TWO GENERATIONS OF A FAMILY SEEK HAPPINESS AND BETTER LIVES IN THIS FAIRYTALE OF HOPE AND LOVE
ON THE PERIPHERY a living hill of garbage fills the Potrero Stage this spring in a co-production by Golden Thread Productions and Crowded Fire Theater Company. Genies and Angels is a fictional Turkish neighborhood where families and communities live happily from other peoples' throw-aways. ON THE PERIPHERY is now on stage at the Potrero Arts Center through April 4th. The artistic directors of Crowded Fire, Mina Morita, and Golden Thread, Torange Yeghiazarian, say this is a rare play that is universal “Tamar and Azad remind us that we have more in common with those living in the Middle East that we might imagine.” Director Erin Gilley brings an excellent cast of six diverse actors to bring this powerful image of two generations searching for love and better lives.
Writer Sedef Ecer’s new play follows two generations of a family following their dream. We meet a young couple Tamar and Azad played by the dynamic Leila Rosa and Zaya Kolia ready to leave their slum for a new life in Paris. Farmers Dilsha and Bilo played by the terrific Sofia Ahmad and Lijesh Krishnan explain the power of their village and the hill of trash that keeps them alive. A gypsy wanderer, Kibele, played by the marvelous Olivia Rosaldo-Pratt lives on the periphery of Genies and Angels. Kibele finds home in a shack she has made with her own hands. The set by Kate Boyd includes the doors, windows and tin walls that make up the village. It is deep yet colorful, set to tone by Cassie Barnes lighting design.
Azad and Tamar watch their broken TV and are taken by reality star Sultane played by the vibrant Ayla Yarkut. By the glow of their broken television the lovers are encouraged to dream about their move from the slum. The fantasy side of Sultane brings an Oprah fairy godmother subtext to the story. Ecer takes us back and forth to the two couples as we realize we are in two different eras. Ayla Yarkut brings a distant reality to the story and promotes the toxic weed killer produced by the factory that turns the city of garbage into a profit. Krishman and Ahmad as the two farmers have babies that follow the same path. Both actors are excellent and authentic; the couple explains their journey from their village to the city’s periphery.
Kolia is ideal as the young boyfriend taking his girlfriend to the periphery, then understanding how the slums of Paris are the same. Rosa is stellar in the arms of her lover and the two have perfect stage timing. Krishnan and Ahmad bring the needed passion to Ecer’s dark fantasy. Her play educates us, and he uses the headlines from the real garbage cities that exist today. The feel of her work comes close to another play set in France called THE JUNGLE by Joe Murphy based on the homeless camps of central Europe. Ecer’s work has more of a fantasy feel and the Sultane fairy godmother gives ON THE PERIPHERY a folk song for the reality for the poor and homeless that live in the positive moment.
Director Gilley created a space for her actors to bring this excellent tale to move any audience and also create hope. Gilley who is also a projection video designer brought on Projection Designer Nima Dehghami to create the real images of a Turkish Village and the Sultans TV studio. Costume Designer Maggie Whitaker brings a realistic tone to each actor's look. But the Sultane stood out dressed in her sequent gowns.
The environment feel is clever by Sound Designer James Ard’s sounds of a Turkish village. The play is powerful work of hope and courage and the teaming of Crowded Fire Theatre and Golden Thread is a perfect match for these deep needed new works. Next up at Golden Thread is JOGGING that opens May 2nd at Brava Stage. Sept 10th THE DISPLACED opens staged by Crowded Fire. But in the meantime ON THE PERIPHERY is one of the few shows still open during the Bay Area’s COVID-19 shutdowns. So many local stages have unfortunately closed due to City recommendations.
Golden Thread Productions
and Crowded Fire Theater present
On the Periphery
by Sedef Ecer
Translated by Evren Odcikin
Directed by Erin Gilley
Must close April 4, 2020
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm & Sundays at 2pm
Running time 90 minutes
Potrero Stage | 1695 18th Street, San Francisco
Tickets www.porterostage.org or call (415) 992-6677
Photos by David Allen Studio.
Cast: Ayla Yarkut*, Leila Rosa, Zaya Kolia, Lijesh Krishnan, Sofia Ahmad*, Olivia Rosaldo-Pratt. Creative Team: Kate Boyd (Scenic Design), Cassie Barnes (Lighting Design), James Ard^ (Sound Design), Maggie Whitaker (Costume Design), Kenan Arun (Makeup Design), Nima Dehghani (Projection Design), Stephanie Alyson (Production Manager), Beckett Finn (Technical Director), Bri Owens (Stage Manager), Rachel Mogan (Assistant Stage Manager), Sophie Burke (Assistant Stage Manager)
Golden Thread Productions is the first American theatre company devoted to plays from or about the Middle East, defined broadly and inclusively. We produce passionate and provocative plays and are a developmental catalyst and vibrant artistic home to artists at various stages of their career. We bring the Middle East to the American stage, creating treasured cultural experiences for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Crowded Fire Theater’s ensemble produces poetic, bold theater created by new and contemporary artists. We seek to engage our community by producing adventurous work, innovative in structure, which addresses the diverse political and social concerns of our audiences.