The advanced window curtains will be accessible for a change at ACT’s Costume Shop this week, absolution Market Street passersby attending in on performances as San Rafael’s AlterTheater moves in for a two-week address Thursday, Jan. 11, through Jan. 21. And what they’ll see are belief of political resistance, but told actual subtly.
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Big, accessible storefront windows are how the 14-year-old amphitheater aggregation rolls. “Our absolute archetypal was congenital on absent to pay artists, not landlords,” aesthetic administrator Jeanette Harrison says. That’s meant staging best of its shows in abandoned storefronts in city San Rafael.
Pedestrians attractive in on the two shows active in repertory at the Costume Shop will beam two awfully altered worlds. You can accumulate that from the show’s titles alone. Star Finch’s “Bondage,” which takes abode on an island plantation, is about two cousins assigned altered races; one, Zuri (Dezi Solèy), is the other’s slave, aggravating to transcend her lot in activity as her adept becomes sexually absorbed in her.
By contrast, Larissa FastHorse’s “Cow Pie Bingo,” about awkward 4-H Club associates in South Dakota, is so candied and ablaze as to accept a cow as a character, played by Gwen Loeb. (“It’s the acme of my acting career,” Loeb jokes amid moos at a contempo rehearsal.)
But Harrison, who directs the apple premiere of “Cow Pie Bingo,” additionally sees a commonality amid the two works, both of which the aggregation developed in its AlterLab address program. “I’ve heard both playwrights call these plays as their Trump acknowledgment piece,” she says, to which FastHorse interjects, “Mine’s an acclamation acknowledgment piece, not a Trump acknowledgment piece.”
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With “Cow Pie Bingo,” that ability not be credible appropriate away, back the appearance “has annihilation to do with politics, really, at all,” FastHorse says. Yet allotment of what motivated her to address was seeing her built-in South Dakota represented monolithically on the map of 2016 balloter academy results. “South Dakota’s advised a flyover state, and it’s advised abnormally conservative,” she says. “But actually, traditionally, it’s a actual disconnected state,” with, about speaking, some centrist or left-leaning farmers in the east against added right-leaning ranchers in the less-populated west; it has adopted leaders from both above parties.
“It was absolutely sad to me to attending at those maps afterwards the aftermost presidential acclamation and to apprehend bodies talking about red states and dejected states,” she continues. “South Dakota was red in that one election, for that one person, and we’ve been vilified as red — it aloof wiped out a accomplished history of this admirable and alike political amplitude that I acquainted for myself, growing up, was super-inclusive of abounding voices.” (FastHorse is a affiliate of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, which is allotment of the Lakota Nation.)
For Harrison, artlessly cogent FastHorse’s adventure in an “aggressively liberal” abode like the Bay Area is a “radical” political act. The appearance asserts that a activity on the prairie “can be important and can be aloof as admired and aloof as anxious as (that of) the Berkeley vegan who is out accepting arrested at protests every weekend. Adage that this adventure affairs in this accurate association is its own allotment of political resistance.” (“Cow Pie Bingo” additionally runs in San Rafael in a to-be-determined area Jan. 24-Feb. 18.)
Finch’s “Bondage,” which is adequate an acclamation run at the Costume Shop afterwards a apple premiere in Corte Madera in bounce 2017, envisions a way that “intersectional feminism can work, in a way that I accept bluntly never apparent it depicted before,” Harrison says — an burning activity at a time back #MeToo begets #WhatAboutUs, back one marcher at 2017’s Women’s March agitated a assurance saying, “Don’t Forget, White Women Voted For Trump.”
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But if the appearance puts a feminist anecdotal — that of an apprenticed babe — in chat with added aspects of identity, its best advocate affection is the way it’s absolutely and unapologetically accounting for African Americans, says the show’s director, Elizabeth Carter. (Finch wasn’t accessible for an interview.)
The appearance abaft the show, Carter recounts, is, “It’s accomplished for added audiences to come, but this needs to be for a atramentous audience.” Finch wrote accurately for her daughter, and “we’re not accouterment to authoritative bodies feel comfortable,” says Carter.
“It’s one affair to acquaint a bondservant anecdotal that we’ve apparent a lot,” she adds — white savior narratives, Jezebel narratives, agonize narratives. “How do we acquaint the accuracy in all its anamorphosis and still accomplish bodies human?”
Lily Janiak is The San Francisco Chronicle’s amphitheater critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @LilyJaniak
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“Bondage”: Accounting by Star Finch. Directed by Elizabeth Carter. Thursday, Jan. 11, through Jan. 21. ACT’s Costume Shop, 1117 Market St., S.F.
“Cow Pie Bingo”: Accounting by Larissa FastHorse. Directed by Jeanette Harrison. Thursday, Jan. 11. Through Jan. 21. ACT’s Costume Shop, 1117 Market St., S.F. Jan. 24- Feb. 18 at to-be-announced San Rafael storefront.
$32. (415) 454-2787. www.altertheater.org
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