Photo by  Jose Manuel Moctezuma

Photo by Jose Manuel Moctezuma


April 5–May 5, 2019

by Lisa Ramirez
directed by Michael French
inspired by Maxim Gorky’s The Lower Depths

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.

At the Village of Radical Acceptance, residents undertake the daily struggle for food, sleep, safety, and stability under the maternal watch of Mama Gwen. But as the layers of their world unfold, the city around them is closing in.

Ubuntu Associate Artist Michael French directs this striking new play, full of heart and humanity, which asks us to consider what is at stake in one of the most divisive economic realities of the Bay Area—and what is essential for survival.

Dear Ubuntu Community,

In an effort to connect with and support the 9,000+ unhoused people living in Oakland, we are partnering Down Here Below with the East Oakland Collective - an organization addressing the immediate needs of unhoused populations across Oakland, as well as advocating and organizing on behalf of the unhoused in Deep East Oakland.

How to Help:
Donate directly to The East Oakland Collective.
Monetary donations can be made on their website:

Helpful non-monetary donations include:
Men's socks, blankets, clean beanies, hygiene products, Nutri-Grain Bars, and bottled water. 

Other opportunities:  Participate in East Oakland Collective's "Feed the Hood" program, a bi-monthly event for community members with large scale opportunities to donate money, goods and time to provide food and necessities to homeless populations across Oakland.

Daily choice: to treat our city's unhoused citizens with dignity and respect. Include homeless folks in your vision of "neighborhood" and "community." 

Check out this pamphlet for more ways to be a good ally to our unhoused neighbors.

Your help is greatly appreciated.

-Curated by Indigo Jackson on behalf of Ubuntu Theater Project and the DOWN HERE BELOW cast and creative team.

“A rousing re-imagining of Maxim Gorky’s ‘The Lower Depths’... An unsentimental and sharp depiction of an Oakland homeless encampment... a society sketched before us with exacting detail and vibrant life.”
John Wilkins, The Free Audience

“The hour-long show uses a 20-person ensemble… the stereotype-defying threads weaving together to show just how wide the Bay Area’s housing crisis ranges — and how deep run its human costs”
Lily Janiak, San Francisco Chronicle

“Passion, commitment, and execution… an incredible night of theater!”
Charles Kruger, TheatreStorm

“Lisa Ramirez inspires compassion, reconnecting to our shared humanity... carefully constructed and compelling”
Jennifer Charron, Theatrius

“The Bay Area has the third-largest homeless population in the United States, with nearly 70% of the region's homeless living unsheltered… Down Here Below suggests the bigger picture of our shared humanity is well within our view”
Nicole Gluckstern, KQED


Michael Aldrete Cop / Developer
Olive Ball Rat Head
Rolanda D. Bell Blue
Jean Cary Maggie
Kimberly Daniels Mama Gwen
Abdulrahim Harara Goldilox
Champagne Hughes Abbey
Indigo Jackson Rain
J Jha Zig-Zag
Guillermo Labarca Aldrich
Dorian Lockett* Jones
John Mercer 12 Step
Alf Muller Storm
William Oliver III Little Bit
Arielle Powell Shorty
Kevin Rebultan FM
Leo Shaffer Cop/Clearing Crew
Matt Standley GI Joe
Lucy Urbano Teeny
Margherita Ventura Chicken Little

*Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers

This production is supported by The Fleishhacker Foundation.

This production is supported by the Oakland City Council and funded by the City of Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program.

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