The Syringa Tree, Pamela Gien's one-woman accounting of white and black life in apartheid South Africa, will transfer from Pasadena Playhouse to Beverly Hills' Canon Playhouse for a run Dec. 5-28. Playwright Gien alternates with Gin Hammond and Eva Kaminsky in the show.
There are some 24 characters embodying Gien's semi autobiographical English family living in South Africa. The show, told from the point of view of Elizabeth, a six year-old child who doesn't yet understand the tensions and conflicts in the household shared with her parents, her brother and the beloved black nanny and her child, traces the last 30 years or so of South African history.
After its New York debut, Gien won the 2001 Drama Desk Award in the category of Solo Performance, and a 2001 Obie Award for Best Play. She left the Off-Broadway hit July 31, 2001, to concentrate on a screenplay for the piece. Syringa Tree continued Off-Broadway until June 2, 2002.
Hammond and Kaminsky have been performing Syringa Tree on a national tour, which began in October at the Bay Area's TheatreWorks. Other planned dates include the Old Globe in San Diego (late January to March 2003), Chicago Center for the Performing Arts (March to April 2002) and A Contemporary Theater (ACT) in Seattle (April-May 2003).
Larry Moss, who directed the New York and London engagements, repeats his duties here. Matt Salinger and Susan Dietz are the producers. Tickets at the Canon are $50 with a $20 student rush. The Canon Theatre is located at 205 North Canon Drive. For reservations, call (213) 365-3500.
— By Christine Ehren
and Kenneth Jones