2021/22 Black Box Season

THE SHADOW BOX
by Michael Cristofer
Sept. 3-12, 2021

Joe, Brian, and Felicity come from different walks of life, different parts of the country, and are in different stages of accepting the things they have in common: they are all dying of cancer, and they are all living out their final days, in company with friends and family, in homey hospice cottages on the green and pleasant grounds of a large California hospital. They are observed, studied, and counseled by an invisible Interviewer as they talk candidly about their emotional and physical struggles, and face interpersonal challenges: Joe’s wife Maggie, in denial about her husband’s impending death, refuses to go inside his cottage; artistic Brian, busy trying to write and paint enough for twelve lifetimes, must mediate between his ex-wife Beverly and his boyfriend Mark; and Felicity, confused and in pain, refuses to die until she gets a visit from her daughter Claire — a daughter who has been dead for years.

Winner! 1977 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Winner! 1977 Tony Award® for Best Play

ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD
by Tom Stoppard
December 3-12, 2021

Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm’s-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s play. In Tom Stoppard’s best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.

“Very funny, very brilliant, very chilling; it has the dust of thought about it and the particles glitter excitingly in the theatrical air. ”
– The New York Times

“A stimulating, funny, imaginative comedy.” – The New York Daily News

WATER BY THE SPOONFUL
by Quiara Alegria Hudes
January 28 – February 6, 2022

In a far corner of the internet, moderator “Haikumom” (aka Odessa Ortiz) leads a chat room for recovering drug addicts. From behind their screens, these individuals who might never encounter each other in real life — a student, an IRS-pusher, and a financier– forge a bond as strong as blood. Off the computer, however, in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in North Philly, Odessa Ortiz’s real-life family is falling apart. Her nephew, Elliot, has returned from Iraq both physically and emotionally broken. Her niece, Yaz, is unable to reconcile her identity as a North Philly girl from the barrio with her upper-crust, intellectual lifestyle. Her sister, who was the mother that Odessa could never be, is dying of cancer. Inventive and timely, “Water By The Spoonful” is a powerful, compassionate look at the meaning of family, and the burdens we must carry to protect it.

Winner! 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

“Quiara Alegría Hudes is a blazing talent…Her new play, WATER BY THE SPOONFUL, blazes with promise. Non-linear and fascinating, it is not easily followed but definitely worthy of both close attention and ultimate praise…Provocative and brimming with life.” —Talkin’ Broadway

“The play is a combination poem, prayer and app on how to cope in an age of uncertainty, speed and chaos. When cyber meets the real world, anger gives way to forgiveness and resistance becomes redemption; the heart of the play opens up and the waters flow freely.” —Variety.

TRUE WEST
by Sam Sheppard
April 22 – May 1, 2022

This American classic explores alternatives that might spring from the demented terrain of the California landscape. Sons of a desert-dwelling alcoholic and a suburban wanderer clash over a film script. Austin, the achiever, is working on a script he has sold to producer Sal Kimmer when Lee, a demented petty thief, drops in. He pitches his own idea for a movie to Kimmer, who then wants Austin to junk his bleak, modern love story and write Lee’s trashy Western tale.

True West has… arguably become Shepard’s signature piece, the leanest, most pointed of his full-length works.” – David Krasner, A Companion to Twentieth Century American Drama.

“Shepard’s masterwork… It tells us a truth, as glimpsed by a 37-year-old genius.” – New York Post

“It’s clear, funny, naturalistic. It’s also opaque, terrifying, surrealistic. If that sounds contradictory, you’re on to one aspect of Shepard’s winning genius; the ability to make you think you’re watching one thing while at the same time he’s presenting another.” – San Francisco Chronicle