ACT Plans Premieres of Stuck Elevator and George F. Walker's Dead Metaphor, Plus Olympia Dukakis
By Kenneth Jones
Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis will star as the Chorus Leader in Elektra, a specially commissioned new translation by London playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, in the 2012-13 season of San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre. Artistic director Carey Perloff announced the titles of the coming season on April 18.
Two world premieres are planned for 2012-13. A third premiere will be announced. Canadian playwright George F. Walker's Dead Metaphor — "a hilarious dark comedy about the hypocrisies of postwar living" — will gets its premiere Jan. 17-Feb. 10, 2013. Stuck Elevator, a fact-inspired "hip-opera opera" about a Chinese-food delivery man trapped in an elevator, will premiere April 4-28, 2013. It has music by Byron Au Yong and libretto by Aaron Jafferis.
Dead Metaphor is billed this way: "When Dean returns home from the war in Iraq, he discovers that his superior sniper skills don't get him very far in the working world. He readjusts to non-bunker life by moving in with his parents and pregnant ex-wife, then takes the only job he can get — with a crusading politician on her own mission for 'truth and justice.'"
Stuck Elevator, directed by Chay Yew, is billed as "a powerful and poignant hip-hop opera…based on the true story of a Chinese restaurant deliveryman who was trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours," according to ACT. "Sounding the alarm will open the doors to freedom, but calling for help also means calling for attention — with dire consequences for this illegal immigrant. Stuck in limbo, he launches into poignant and hilarious hallucinations about his past, present, and future. [It] unleashes an evocative collision of stories, sounds, instruments, and ideas, from immigration and labor to familial obligation and fortune cookies."
The earlier ACT hit, Humor Abuse, Lorenzo Pisoni's one-man stage memoir about a life in the circus, returns for a two-week engagement Aug. 3-19, launching the subscription season.
Following its sold-out premiere in Los Angeles, Perloff will direct Sophocles' Greek tragedy Elektra for a Bay Area run Nov. 1-25. Dukakis ("Moonstruck," "Steel Magnolias") will play the Chorus Leader opposite ACT company member René Augesen as Elektra. The staging will feature "haunting original music" by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang.
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol will play Dec. 6-29.
Augesen will play Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire Feb. 28-March 24, 2013. Mark Rucker directs.
ACT will present the Bay Area premiere of the National Theatre of Scotland's groundbreaking and internationally acclaimed production, Black Watch May 3-June 9, 2013, at San Francisco's historic Armory. Written by Gregory Burke and directed by John Tiffany (who directed Broadway's current Once), Black Watch is based on interviews Burke conducted with soldiers of the legendary Scottish regiment who served in Iraq. It uses video, song and dance to create "a visceral, complex and urgent piece of theatre told from the point of view of the soldiers."
Tom Stoppard's Arcadia will play May 16-June 9, 2013. It marks the seventh time director Perloff has collaborated with friend and colleague Stoppard during her 20-year ACT tenure, including the American premieres of Indian Ink and The Invention of Love.
All performances (except Black Watch) are at The American Conservatory Theater at 415 Geary Street in San Francisco.
For subscription information visit act-sf.org.
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