Moral Humans /
Our 2019 Season, Moral Humans/Immoral Society, explores the systems in which we live—whether economic, political, or social—and the ways in which we struggle to transcend them.
“All the shows in our 2019 season speak to this theme of individuals trying to live ethical lives within enormous systems,” says Ubuntu Executive Director Michael Socrates Moran, “whether they are individuals caught in a system, individuals caught in oppression from a system, or individuals trying to transcend an institution and all that comes with it.”
Mother Courage and Her Children
FEB 8–Mar 3, 2019
Considered by many to be the greatest play of the 20th century, Bertolt Brecht's music-infused drama, translated by Tony Kushner, explores the mechanisms that perpetuate war through the experiences of one embattled woman and her family, directed by Emilie Whelan (A Streetcar Named Desire, Waiting for Lefty).
“Brecht has such an exquisite mind and a revolutionary spirit. He knows how to create an experience in which everyone feels welcome.”
—Emilie Whelan, Director
Down Here Below
APR 5–28, 2019
Following the TBA Award–winning TO THE BONE (2017), Associate Artist Lisa Ramirez offers a fresh take on Maxim Gorky’s groundbreaking 1901 drama The Lower Depths, re-locating his unflinching portrait of poverty in 20th-century Russia to a homeless encampment in modern-day Oakland. Fellow Associate Artist Michael French directs this World Premiere ensemble production.
“The Lower Depths was one of those plays that changed the Russian theater in that it offered scenes from everyday life. People either left the theater infuriated because they were seeing real life, or exhilarated because they were seeing real life. DOWN HERE BELOW is set in a homeless encampment in Oakland, and I am writing the play for 25 company members. It’s a monster of a play and we’re really excited to present it.”
—Lisa Ramirez, Playwright
How I Learned What I Learned
APR 30–MAY 5, 2019
In partnership with Marin Theatre Company and the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Ubuntu presents the Bay Area Premiere of August Wilson’s autobiographical one-man play, directed by Margo Hall. Written in 2003 and originally performed by Wilson himself, the play details his life as a young writer in Pittsburgh, from early jobs and a stint in jail to experiences with racism, music, love, and friendship.
“It is hilarious. You’d think it would be serious, but it is so funny. It’s just him on stage with all these great stories. It’s a major collaboration across the board, and I’m excited.” —Margo Hall, Director
Romeo and Juliet
MAY 17–JUN 9, 2019
Following productions of Othello (2016) and Hamlet (2018), Ubuntu takes on Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy of star-crossed lovers, exploring the way prejudice between two communities fails the younger generation.
In the city of Verona, the Capulet and Montague families are caught in a decades-long feud—and their children are caught in the crucible of adolescence.
As societal expectations clash with youthful rebellion, stakes that started high soon become deadly.
Directed by Susannah Martin, Shakespeare’s best-known tragedy asks incisive questions about the consequences of entrenched power, inherited expectations, and cycles of retribution. In a world of violence, what does it cost to choose love?
“Life and Death are palpably real for Romeo and Juliet,” said Director Susannah Martin. “A love story of two young people who have already seen their fair share of anger, hatred, death and destruction feels very ripe for the world we’re all living in.”
Aug 2–25, 2019
California is the U.S. state most affected by human trafficking—and Oakland is a national hub for underage sex trafficking. In 52 Letters (Winner, Best of SF Fringe Festival 2013), Oakland artist and activist Regina Evans combines poetry and Negro spirituals into a deeply moving experience that brings to light the realities of young Americans caught in modern-day slavery.
52 Letters, written and performed by Regina Evans with vocals by Rashida Chase, is not a traditional play. It is a ritual of truth. A ceremony of awareness. A prayer of activation on behalf of the beloved children caught in sex trafficking. They are somebody’s baby. They are somebody’s child. And they are ours to love.
Long Day's Journey Into Night
OCT 5–27, 2019
Widely considered his finest work, Eugene O’Neill’s Tony- and Pulitzer Award-winning drama follows the Tyrones—a family shaped by addiction, obsession, and regret—through a single day in August as years of secrets begin to emerge.
“One thing that attracts me to this piece is that the characters are all trapped within the institution of the family, while the force of love is trying to break them free. I am also drawn to the fact that this family is made up of recent immigrants, and I am excited to see how this play might reveal the immigrant story in our time.”
—Michael Moran, Ubuntu Executive Director
NOV 8–DEC 1, 2019
Rounding out the season, a centuries-old epic takes center stage in a new one-actor adaptation by Geetha Reddy, featuring Ubuntu Company Member J Jha (Waiting for Godot, Death of a Salesman, Pool of Unknown Wonders).
“This is a work that was always alive and that was often told by a single narrator for specific audiences, and specific times and places. And what we’re hoping to do is re-animate it for our time, and for ourselves.”
—Geetha Reddy, Playwright
Pay-what-you-can for a year of unforgettable theater
As a Subscriber, you will receive:
• One ticket to each production in the 2019 Season
• Free ticket exchanges if you can’t make your original performance date
• One free companion ticket to one performance of your choice (per subscription)
• Priority waitlist for sold-out performances
• Early access to single tickets
When you subscribe at a pay-what-you-can price, you also support local artists and support accessible ticket pricing throughout the season.