Emily Donahoe and Nelson Lee Go Back in Time in March 29 West Coast Premiere of Maple and Vine

By Kenneth Jones
March 29, 2012

American Conservatory Theater's West Coast premiere of Jordan Harrison's Maple and Vine, about modern people who escape to the past by joining a group of 1950s reenactors, plays March 29-April 22 in San Francisco.



ACT associate artistic director Mark Rucker stages the play (seen at the Humana Festival and Playwrights Horizons) about a married couple, Katha and Ryu, "a pair of stressed-out urban professionals who feel unfulfilled by the impersonal gadgets and fast-paced lifestyle of the modern world," according to ACT. "After meeting a charismatic man from a community of 1950s reenactors, they decide to swap cell phones and sushi for phone trees and fish sticks by joining a community where life is slower, passion is risqué, and a cocktail is a daily accessory. In this meticulously recreated world, where retro attitudes about gender, race, and sexuality stir up powerful questions, Katha and Ryu must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice for happiness and whether the 'good old days' were really that good."

The Maple and Vine cast includes Emily Donahoe (Broadway's 33 Variations), who plays modern business woman-turned-Betty Crocker, Katha, and Nelson Lee (world premiere of Zayd Dohrn's Outside People at Vineyard Theatre) as Ryu, Katha's Japanese American husband, a plastic surgeon who faces a job demotion — and racial prejudice — when he takes on the '50s lifestyle. The cast also features Danny Bernardy (Phaedra's Love at Cherry Lane Theatre); Julia Coffey (Once in a Lifetime at ACT); and ACT MFA graduate Jamison Jones (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Angels in America at ACT).

The creative team includes scenic designer Ralph Funicello, costume designer Alex Jaeger, lighting designer Russell H. Champa and sound designer Jake Rodriguez.

ACT is at 415 Geary Street. For more information, visit act-sf.org.