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“A Lesson From Aloes” Explodes a Thorny Past , at Z Below, S.F.

“A Lesson From Aloes” Explodes a Thorny Past , at Z Below, S.F.

Millennial Notes Athol Fugard Stuns with Painful Memories   by Evelyn Arevalo South African playwright Athol Fugard pieces together a compelling story that examines racism, friendship, and fear at its very core. “Lesson from Aloes,” set in 1963, in apartheid South Africa masterfully explores the realities of the country’s enforced racial separation, using sizzling symbolism. Resourceful Piet (dynamic Victor Talmadge) and distressed Gladys (enchanting Wendy vanden Heuvel) are waiting for the arrival of their longtime family friend Steve (captivating Adrian…

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“Scapegoat”—Comic Artist Soars Close to Sun, at Playground Festival, S.F.

“Scapegoat”—Comic Artist Soars Close to Sun, at Playground Festival, S.F.

  Millennial Notes William Bivins Grapples with Graphic U.S. Racism by Michael V. Rodriguez In William Bivins’ play, there’s one thing alt-right and Black Lives Matter protesters can agree on: they both hate “Scapegoat.”  The Black superhero, created by aging graphic novelist Clive Booker, fights racism by absorbing racists’ negative energy. Clive’s curious critique of race relations in his floundering comic art irritates everyone, including himself. In this action-packed drama of creator and created, Bivins sketches the dangers of commenting…

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“American Jornalero” Incarnates Workers’ Woes, at Ubuntu, Oakland

“American Jornalero” Incarnates Workers’ Woes, at Ubuntu, Oakland

Cardona, Collins Expose Exploitation on the Street by Robert M. Gardner In “American Jornalero,” director Tioni Collins takes a harsh and revealing look at the lives of four day- laborers who gather on a bleak street to look for work.  Only a cell phone and a graffiti-covered pay phone connect them to the world.  The four workers anxiously await calls—for a job, or even a lead. Ed Cardona Jr.’s “American Jornalero,” which premiered in New York in 2012, becomes a…

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“Office Hour”: A Dose of Bone Chilling Reality, at Berkeley Rep

“Office Hour”: A Dose of Bone Chilling Reality, at Berkeley Rep

Julia Cho Grapples with the Unthinkable, Masterfully by Drew Lehman Sometimes a play just rings true. “Office Hour” by Julia Cho at Berkeley Rep delivers a fine story, first-rate actors, and an eerie set. In this masterful piece, she asks: Does mental illness lead to horrific school shootings, or are discrimination, bullying, and racism at work? Cho searches for answers to the unanswerable, staring unflinchingly at stark reality. During a student-teacher conference, a compassionate adjunct writing professor Gina (letter-perfect Jackie…

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