Ari here, soon to be leaving on another jet plane – back in 36 hours — off to American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco to be on a panel Sunday following the matinee performance of AFTER THE WAR, a world premiere by Philip Kan Gotanda directed by my newish friend, Carey Perloff. Here’s the description of the play:
When the U.S. government imprisoned more than 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, San Francisco’s bustling Japantown suddenly became an urban ghost town. But what happened when the Japanese Americans came back? Radiantly hopeful, heart-wrenchingly honest, and deeply infused with the jazz rhythms of the Fillmore district, After the War is a powerful valentine to San Francisco-and to the everyday people who built this city with their lives, loves, and stories.
The discussion will center around making theater for one’s one community—based on stories that derive from that community—as it reflects their experiences of war and its aftermath. Black, Jewish and Gay theater directors and the culturally-specific theaters they run will discuss parallel issues of making candid, sometimes difficult, challenging work that exposes the community they serve.
The invitation to speak at ACT comes from Carey Perloff herself, their artistic director, and it’s a terrific opportunity to deepen a relationship there, with her theater. Carey is a playwright as well, with family roots in Vienna. She’s written a few plays I’m interested in, including several new ones. She runs a huge theater and has figured out a way to stay prolific as a playwright. I’m planning on learning a thing or two from her!
Also will have meeting with Aaron Davidman, our commissioned performance artist who is deep into the creation of the work he’ll share with us at our Voices from a Changing Middle East festival. (You remember, it’s called CHASING JUSTICE/SEEKING TRUTH: MUSINGS ON THE PARALLEL (BUT RADICALLY DIFFERENT) LIVES AND DEATHS OF RACHEL CORRIE AND DANIEL PEARL).
Aaron’s also just directed a Jewish version of DEATH OF A SALESMAN starring Traveling Jewish Theatre co-founder, the great Corey Fischer (Aaron’s the AD there now). I’ll see it with my aunt and brother in law tonight. And I’ll also see Charlie Varon, the wonderful humorist and performance artist, as we discuss his new work, RABBI SAM, which had a great reading this fall in our Tea @ 2 series. Charlie’s directed a show at the Marsh Theatre which I’ll also see today at 5 pm – it’s called TINGS DEY HAPPEN (I think) and it’s about Nigerian oil politics. I’m told it’s a huge hit there.
So it’s a quick trip and then I turn around for a red-eye back on Sunday night and am in rehearsals, back with Keneally and Crew. The work on Act II, as Hannah suggests, is overwhelmingly powerful. And upsetting.
Good to get away? Well, I don’t want to leave. But I love the opportunity to connect with kindred theater artists on the other side of the country. And then back where I belong.