Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre Company announces 2010/11 season

Aurora Theatre Company, BerkeleyAurora Theatre Company’s artistic director Tom Ross today announced their 2010/11 season, featuring five plays.

Highlights of the 19th season include the Northern California premiere of the lost classic Trouble in Mind, Tennessee Williams’ The Eccentricities of a Nightingale and the first American production of Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

Collapse will be produced as the fully-staged anchor production in The Global Age Project (GAP), an Aurora Theatre Company initiative that encourages playwrights and directors to explore life in the 21st century and beyond. In addition, several new plays dealing with global age concerns will be chosen from an international pool of playwrights and presented in a series of developmental readings during the run of Collapse.

The season begins September 2010.

TROUBLE IN MIND

By Alice Childress
Directed by Robin Stanton
August – September, 2010
Professional Bay Area Premiere of a Lost Classic

Trouble in Mind follows a mixed-race cast attempting to mount a production of a “progressive” new play on Broadway in the 1950s. The play—an anti-lynching drama set in the South—is written by a white man and directed by a white man, and marks the first opportunity for a gifted black actress to play a leading role on Broadway. But what compromises must she make to succeed? More than 40 years after it was written, Trouble in Mind, according to The New York Times, “still has the power to make one feel its anger and humor.” Bay Area favorite Margo Hall will make her Aurora debut with this play.

PALOMINO
Written, starring and directed by David Cale
October – December, 2010
A Northern California Premiere

The San Francisco Chronicle declared David Cale “a spellbinder,” noting that as “fascinating as he is to watch, and exquisite as his verbal imagery can be, it is Cale’s gifts as a storyteller that hold an audience rapt.” In Palomino, a beautifully-realized play written for one actor, Cale inhabits five different characters of both genders to tell the story of Kieren McGrath, a handsome, literate, Central Park carriage driver who dreams of writing a great novel. When he is offered the opportunity to become an escort to a number of lonely, wealthy women, he believes he has finally found his subject. Or has he?

COLLAPSE
By Allison Moore
Directed by Jessica Heidt
January – March, 2011
A National New Play Network/GAP World Premiere

Hannah is trying desperately to hold the façade of her perfect life together, even as her husband mysteriously calls in sick to work day after day, they struggle with infertility, and Hannah herself is on the verge of being laid off. When Hannah’s sister appears on their doorstep, she brings with her a feisty, renegade attitude and an illicit package that sends the family on an odyssey into some of the quirkier corners of Minneapolis, and into the heart of their deepest fears. Jessica Heidt directs this comedy about surviving and transcending, inspired by the 2007 collapse of the Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis.
Collapse will be produced as the fully-staged anchor production in The Global Age Project (GAP), an Aurora Theatre Company initiative that encourages playwrights and directors to explore life in the 21st century and beyond. In addition, several new plays dealing with global age concerns will be chosen from an international pool of playwrights and presented in a series of developmental readings during the run of Collapse.

THE ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE
By Tennessee Williams
Directed by Tom Ross
April – May, 2011
On the 100th anniversary of Tennessee Williams’ birth

Known as “the nightingale of the Delta,” Alma Winemiller is a lonely, sensitive misfit hemmed in by her stern, puritanical father and her unstable mother. Rebellious, with an artistic temperament that her father tries to suppress, Alma finds consolation in her music and in the secret lifelong love she has for the boy-next-door. In honor of the playwright’s 100th birthday, Artistic Director Tom Ross helms this powerful play filled with all of the majestic themes, oversized characters, and gentle poetry that has earned Williams his exalted position in American theatre.

METAMORPHOSIS
by Franz Kafka, adapted by David Farr and Gísli Örn Gardarsson
Directed by Mark Jackson
June – July, 2011
The First American Professional Production

Metamorphosis is a masterful mix of horror and absurdity, telling the story of a traveling salesman’s bizarre transformation from man to man-sized insect. Award-winning Bay Area director, performer, and playwright Mark Jackson returns to Aurora, where he directed the company’s acclaimed productions of Salome and Miss Julie, to put his own unique spin on this landmark work of existential literature. Recently performed in London’s West End, Dublin, Australia, and Hong Kong, this adaptation of Kafka’s masterpiece is “the story of a very ordinary family where something awful happens,” adaptor Farr says. “But there is a lot of laughter in among the awfulness.”

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