Posts tagged Ubuntu Theater Project
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.

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'Hamlet' Burns With Deranged Passions

In many ways, the Ubuntu Theater Project’s Hamlet is a strict and traditional one, taking seriously all the play has to offer—its boundless energy, the way it repeatedly flirts with dramatic collapse and chaos, the biting humor, and the force of Hamlet’s mind and soul. And then that extra bit, the minds and souls of all the people of the world that surround him, too. That’s something an Ubuntu production would never overlook.

Ubuntu keeps on staking ground in a variety of material—the vicious melodrama of Hurt Village, the devastating, political violence of To the Bone, and this Hamlet, which burns with an intensity so ridiculous that parts of it will make you cry.

‘Hamlet’ runs through November 4 at the Flight Deck in Downtown Oakland. For tickets and information click here. For the Full Review click here.

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