Ubuntu Theater Project’s classic Clifford Odets depression-era drama “Waiting for Lefty” is a powerful production.

September 8, 2015

Obets work - is perfect for the UBUNTU Project, the passion of the cast and production take you inside his work.

The Oakland company, Ubuntu Theater Project closes their impressive summer season with the powerful Clifford Odets' 1935 drama WAITING FOR LEFTY. In its third season Ubuntu Project based out of UC San Diego, featured four plays performed at site-specific venues in the Oakland area.

Classic Cars West garage in uptown Oakland is the setting for a group of depression-era overworked cab drivers meeting to strike. Co-directed by Emilie Whelan and Michael Moran staged the actors in the back of the garage, and have the audience join in on the meeting to strike. As we walk into the setting, the characters are posed alongside the vintage cars, or sitting in the benches with the audience. It is a very visceral experience to be in the crowd of Odets script. The 1934 NY taxi strike is first hand in your lap as you feel the heated debate among the workers and see some dramatic flashbacks of their relationships and home life.

The company is excellent featuring some great Bay Area talent in repertory with this summer play festival.  Actors Terrance White and Emilie Whelan are superb as a couple dealing the strike and their relationship. Song and union hymns are part of the performance, so well crafted by the company, and moving when you become part of their mix.

The cast includes  Ariel Lucky, Anjelica Diaz, Colin Blattel, Dashea Wynne  Rolanda Bell, EJ Gibson, Jesse Noily, Julian Mark, Michael Moran, Sarita Ocon, William HP, William Oliver and Anthony ‘Willie’ Houston, Tim Barnett, Sean McIntyre, Britney Frazier, Francisco Arcila and MacGregor Arney. The call to arms theme of Obets work - is perfect for the UBUNTU Project, the passion of the cast and production take you inside his work.

 

 

*Co- Artistic Director, Michael Socrates Moran, who is in the cast explained the connection with UC San Diego Theatre dept: “UCSD students go on to thrive in the professional world and the partnership with the Ubuntu Theater Project provides MFA students with invaluable opportunities to bridge the gap between the academic and professional world and to take powerful artistic risks’. The Ubuntu Theater Project also provides a critical professional training ground for up-and-coming local bay area actors and partners with Laney College’s Theatre Arts Department to provide professional opportunities for students. Michael Torres, Chair of the Laney College Theatre Arts Department, says “the Ubuntu Theater Project brings what I think is much needed theater to the Bay Area and Oakland specifically. They have been a critical partner in providing our students with unique opportunities to learn alongside more seasoned artists who are also still young and just as diverse as they are.” “The Ubuntu Theater Project seeks to create a theatrical experience that is affordable to all, socially charged, and building a deeper sense of connectedness amongst our audience members that transcends beyond our performance,” says Managing Director, Colin Blattel. “The Ubuntu Theater Project is committed to shaking up the status quo in theater and committing whole heartedly to a model that brings the highest quality art for a diverse and accessible audience. And that the experience of attending the theater with people who are completely different than yourself feeds the mission of understanding and strengthening the truth that we are all interconnected.”

This is one of the best plays I have seen this season, and goes right to my BEST OF Theatre list for 2015. It runs just over 60 minutes, the house is small and maybe about 30 guests can witness this performance, so be sure to call for a reservation, or pay what you can at the door.

 

UBUNTU THEATRE PROJECT PRESENTS

Waiting For Lefty

by Clifford Odets

Directed by Emilie Whelan and Michael Scrates Moran

 

Wednesday, September 9th @ 8:00pm

Thursday, September 10th @ 7:00pm

Friday, September 11th @ 8:00pm

Saturday, September 12th @ 8:00pm

Tickets: $15-$35 online; pay-what-you-can at the door

 

Click here to buy tickets today! http://www.ubuntutheaterproject.com/#!2015-festival/c1zou

 

Running time: 60 minutes, no intermission

 

Photo’s by Natlie Khuen and Jim Carmody -  ext Photo’s Dat Vu

* Notes from Press Release

 

 

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