned repairman, arrives at the home of Abasiama to redo the floors of her dilapidated New England home, he is surprised to be met with stubborn resistance. The two clash, challenge each other, and eventually form an unlikely spiritual connection. Abasiama and Azell learn the true nature of forgiveness and love, just as life takes a new turn.

Both productions are under the direction of Victor Malana Maog. Named one of American Theatre magazine's "People to Watch," Maog is a theater director, educator, and arts leader with over 25 years of experience directing projects, programs, and companies that boldly meet at the intersections of world-class art-making, popular culture, and forward-thinking community engagement. His award-winning work has reached over half the continental United States, including at The Public Theater, Hartford Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Signature Theatre Company, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, and more.