Aurora Theatre Company continues its 19th season with Minneapolis-based playwright Allison Moore’s Collapse. This surprising comedy, which originated as one of Aurora Theatre Company’s Global Age Project (GAP) finalists last season, is the second main stage production to develop from the GAP; it will receive its main stage debut as a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, a collaboration with Aurora Theatre Company (lead theater), Curious Theatre in Denver, and Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas.
Director Jessica Heidt, as well as original GAP cast members Aldo Billingslea, Gabriel Marin, Carrie Paff, and Amy Resnick, reprise their roles for Aurora’s main stage production of this comedy about surviving and transcending, inspired by the 2007 collapse of the Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis. Collapse plays January 28 through March 6 at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley.
In Collapse, Hannah tries desperately to hold the façade of her perfect life together, even as her husband, David, 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 David and Hannah on a 12-hour odyssey into some quirky corners of Minneapolis, and into the heart of their deepest fears.
Collapse will be the fully-staged anchor production in this season’s Global Age Project, an Aurora Theatre Company new works initiative that encourages playwrights and directors to explore life in the 21st century and beyond. This year’s GAP finalists include: Fire Work by Lauren Gunderson; Silent Disco by Lachlan Philpott; Bird in the Hand by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas; and Our Practical Heaven by Anthony Clarvoe. The selected plays will be presented as staged readings in a four-week festival at the Aurora Theatre, Mondays, February 7-28, 7:30pm. All GAP readings are free and open to the public.
Aurora Theatre Company has assembled a talented ensemble for Collapse. Carrie Paff returns to Aurora Theatre Company as Hannah; she was last seen at Aurora in the West Coast Premiere of Craig Lucas’s Small Tragedy and in Betrayal. Regional credits include productions at American Conservatory Theater, Marin Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Center REPertory Company, and Word for Word, among others. Paff is the co-founder of StageWrite, Building Literacy through Theatre.
Also returning is Gabriel Marin as David. Marin was most recently seen in Aurora Theatre Company’s productions of Jack Goes Boating and The Devil’s Disciple; he also appeared in the company’s productions of St. Joan, The Glass Menagerie, and Gunplay. Additional credits include Superior Donuts at TheatreWorks, A Number at Center REPertory Company, The Creature at Black Box Theatre, Landscape of the Body at SF Playhouse, and A Streetcar Named Desire at Marin Theatre Company, among others.
Amy Resnick returns to Aurora Theatre Company as Susan in Collapse. The recipient of several Dramalogue and Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle awards, Resnick was last seen at the Aurora in the West Coast Premiere of Small Tragedy, and the company’s critically acclaimed production of The Old Neighborhood. Additional credits include productions at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, TheatreWorks, La Jolla Playhouse, SF Playhouse, San Jose Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Lincoln Center, and Alliance Theatre, among others. She also co-starred in the feature film “Haiku Tunnel” with Josh Kornbluth and appeared in “The Sure Thing,” directed by Rob Reiner.
Aldo Billingslea makes his Aurora debut as Ted in Collapse. Credits include productions at Marin Theatre Company (In The Red & Brown Water, The Hairy Ape, Splittin’ the Raft), TheatreWorks (The Elephant Man, Radio Golf), Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Magic Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, Cutting Ball Theater, Center REPertory, 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.
Director Jessica Heidt makes her Aurora Theatre Company main stage directing debut with Collapse. Heidt is the Artistic Director of Climate Theater, where she recently directed the World Premiere of The Man of Rock by Daniel Heath, The Bright River by Tim Barsky (Climate/Brava), and (((Jawvox))) by Joshua Walters. Heidt served as Associate Artistic Director at the Magic Theatre for nine years, where she directed World Premiere productions by Betty Shamieh (The Black Eyed, Territories) and Chantal Bilodeau (Pleasure and Pain). Additional directing credits include productions at Brava Theater, AlterTheater, Abydos, PlayGround, The Lark (NYC), and Snap Judgment Productions (NPR); SF Weekly named her Best Director in 2007. Heidt has worked as a casting director with many Bay Area film and theater companies, including Aurora Theatre Company, BBC Radio, Encore Theatre, Magic Theatre, Reflective Films, SF Playhouse, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Theater on the Square, and Traveling Jewish Theater (The Jewish Theatre San Francisco). She teaches at institutions throughout the Bay Area, including the University of San Francisco, San Jose State University, American Conservatory Theater, and Film Acting Bay Area.
Allison Moore’s plays has been developed or produced at the Guthrie Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Marin Theatre Company, The Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and The Playwrights’ Center, among others. Her play American Klepto was developed at the 2006 TheatreWorks New Works Festival and was nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. SF Playhouse presented the Northern California Premiere of her play Slasher, which was a hit at the 2009 Humana Festival. Her stage adaptation of Willa Cather’s novel My Antonia premiered at Illusion Theater in the spring of 2010. Moore is a two-time Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow, two-time McKnight Fellow, and a Bush Artists Fellow; she currently has a pilot in development with The CW/Warner Brothers Television.
Aurora Theatre Company, Berkeley
DATES: Previews: January 28, 29, February 2 at 8pm; January 30 at 2pm; February 1 at 7pm
Opens: February 3, 2011; Closes: March 6, 2011
GAP Readings: Mondays, February 7-28, 7:30pm (free and open to the public)
Friday Forum: Friday, February 18 – Recognizing the Moment of Change in Community
Role Play Night: Friday, March 4 – Finding Characters at the Heart of Fear and Terror
SHOWS: Tuesdays at 7pm; Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm and 7pm
WHERE: Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA