2016 Inaugural Season
THE GOSPEL OF LOVINGKINDNESS
BY MARCUS GARDLEY
Marcus Gardley gifts the Ubuntu Theater Project with another contemporary drama addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time—gun violence in America. The Gospel of Lovingkindness poetically renders how gun violence can ravage our homes and break our hearts. With song and poetry The Gospel of Lovingkindness is at once an outcry against the cycle of violence; a revelation of humanity’s redemptive strength within the worst circumstances imaginable; and a prayer seeking the cycle’s end with forgiveness, dignity and hope.
EXIT CUCKOO (NANNY IN MOTHERLAND)
BY LISA RAMIREZ
A play by Ubuntu Theater Project Company Member, Lisa Ramirez, EXIT CUCKOO (nanny in motherland) charts the lives of nannies, mothers and children trying to get by in a complicated social-political matrix that makes the responsibility of parenting and child care a difficult emotionally tangled legal and moral web. This is a tale of daily triumphs by a US Latina solo performer and writer who has received widespread critical acclaim and recently won the Helen Merrill Award for playwriting in New York City.
A Theatre Bay Area recommended production, February 2016
I AM MY OWN WIFE
BY DOUG WRIGHT
I Am My Own Wife is Doug Wright’s Pulitzer Prize Winning one person play about Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf—a transgender woman who survived Nazi Germany and East Germany under Stasi surveillance.
Featuring Co-Artistic Director, William Hodgson will play all 40 characters as we explore how the complexity of protecting one’s body in this historical context relates to our present time.
THE GRAPES OF WRATH
BY FRANK GALATI
FROM THE NOVEL BY JOHN STEINBECK
Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath out of the rage he felt at the way in which forcibly displaced migrants from Oklahoma were treated upon their arrival in California. In our current time of global warming, mass migration, refugee crises, drought, and excessive wealth disparities, the themes coursing through Steinbeck’s classic are alive today and poignant for our time.
Steinbeck characterized the Joad journey as a march. And in our production the Joad family sings and marches on their journey to keep the human spirit alive as we aim to reveal the American myth at the core of this classic.
BY MILTA ORTIZ
Más by Milta Ortiz is a docudrama that champions the true story of a Chicano community in Tucson, Arizona struggling to retain their cultural identity as they fight to save Mexican American Studies in the Tucson Unified School District. This play is wrapped in music, dance, and ritual and reveals the real cost of fighting to keep one’s culture alive.
The production is a co-production between Ubuntu Theater Project and Laney College’s Fusion Theatre Project and the Theatre Arts Department led by Michael Torres.
BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
Othello is Shakespeare's conversion of a morality play into a story that challenges our pre-conceived notions and inspires a more complex outlook upon what we consider Good and Evil. Othello begins the play having converted from Islam to Christianity in order to wed Desdemona. And, arguably, at the end of the play he re-converts to Islam. In Shakespeare's time 'Moor' was a catch-all for every Muslim living within the Ottoman empire--from Spain, to North Africa to the Middle East. The Moor represented a blind spot in the consciousness of the Elizabethans worldview.
America now faces another confrontation with what some have determined to be an 'Other' and our consciousness is once again full of blind spots.
BY KATORI HALL
Hurt Village follows a housing project in Memphis, Tennessee when a government Hope Grant ignites the relocation of many of the project’s residents, including the 13 year-old aspiring rapper Cookie and the matriarchs in her family, mother Crank and great-grandmother Big Mama.
This play is a bold, gritty and heart-wrenching piece, which earned Katori Hall the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. As gentrification and affordable housing continue to dominate our national headlines, this play demands our attention and care.
Mercury News: Pain, drugs flow in ‘Hurt Village’ in Oakland
2015 Summer Festival
dance of the holy ghosts
by Marcus Gardley
The Ubuntu Theater Project kicked off its 2015 Summer Festival with a poetic play that sings the blues, dances through time, and tells the gripping story of abandonment and love renewed. "Dance of the Holy Ghosts," written by award-winning playwright and Oakland native Marcus Gardley, tells the story of a Grandfather and Grandson grappling with the past as they search their memories to discover themselves through one another.
The play is set in Oakland, California and offers audiences a powerful and familiar story of loss and reconciliation. Co-Artistic Director Michael Moran directed this gripping play featuring Co-Artistic Director William Hodgson, Keith Wallace, Candace Thomas, Halili Knox and 13 ensemble gospel choir members.
THE BROTHERS SIZE
BY TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY
Oshoosi Size just got out of prison and is now on parole. However, even though Oshoosi is out of prison, he’s hardly free. When Oshoosi has difficulty finding work his older brother Ogun Size, the mechanic, hires him to work at his shop. But Oshoosi’s friend from prison, Elegba, pays an unexpected visit and spins a web that neither of the brothers is prepared to deal with. In this moving drama filled with pain, poetry and laughter, two brothers walk the line between freedom and a prison without bars, locked in a fierce tug-of-war for their own souls.
WAITING FOR LEFTY
BY CLIFFORD ODETS
Odets's 1935 classic tale of thousands of New York City cab drivers fighting for their rights and echoing the complicated politics surrounding labor unions today. Join us in an Oakland auto-repair shop and put some fire in your belly as we celebrate Odets's fighting words and our cultural memory of what it means to fight for human dignity.
BY GEORGE BRANT
Now being produced across the country George Brant's one woman show has struck a national nerve. Grounded in a windowless trailer outside Las Vegas and flying remote drones halfway across the world in Iraq, the play follows one remarkable woman as she discovers the complex and radical consequences of modern-day American warfare.
2014 Summer Festival
The Ubuntu Theater Project presented its second annual "Breaking Chains" Summer Theater Festival in September of 2014. This was our second annual festival and brought 6 amazing shows to the Bay Area at exciting site-specific venues and offered them at an affordable price for the community to enjoy.
"Breaking Chains" Festival in the News
Our 2014 " Breaking Chains" Summer Theater Festival was highlighted in media outlets across the Bay Area with resounding applause!
East Bay Express - "Breaking Chains" by Sarah Burke
SF Examiner - "Ubuntu's Vivid Military Plays Light Up Hanagr" by Leslie Katz
KQED Arts - "A Dizzingly Random Day at the SF Fringe Festival" by Sam Hurwitt
Post News Group- "Ubuntu Theater Project Hosts 'Breaking Chains' Fesitval" by Taison Kwamilele
Campo Maldito - WINNER "Best of the 2014 San Francisco Fringe Festival" Award
2013 Summer Festival
In September of 2013 we brought our first theater festival to the Bay Area where performed four plays in four cities through site specific theater! What is site specific theater? That's when we take shows usually performed in a traditional theater out into the community to bring a level of excitement, culture, and cutting edge artistry: allowing our audience to experience live shows like never before. Our shows were performed in exciting spaces for our audiences like parking garages and art galleries, and for social purposes like performing for youth in schools and at Juvenile detention facilities.