NEW COMPANY PREMIERES SEVEN TALES OF DEATH AND GRATITUDE BY BAY AREA PLAYWRIGHTS - ‘THE GRATEFUL DEADLY’ ARE STORIES OF LIFE LOVE AND DEATH
Playland Productions opened their first set of short one acts this past March at the Exit Stage - presenting seven new works that run through March 17th. Producer Artistic Director Miyoko Sakatani says “The Grateful Deadly plays will reflect on some aspects of shock, grief, humor, humanity and death.The intention is not to imitate these art forms, but to simply tell a beautiful story. Thank you for supporting this new theatre company and we look forward to sharing this journey with you.” Miyoko opens her series of new plays bringing local favorite, director Dan Wilson to work with the seven writers “I was asked early on why isn’t this show in October? We often associate death with spirits and fear and dread, (but these are) the way death touches us and what it means to remain after others have departed.”
The playwrights include Jerome Joseph Gentes, Lorraine Midanik, LZ Zepher, Laylah de Assereto, Madeline Puccioni and two works by director Dan Wilson. The ensemble of actors include some local favorites that double for many of the roles in the seven shorts that include a host of lost souls and ghosts.
The 100 minute performance begins with a story about dating called APRES VIEW featuring the impressive Julie Wilde, AJ Davenport, and Sandy Rough Anderson. Written by Jerome Joseph Gentes he explores a date with two women who were waiting for that special dinner table at a high end restaurant. They realize the reservation was just for one and opens the gate to their death. The actors are all curious and the staging really brings the Ghost tale a nice edge. Next story Lorraine Midanik’s short play features a self driving car with the personality of its dead creator. The wonderful AJ Davenport holds her own in RECALCULATING with a sexy voice of David Boyll as the mind of its own witty, urgent, talking auto that brings his wife home.
OCTOBER 8TH, BEST NIGHT EVER by L. Z Zepher “You meet your soulmate. You dance. You make love. She leaves you. She returns…sort of.” Two lovers meet and one, after death, returns once a year for that best night. The wonderful Miia Ashley, Leigh Ann Cannon and Sandy Rouge Anderson are featured in this short well written moment of love that never ends. THE VISIT by Laylah Muran de Assereto also features Cannon, Wilde and Ashley this time two friends Ina and Noelle meet at the family’s cabin. But a mysterious “spirit” arrives reminding Noelle to “wake up” the movement of the actors was clever and Wilson’s direction was fluid and Ashley’s performance is the highlight.
Director Dan Wilson wrote two plays - in STILL LIFE the grandkids deal with their robotic reconstructed grandparents. The accomplished David Boyll and superb Ashley play the dead grandparents scary good as they upset grandkids, Adrian K Wu and Julia Wilde who deal with the hi tech creepy Will. The vibrant Sandy Rouge Anderson tries to console the kids as they freak out about the sexual tension that blows up in this very funny take on greedy kids. The enthusiastic Wu makes his SF stage debut as the perfect jaded teen and Wilde shows her professional comic skills as the older stern sister.
Wilson’s second play TEN MINUTES TO ETERNITY: Charlotte, Stuart and Mickey await the execution of the man who murdered their loved one. It’s a long 10 minutes to see the man die. The powerful Davenport shines in this story spilling out her feelings towards the man who ended her son. The excellent Cannon plays her daughter and is filled with emotion and a perfect performance dealing with seeing death face on. The compelling David Boyll also witnesses the horror, and is sharp as Stuart and shows intense authentic fear.
The 100 minute performance ends with the elegant THE TALE OF SETSUMI AND HER BELOVED NOBU by Madeline Puccioni from 3Girls Theatre, she stages the most impressive of the seven stories of death. In an ancient tale of love and death the noble Nobu must help Setsumi's spirit journey to the Pure Land, but first he must confront Namazu, the horrible river monster. This final play features the entire company; Sandy Rouge Anderson, Miia Ashley, David Boyll, LeighAnn Cannon, Aj Davenport, Julia Collins (Wilde), Adrian K Wu as Nobu.
The colored masks and costumes make this fable Asian tale a highlight of Playland Production Debut production. Amelia Adams’ authentic masks and props and Richard Gutierrez’ costumes and wigs bring the new work a fantasy feel that is bravo. The lighting by Madison Worthington is colorful and magical - and his projections for the other plays are foolproof. Skilled stage manager Sami Cowan has the cast move the set pieces on and off stage designed by director Wilson. Dramaturg Anthony Clarvoe brings a simple arc to each of the short plays and each writer brings their own feel for peace, life and death. Producer Sakatani is your host for the performance and she is thrilled that this first Playland production has been a success. They have other works set for future dates this summer and fall.
PLAYLAND PRODUCTIONS Presents
THE GRATEFUL DEADLY
An Anthology of Original One Act Plays
Directed by Dan Wilson
Jerome Joseph Gentes, Lorraine Midanik, LZ Zepher, Laylah de Assereto,
Madeline Puccioni and Dan Wilson
FINAL PERFORMANCES: Thursday, March 15th at 8pm,
Friday, March 16th at 8pm, Saturday, March 17th at 3pm and 8pm.
The Exit Theatre
156 Eddy St. San Francisco
100 minutes no intermission
TICKETS: Pay what you can for all performances
ENSEMBLE CAST: Sandy Rouge Anderson, Miia Ashley,David Boyll, LeighAnn Cannon, Aj Davenport, Julia Collins (Wilde), Adrian K Wu
DRAMATURG: Anthony Clarvoe, STAGE MANAGER: Sami Cowan, COSTUMES/WIGS/PROPS: Richard Gutierrez , SOUND/SET DESIGN: Dan Wilson, LIGHTING DESIGN: Madi Worthington, SET BUILDER: Rajiv Vijaykumar