Larry Eilenberg begins his tenure as new artistic director of San Francisco's Magic Theatre with Mules, a drama by UK playwright Winsome Pinnock, beginning previews Oct. 7.
Set to a background of reggae and R&B music, Mules follows young women from the streets and slums who, after watching the world of international jet-setters, decide to become their own "urban Cinderellas" and begin trafficking drugs from Jamaica to London. The play was commissioned by the Clean Break Theatre Company, which specifically represents former female prisoners.
Caribbean-born British playwright Pinnock is the author of numerous plays including: The Wind of Change, Leave Taking, A Hero's Welcome, and A Rock in Water.
Other shows in the Magic's Season include:
Neena Beeber's A Common Vision follows, opening Jan. 19 after starting previews Jan. 13, 1999. Not your typical romantic drama, Vision eoncompasses "love, death, faith, aliens and the nature of reality," especially when a young woman, in therapy to get over a failed romance -- is seen floating above her high-rise. Eyes For Consuela, which premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club's Second Stage last season, comes to the Magic's Cowell space, Feb. 10 (opening Feb. 12, 1999). Based on a short story by Octavio Paz, Consuela tells of a middle-aged fellow who escapes from society in a small Mexican village, only to be terrorized by a bandito who wants to cut out his eyeballs. The Shepard production caps a strong relationship between the playwright and this theatre, which offered a "Samfest" just a few weeks ago.
Life for women in a repressive, Islamic culture gets explored in Karen Hartman's Gum (opening Apr. 27, 1999), while Doug Wright's acclaimed Quills (opening May 25, 1999) looks at one of the world's least repressed people, the Marquis de Sade. Author Wright will be in residence at the Magic to direct his own play for the first time.
Also on tap for the 1998-99 season is a "Raw Play" staged reading series, featuring eight new works.
New artistic director Eilenberg replaces Mame Hunt, who left to become associate artistic director of Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre. Eilenberg has appointed Mary Coleman as associate artistic director of the Magic.
As for the Magic's 1999-00 season, the company has received a $100,000 grant from the National Theatre Artist Residency (via the Pew Charitable Trusts and TCG) to help complete and stage John O'Keefe's Bronte Cycle trilogy. A $16,500 NEA grant will also help O'Keefe and other writers in residency at the Magic.
Mules by Winsome Pinnock, starts previews Oct. 7 for an Oct. 13-Nov. 8 run. For tickets ($18-$32) or more information, call (415) 441-8822.