The Magic Theatre of San Francisco, which gained international reputation as an artistic home for Sam Shepard in the 1970s and '80s, has announced its 29th season, filled with collections, collaborations and premieres, as well a new work by Shepard.
The season opens with the world premiere of Pieces of the Quilt, a collection of 16 original short plays and monologues by some of America's greatest working playwrights (October).
Pieces of the Quilt was conceived by San Francisco actor Sean San Jose Blackman,whose parents both have died of AIDS. His compulsion to create a healing theatrical piece in his mother's honor caused him to persistently contact various playwrights, asking them to contribute 10-15 minute pieces that would deal directly with the subject of AIDS.
Participating playwrights include Edward Albee, Jon Robin Baitz, Sandra Bernhard, Migdalia Cruz, Maria Irene Fornes, Philip Kan Gotunda, Danny Hoch, David Henry Hwang, Naomi Iizuka, Tony Kushner, Terrence McNally, Ntozake Shange, Roger Guenveur Smith, Octavio Solis, Erin Cressida Wilson and Lanford Wilson.
Only seven to nine of the plays will be performed at the Magic, where the other plays will be workshopped for future full-blown productions in Los Angeles and other cities. Following Quilt will be the West Coast Premiere of David Mamet's The Cryptogram (January), an exploration of a disintegrating marriage and betrayal as seen through the eyes of a young boy. The Magic is currently looking to cast a young boy, age 10-12, in the lead role.
Poet and up-and-coming playwright Brighde Mullins will premiere her new play Topographical Eden in Mid-March. The young Honey has grown up searching for her mother in Las Vegas. Her fantasies of reunion include finding her mother at the Our Lady of Las Vegas Shrine in the Lady Luck Casino, and witnessing her, tattooed and riding off into the sunset on a Harley.
Following its world premiere at the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival, the new Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin collaboration When the World Was Green, arrives at the Magic in mid-April. It is an interview between an imprisoned old man and a young female journalist.
Rounding out the mainstage season in mid-June is the West Coast premiere of Quincy Long's The Joy of Going Somewhere Definite. Using traditional song and onstage sound effects likes ones used in radio plays, Long's play exposes three unemployed loggers on a cold winters night, as they try to fulfill a mission of reuniting a drunken stranger with his wife.
In the MagicTOO, the second stage used for less traditional work at a less expensive ticket cost, the season begins with Hunting for Moby Dick, put together by the San Francisco collective Ghostlight Theatre Company (September), drawn from the novel and Melville's letters.
Next up is a holiday musical spoof, It's a Pretty Good Life by O-Lan Jones and Kathleen Cramer, in which two performing artists find themselves without a cast for their version of A Christmas Carol, and end up casting a loony lot of well-known musicians.
In May, in conjunction with San Francisco's Modus Ensemble, MagicTOO will present Anne Bogart's new ensemble work Going, Going, Gone, exploring the collision of vocabulary and philosophy. In June, the MagicTOO season closes with Open Theatre's 1969 Terminal 1996, originally created by Joe Chaikin and Susan Yankowitz in 1969. The discourses on death and survival in the original have been updated by new and original members of the Open.
For tickets and more information on Magic Theatre's 1996-97 season, call (415) 441-8822.