In 2001, the Aurora Theatre Company of Berkeley, California will move from its home for the last ten years at the Berkeley Club to a brand-new space in the Addison Street Arts District. With them, they'll be bringing Naomi Wallace's The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek and two Saint Joans of Arc — George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan and Jules Feiffer's Knock Knock, in which two retirees are constantly interrupted by strange visitors, including Joan of Arc.
Saint Joan kicks off the 2001-2002 season. Aurora's artistic director Barbara Oliver directs this Nobel Prize-winning adaptation of Joan of Arc's life, beginning in her girlhood when she was led by the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret to liberate France from England and ending with her death, when the English burned her as a witch. Aurora has been working its way through the works of Shaw; recent productions include Candida, The Philanderer and Mrs. Warren's Profession. Saint Joan plays Oct. 26-Dec. 2.
Wallace's Trestle at Pope Lick Creek follows, running Jan. 4-Feb. 10, 2002. Directed by Soren Oliver, this poetic drama depicts the lives of two young people caught in a dead end town in the middle of the Great Depression. 15-year-old Dalton dreams of going to college and romancing the 17-year-old tomboy, Pace. The two form a relationship, meeting every day to race a daily express train across the trestle, knowing if they fail, the train will kill them.
Typical Feiffer, Knock Knock interrupts the strange oldtimers' ruminations on philosophy with even odder visitors. A Tony nominee when it premiered in 1976, the comedy runs March 8-April 14, 2002 with direction by Aurora newcomer Michael Butler.
The final two shows are The Entertainer, starring the Bay Area's Charles Dean in the role of comedian Archie Rice (made famous by Sir Laurence Olivier), and Michael Frayn's Benefactors, the 1985 Olivier Award winner for Best Play. Aurora Theatre's producing director Tom Ross directs The Entertainer (May 10-June 16), while Joy Carlin will lead Benefactors (July 12-Aug. 18, 2002). Single tickets are $26-$30. The new Aurora Theare is located at 2081 Addison Street. For tickets, call (510) 843-4822. The Aurora Theatre Company is on the web at http://auroratheatre.org.
— By Christine Ehren