Posts tagged Michael Socrates Moran
The Art Of Politically Engaged Art

The Ubuntu Theater Project is the most politically engaged theater company in the Bay Area, but if you like your theater to come with answers then Ubuntu will thwart you at every turn. Their latest, the world premiere of Lisa Ramirez’s Down Here Below is a rousing re-imagining of Maxim Gorky’s The Lower Depths from which it takes both spiritual and aesthetic inspiration. An unsentimental and sharp depiction of the closing of an Oakland homeless encampment (imagine Snow Park at Lakeside and Harrison), Ramirez’s play — with a cast of twenty and running just 65-minutes — is both epic and swift.

Like her earlier To The Bone, which Ubuntu produced in 2017, Ramirez shows a great talent for taking the carcass of the socially engaged play and reanimating it with real artistic feeling and ideas. In an age where the rhetoric of our artists have become as threadbare as our politicians, it’s a relief to experience a political play that believes in the demands of art and the strange contours of actual experience.

‘Down Here Below’ runs through April 28 at the side theater at FLAX art and design on 15th and MLK in Oakland. For tickets and information click here. For the Full Review click here.

Read More
A Daring Failure That's A Success, Kind Of

One of Ubuntu theater’s great successes is how they treat social justice as a theatrical project, a real art. Each play is a provisional response to a never-ending problem. There is not one truth, but many. There is not one situation or conflict, but multiple fronts. There is no solution, only the fight that continues from production to production.

And that brings us to their latest battle, three hours and twenty-minutes of Bertolt Brecht’s anti-war, epic, Mother Courage And Her Children. Under Emilie Whelan’s vigorous, though up-and-down, direction, the company makes a radical case for Brecht, testing the limits of his vision, what ambitious theater can do, and what Ubuntu can accomplish. Not everything is successful, but it is fascinating and bracing and unusual.

‘Mother Courage And Her Children’ runs through March 3 at Lisser Hall on the Mills College Campus in Oakland. For tickets and information click here. For the Full Review click here.

Read More