Through Nov 5. Poets, preachers, and playwrights seem particularly
susceptible to the urge to create a narrative structure within a
series of seemingly unrelated events.
Take Marcus Gardley, whom Shotgun Players commissioned to write
a play about the neighborhood in South Berkeley where their Ashby
theater is located. In the resulting piece, Gardley weaves hundreds
of years of site-specific stories into a complex tapestry of decaying
dreams and flowering hopes.
These tales center around a single lot in the Lorin district where
a dilapidated Victorian “fixer-upper” and a lone plum
tree stand on what was once Ohlone tribal land. Through verse, dance,
and song, a cast of 30 relates the compelling, sometimes tragic
history of this single house and the neighborhood to which it belongs.
Not only inspired by but actively written for the Lorin community,
the play has a cast with just two of Shotgun’s core artists
(Eric Burns and Jessica Kitchens) but several recruits from the
actual neighborhood, who also contributed stories during the playwriting
process and feedback through the piece’s workshopping.
In fact, Dream House is so rooted in its surroundings it’s
difficult to imagine it translating with ease onto any other stage.
Which is all the more reason to see it now.