Aurora Theatre Company's THIS IS HOW IT GOES Begins Today
Closing Aurora Theatre Company's 21st season is the Bay Area Premiere of Neil LaBute's dark, edgy comic drama THIS IS HOW IT GOES, directed by Aurora Theatre Company Artistic Director Tom Ross (A Delicate Balance). Ross helmed LaBute's The Shape of Things, the first LaBute play produced in the Bay Area, in 2003. Featuring Aldo Billingslea (Collapse), Gabriel Marin (Collapse, Jack Goes Boating), and Carrie Paff (A Delicate Balance, Collapse, Betrayal), THIS IS HOW IT GOES presents a one-two punch after LaBute's Fat Pig (staged at Aurora in 2009).
Tweaking perspectives of truth and interpretation to broach sharp questions about race, love, and manipulation,THIS IS HOW IT GOES, about which the Chicago Tribune raved "Highly recommended! LaBute's play has a lot of sting and nothing is as it seems!" plays today June 14 through July 21 at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley. For tickets ($35-60) and information the public can call (510) 843-4822 or visit auroratheatre.org.
Belinda and Cody Phipps appear to be a typical Midwestern couple. Typical except that Cody is in almost every respect an outsider - a successful businessman and one of the few black faces in a small white town. When a white, male high school acquaintance returns to town and rents the room over their garage, the fragile balance of Belinda and Cody's relationship is upset, raising questions about who they want to be, who they are, and what made them that way. As a battle for Belinda's affections is waged, Belinda and Cody frankly question the foundation of their initial attraction, opening the door wide to a swath of bigotry and betrayal. THIS IS HOW IT GOES, called "smart and stylish" by New York Magazine when it premiered at The Public Theater in 2005, challenges notions of gender, ethnicity, and even love itself, exploring the myriad ways in which the wild card of race is played by both black and white America.
Aurora Theatre Company Artistic Director Tom Ross helms THIS IS HOW IT GOES. Ross inaugurated Aurora Theatre Company with Barbara Oliver in 1992. He has directed 23 productions for the company, including Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance, The Soldier's Tale (co-directed with Muriel Maffre), Tennessee Williams' The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, the World Premiere of The First Grade, Gore Vidal's The Best Man, Mae West's SEX, and Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party. For Aurora Theatre Company, Ross has also directed acclaimed productions of Marius, Blue/Orange,Betrayal, Lobby Hero, which went on to be presented as a co-production between Aurora Theatre Company, Jonathan Reinis, Inc., and the Napa Valley Opera House, The Shape of Things, The Entertainer, The Weir, Death Defying Acts,Abigail's Party, The Mystery of Irma Vep (co-directed with Danny Scheie), and The Aspern Papers, among others. He also wrote and directed A Karen Carpenter Christmas in both San Francisco and Seattle. Prior to coming to the Bay Area, Ross worked for eight years at The Public Theater in New York as Executive Assistant to Joseph Papp and as co-Director of Play and Musical Development. While in New York, Ross also penned the book adaptation of the New York Drama Desk nominated musical Up Against It, based on Joe Orton's screenplay for The Beatles.
Aurora Theatre Company has assembled an extraordinary ensemble for THIS IS HOW IT GOES.
Aldo Billingslea, who made his Aurora Theatre Company debut in the company's World Premiere of Collapse, returns to the Aurora stage as Cody in THIS IS HOW IT GOES. Credits include productions at Marin Theatre Company (In The Red & Brown Water, The Hairy Ape, Splittin' the Raft), TheatreWorks (The Elephant Man, Radio Golf), Cutting Ball Theater(...And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi), Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Magic Theatre, American Conservatory Theater,Center REPertory Company, Old Globe Theatre, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, among others. Billingslea is a PlayGround company member, sits on the board of Renegade Theatre Experiment, and teaches acting at Santa Clara University.
Gabriel Marin, who last appeared in Aurora Theatre Company's productions of Collapse, Jack Goes Boating and The Devil's Disciple, returns to the Aurora stage as Man in THIS IS HOW IT GOES.
Additionally, Marin appeared in the Aurora's productions of St. Joan, The Glass Menagerie, and Gunplay. Regional credits include The Happy Ones at Magic Theatre, The Motherf**ker with the Hat at San Francisco Playhouse, It's a Wonderful Life at Marin Theatre Company, Superior Donuts at TheatreWorks, A Number at Center REPertory Company, and The Creature at Black Box Theatre, among others.
Carrie Paff returns to Aurora Theatre Company as Belinda in THIS IS HOW IT GOES; she was last seen at Aurora in Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance, the World Premiere of Allison Moore's Collapse, the West Coast Premiere of Craig Lucas's Small Tragedy, and Harold Pinter's Betrayal. Recent productions include The Other Place at Magic Theatre, andTiny Alice and It's a Wonderful Life at Marin Theatre Company; additional regional credits include productions at American Conservatory Theater, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Center REPertory Company, and Word for Word, among others. Paff is the co-founder of StageWrite, Building Literacy through Theatre.
Neil LaBute is a playwright, screenwriter, and film director who has been both praised and criticized for his edgy and unsettling portrayals of human relationships. He studied theater at Brigham Young University (BYU), where he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and produced a number of plays that pushed the envelope of what was acceptable at the conservative religious university; he also met actor Aaron Eckhart, who would later play leading roles in several of his films. LaBute's works for the stage include: In the Company of Men (1992); Bash: Latter-Day Plays (1999);The Shape of Things (2001); The Distance From Here (2002); The Mercy Seat (2002); Autobahn (2003); Fat Pig (2004);This Is How It Goes (2005); Some Girl(s) (2005); Wrecks (2005); In A Dark Dark House (2007); Helter Skelter/Land of the Dead (2008); and In a Forest, Dark and Deep (2011). reasons to be pretty (2008/2009) was LaBute's first ever Broadway production; it was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Play, Best Leading Actor in a Play, and Best Featured Actress in a Play. LaBute's film credits include: In the Company of Men (1997); Your Friends & Neighbors (1998); Tumble(2000); Nurse Betty (2000); Possession (2002); The Shape of Things (2003); The Wicker Man (2006); Lakeview Terrace(2008); and Death at a Funeral (2010).
Following THIS IS HOW IT GOES, Aurora Theatre Company opens its 22nd season in August with the highly-anticipated Bay Area Premiere of Obie-winning playwright Amy Herzog's AFTER THE REVOLUTION, directed by Joy Carlin. Aurora Theatre Company Artistic Director Tom Ross helms the Bay Area Premiere of Samuel D. Hunter's Obie-winning A BRIGHT NEW BOISE in November, followed by the Bay Area Premiere of Johnna Adams' provocative GIDION'S KNOT in January, directed by Jon Tracy. Josh Costello makes his Aurora directing debut in April with the Bay Area Premiere ofWITTENBERG by David Davalos. The season concludes in June with David Mamet's searing drama AMERICAN BUFFALO, directed by Barbara Damashek. As a special addition to the season, Aurora Theatre Company presents its first fully-staged production in the company's new Second Stage performance space, Harry's UpStage; award-winning Bay Area auteur Mark Jackson directs this sixth addition to the season in April, John W. Lowell's taut two-person drama THE LETTERS.
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 theOakland Tribune stated "it's all about choices, and if you value good theater, choose the Aurora."