An Evening of Rude Awakenings

"Confirmation" and "Machinalia" run June 1-11 at Brooklyn Preserve.


Published:

Courtesy of Ubuntu Theater Project.

Oakland’s Ubuntu Theater Project has emerged in the last few years as an innovative new company producing an ambitious selection of provocative classic and new work in a variety of site-specific settings around the East Bay.

This season, Ubuntu is trying something new by staying in one place: The company is in residence at Brooklyn Preserve, the historic 1887 Oakland building that was originally Brooklyn Presbyterian Church and later Grace Temple Baptist Church. After kicking off the season with a powerful production of Death of a Salesman and the West Coast premiere of Lisa Ramirez’s To the Bone (a drama about the plight of exploited, undocumented poultry factory workers), the company is now moving on to produce two plays in one night, both directed by Will Detlefsen, who comes out of the same UC San Diego theater program as the Ubuntu founders (and one of the evening’s playwrights).

Courtesy of Ubuntu Theater Project

Chris Thorpe’s 2014 solo show Confirmation recounts his attempt, as a conscientious liberal, to connect with a white supremacist in conversation to challenge his own preconceptions and explore the phenomenon of confirmation bias. Steph Del Rosso’s Machinalia, which premiered at UC San Diego’s Ideas festival earlier this year, is an adaptation of Sophie Treadwell’s Expressionist theater classic Machinal, in which a woman who always goes along with what’s expected of her marries her awful boss, is finally awakened by an affair, and decides to kill her husband. All in all, it promises to be an evening of difficult awakenings from complacency.

Confirmation and Machinalia, June 1-11, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 8 p.m., Sunday, 7 p.m., Brooklyn Preserve, 1433 12th Ave., Oakland, $15-$35, UbuntuTheaterProject.com.

 

This report appears in the June edition of our sister publication, The East Bay Monthly.

 

Published online on May 31, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

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