American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Carey Perloff announced three more plays today in San Francisco for the company’s 45th subscription season, including the first Shakespeare play A.C.T. has produced in 15 years, the West Coast premiere of a new drama from a Middle Eastern voice, and the West Coast premiere of a brand-new work fresh from the esteemed Humana Festival of New American Plays.
Perloff will direct a cast that includes many of A.C.T.’s celebrated core acting company members in a new production of Twelfth Night. This will be the first Shakespeare play to grace the American Conservatory Theater stage since Perloff’s production of The Tempest, which was the inaugural production at the American Conservatory Theater after it reopened in 1996 following the devastation of the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Emmy Award winner and Golden Globe and Academy Award–nominated actor David Strathairn (Temple Grandin and Good Night, and Good Luck), who last appeared at A.C.T. in that production of The Tempest as Prospero, will lead the cast of the West Coast premiere of Scorched, which introduces Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad to the Bay Area. The play was translated by distinguished Canadian author Linda Gaboriau and will also be directed by Perloff.
Scorched has received numerous productions around the world in several languages and was produced in Canada as the feature film Incendies, which was nominated for the 2010 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Also joining the lineup is the West Coast premiere of Jordan Harrison’s Maple and Vine, which will be directed by A.C.T. Associate Artistic Director Mark Rucker.
“Our latest selections exemplify two of our core missions at A.C.T.,” says Perloff about these three additions to the 2011–12 season, “presenting captivating new productions of classical works and charging ahead with the boldest and bravest contemporary playwrights.”
Twelfth Night, Scorched, and Maple and Vine join a season that includes the Bay Area premiere of Lorenzo Pisoni’s one-man show, Humor Abuse, David Mamet’s Broadway hit Race, and Mark Rucker’s innovative take on Kaufman and Hart’s dazzling classic comedy Once in a Lifetime.
Twelfth Night is revered as one of Shakespeare’s most rambunctious and stirring comedies. When Viola is shipwrecked and loses her twin brother, Sebastian, on an unfamiliar shore, she masquerades as a young man to serve the dashing Duke Orsino, with whom she promptly falls in love. Flummoxed by mistaken identities and clever gender-switching, the star-crossed lovers dive with abandon into some of the most exquisite love poetry in the English language.
“Twelfth Night is one of the most perfect odes to love in all its folly and confusion,” says Perloff, who will direct the production. “It’s filled with exquisite language and a fascinating blend of eros, comedy, and darkness that leaves enormous room for exploration and for rich visual and musical imaginings.”
The first Shakespearean work produced at the American Conservatory Theater since it reopened in 1996 after the devastation of the Loma Prieta earthquake, Twelfth Night celebrates the work of one of the world’s most enduring playwrights in one of the country’s most beautiful—and enduring—theaters.
After receiving more than 100 productions (in several languages) worldwide, Lebanese-Canadian writer Wajdi Mouawad’s haunting play Scorched makes its West Coast premiere at A.C.T. in a beautiful translation from the original French by Linda Gaboriau. The A.C.T. production will also be directed by Perloff and will feature Emmy Award winner and Golden Globe and Academy Award–nominated actor David Strathairn (Temple Grandin and Good Night, and Good Luck; The Tempest at A.C.T.).
“Scorched continues our deep relationship with the cutting edge of Canadian theater, and brings the turmoil and tribalism of the Middle East to the forefront for the first time at A.C.T.,” says Perloff.
In Scorched, twin siblings Janine and Simon embark on a life-changing journey to their mother’s homeland to fulfill her dying wish: finding the father and brother they never knew they had. Mouawad weaves this riveting mystery into a complex, captivating tapestry, inviting us to slowly unravel an astonishing truth. Perloff adds: “Mouawad is a major new writer whose work is acclaimed internationally but is relatively unknown in the United States; A.C.T. is thrilled to introduce him to the Bay Area.”
In Jordan Harrison’s Maple and Vine, Katha and Ryu, overwhelmed by the infinite choices of the modern world, stumble upon an enticing escape route: ditching the urban frenzy of New York to leap into a charming community of 1950s re-enactors, where life is simpler, passion is risqué, and a sparkling cocktail is the ultimate accessory. This comedy, directed in its West Coast premiere by A.C.T. Associate Artistic Director Mark Rucker, transports us to the peaceful, tree-lined streets of a carefully constructed 1955, where Katha and Ryu exchange high-rises for hi-fis and sushi lunches for Tupperware parties.