THE VICE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE BECOMES A DETENTION HALL FOR A KEY TO THE LOST ‘NORTH POOL’
A savvy 18 year old high school student is confronted by his Vice Principal, during a detention session that becomes one of playwright Rajiv Joseph’s best works. THE NORTH POOL is now on stage only until Jan 19th at the Potrero Stage. Bread and Butter Theatre presents their first play of the 2019 on this cozy black box stage with a terrific two person drama that features Zaya Kolia as Khadim and Bruce Avery as Dr. Danielson. Directed by Lana Palmer she says “At midpoint of the play, Dr Danielson compares people to onions/ when all these layers are stripped away, we are left with two humans, both struggling, both in need.” The 80 minute play takes place at an American High School in 2007.
Playwright Rajiv Joseph experiments with a variety of dramatic styles, he is known for symbolic and acclaimed scripts like Gruesome Playground Injuries, and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. In his 2013 The North Pool, Joseph proved that the old fashioned naturalistic take on a scene, where much of the story has already occurred. The play, takes place in real time as the two confront each other. The NORTH POOL keeps the audience in suspense, the high school senior and vice-principal match wits against a subtext of suicide, a secret bomb shelter and corruption. Palmer’s engrossing, entangling direction, builds the secrets and the suspense behind a passive aggressive interrogation. She keeps her two actors at odds and the audience guessing on who is in real control.
The terrific Zaya Kolia plays Khadim and brings his professional take on a troubled teen. Kolia’s compelling rebellion and bravado teen angst as he says “I can do anything I want.” He also shows his deep sadness for a lost friend. If Khadim is hiding things, he has his reasons. I am anxious to see Kolia’s future projects he is an ideal up and coming actor. Bruce Avery avoids being the bully adult authority and is accomplished as Khadim turns the table on him. Both discover lies that each tell, Joseph sharply changes the tone in the discussion between the two. Khadim’s school locker is full of mysteries, like the old high school full of crawlspaces and tunnels lead to an underground “north pool.” The pool is a code word for an abandoned fallout shelter from the Cold War era.
The acting is vibrant in this 80 minute play and performed on Isaac Fine’s stark confining set with only two chairs, and plenty of space for the actors to pace and battle their madness. Rajiv Joseph THE NORTH POOL refuses to go anywhere you think it will or should. Joseph’s honesty is reflected in two authentic performances. An equal clash of characters that is the only way that truth and accountability can happen. THE NORTH POOL must close this weekend, great seats remain at the door and the parking near the Potrero Stage is always easy. Open your 2019 theatre season with a visit to this Vice Principals office.
Bread & Butter Theatre Presents
THE NORTH POOL
By Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Lana Palmer
With Bruce Avery and Zaya Kolia
Must Close January 19th
1695 18th Street
San Francisco, California 94107