Tonight I wanted to tap into my rebel streak by sneaking in Coke and gummi bears into Marin Theatre Company, but, much to my disappointment, they allow food in the theater so I didn't end up doing anything bad. I should've lit up a joint during the performance—that probably would've done it, although Marin County does have its fair share of hippies. (A couple of my friends grew up there, and they have told me about their parents' hippy-ish ways.)
Fellow playwright and blogger Marisela Orta had a workshop production of American Triage up at MTC this weekend, the play moves to San Rafael next week (February 22 and 23), and I cannot recommend it enough. The play is beautifully written, with soaring language and imagery, and was staged by a cast and director that seemed to have had the play seep into their very being.
It's also rare in Bay Area theater—in fact, it's rare in American theater—to have a piece of work so relevant and immediate to a community. American Triage is inspired by the immigration raids that have taken place in San Rafael and that have torn families apart and left them in crisis. Orta's play focuses on one such family—teen siblings are left to fend for themselves against a troubled system and a conflicted social worker when their parents are deported after a raid. The story is fictional, but is based on countless real events that demand outrage. American Triage has plenty of that, sure, but grounds itself in well-drawn, complex characters; lovely metaphors; and themes of justice, faith, and transformation.
The play's move to a community center in San Rafael is intentional in that it's aimed for people who don't usually go to the theater—but who will nonetheless be deeply affected by the play. As many of you know, that's what I've been about for a good chunk of my career—making theater for people who don't go to theater. And I'm glad that playwrights like Marisela continue to help push the boundaries and definitions of "theatergoer."
This play is a must for fans of damn good playwriting, but will hold extra significance to anyone personally affected by issues of immigration or loss or both.
(It's also worth mentioning that Josh Costello, the founder of Impact Theatre [Jukebox Stories' current producer], is MTC's Artistic Director of Expanded Programs and is partially responsible for guiding American Triage's development.)