Aurora Theatre Company Extends Bay Area Premiere of LENI
Due to popular pre-sale demand, Aurora Theatre Company announces that it will add an additional two weeks of performances for the Bay Area Premiere of Sarah Greenman's wildly creative biographical play, LENI. Jon Tracy (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Breakfast With Mugabe) directs this multi-media play, called "a thought-provoking tour through the world of Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl" by Seattle Weekly. Featuring Stacy Ross (Gidion's Knot, Wilder Times) and Martha Brigham (The How and The Why).
LENI now plays through May 7th (added performances: Tuesday, April 25, 7pm;Wednesday, April 26, 8pm; Thursday, April 27, 8pm; Friday, April 28, 8pm; Saturday, April 29, 8pm; Sunday, April 30, 2pm, 7pm;Tuesday, May 2, 7pm; Wednesday, May 3, 8pm; Thursday, May 4, 8pm; Friday, May 5, 8pm; Saturday, May 6, 8pm; Sunday, May 7, 2pm, 7pm ) at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley. For tickets and information the public can call (510) 843-4822 or visitauroratheatre.org.
Can an artist ever be truly "apolitical" if their work serves the ends of powerful political forces? In LENI, German film director Leni Riefenstahl's evasive older self and seductive younger self work to edit the perfect film of her life. Riefenstahl's two most famous films, "Triumph of the Will" and "Olympia," are still recognized as works of cinematic brilliance even as they are reviled as propaganda for the Nazi regime. With LENI, Greenman explores the controversial Riefenstahl, whose work in the 1930's was comparable to the films of Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock, but embodied some of the most troubling contradictions of her time.
Riefenstahl's influence is deeply embedded in our culture, from our clothing ads to the way sporting events are shot to how the President lands his plane and makes his entrance. But was she Hitler's puppet? Was she aware she was making such strong pieces of propaganda for Hitler? Was someone who wanted beauty to be the new religion simply blind to the events happening around her? An intelligent brief on artistic responsibility, influence, and narcissism, LENI journeys deep inside the mind and media of an artist to discover why art can be a dangerous business.
Bay Area director, playwright, designer, and educator Jon Tracy returns to Aurora Theatre Company to direct LENI. In addition to helmingBreakfast with Mugabe, Gidion's Knot and The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Aurora Theatre Company, Tracy developed Ron Campbell's play Sinker as part of Aurora's inaugural Global Age Project new works festival. Additional credits include productions at Shotgun Players (The Salt Plays Pt. 1: In the Wound, The Salt Plays Pt. 2: Of the Earth), San Francisco Playhouse (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Bug, Slasher), Magic Theatre (Terminus, Any Given Day); Willows Theatre (Evil Dead: The Musical), Impact Theatre (See How We Are), Marin Theatre Company, Berkeley Playhouse, TheatreFIRST, New Conservatory Theatre, and Alter Theatre Ensemble, among others. A former Artistic Associate at the Magic Theatre, Tracy is a Company Member of PlayGround, an Associate Artist at Berkeley Playhouse, an Affiliate Artist with Marin Shakespeare Company, and the Artistic Director of Live Oak Theater.
Aurora Theatre Company has assembled a gifted duo for LENI. Stage veteran Stacy Ross returns to Aurora Theatre Company as a mutured Leni. Ross previously appeared in Aurora Theatre Company's productions of Gidion's Knot, Wilder Times, The Devil's Disciple,The Man of Destiny, Hedda Gabler, and A Kind of Alaska. Additional credits include productions at San Francisco Playhouse, California Shakespeare Theater, TheatreWorks, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and American Conservatory Theater, among others.
Martha Brigham returns to the Aurora stage as a younger version of Leni. She was last seen at Aurora in the company's hit production ofThe How and the Why. iAdditional credits include productions at San Francisco Playhouse (Stupid Fucking Bird), La Jolla Playhouse (The Tall Girls), Secret Rose Theatre (The Man In the Red Suit), and The Nauset Players (Othello, The Beggar's Opera), among others.
Playwright Sarah Greenman holds a BA in creative writing from Mills College, where she was awarded the Gertrude Hung Chan Playwrighting Prize for her original play, LENI. She is also a prolific visual artist, actor, urban homesteader and social justice activist.
Following LENI, Steve Waters' TEMPLE makes its U.S. Premiere at Aurora in April, directed by Aurora Artistic Director Tom Ross. Abi Morgan's SPLENDOUR, directed by Barbara Damashek, closes the season in June.
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."