A new version of Hedda Gabler by Jon Robin Baitz and the Canadian play, Tough!, are two of the season attractions in the Aurora Theatre Company of Berkeley, CA's ninth season at the Berkeley Club, the final for the group in that venue. A new home for the Aurora Theatre is under construction in downtown Berkeley.
Baitz, author of The Substance of Fire and Mizlansky/Zilinsky, Or Schmucks, brings his own style to Henrik Ibsen's classic drama of an unhappy woman locked in a loveless middle-class marriage. Set designer and director Loy Arcenas directs. Gabler plays April 6-May 13, 2001.
Tough!, written by George F. Walker (Nothing's Sacred, Criminals in Love), finds three teenagers trying to be just that -- tough -- as Bobby sits in an urban playground, wanting to break up with his girlfriend despite the fact that she's pregnant and her best friend wants to kill him. Soren Oliver directs Tough!, running January 26-March 4, 2001.
First things first, however. Opening the season will be George Bernard Shaw's early comedy, The Philanderer, running Sept. 8-Oct. 15. A look at gender roles, Philanderer mocks what happens when "manly men" and "womenly women" pretend there's no difference between the sexes. Aurora artistic director Barbara Oliver directs the play, set to star Charles Dean, Simon Vance, Jack Powell and Susan-Jane Harrison. Performances begin Sept. 8 for a run through Oct. 15.
Aurora will be the first Bay Area company to present Conor McPherson's 1998 Olivier-winning play, The Weir, playing Nov. 10-Dec. 17. Set in a rural pub in Ireland, The Weir weaves ghost stories together, culminating in the tragic true life tale of a female stranger from Dublin. Aurora managing director Tom Ross directs. The company closes its final season in the Berkeley Club with David Mamet's A Life in the Theatre, running June 8-July 15. In A Life in the Theatre, two actors, Robert and John find themselves at odds as to the meaning of theatre; Robert's experience has taught him there is no meaning, while young John's enthusiasm is poisoned by Robert's cynicism, turning his admiration for the older actor into disillusionment. Nancy Carlin directs.
Single tickets are $35-$26. The Berkeley City Club is located at 2315 Durant Avenue. For tickets, call (510) 843-4822. The Aurora Theatre Company is on the web at http://auroratheatre.org.
-- By Christine Ehren