Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor
American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) continues its 2011–12 season with the West Coast premiere of Maple and Vine, written by Jordan Harrison and directed by A.C.T. Associate Artistic Director Mark Rucker. Fresh from a successful run at Playwrights Horizons in New York City, Maple and Vine tells the story of married couple, Katha and Ryu, a pair of stressed-out urban professionals who feel unfulfilled by the impersonal gadgets and fast-paced lifestyle of the modern world. After meeting a charismatic man from a community of 1950s reenactors, they decide to swap cell phones and sushi for phone trees and fish sticks by joining a community where life is slower, passion is risqué, and a cocktail is a daily accessory. In this meticulously recreated world, where retro attitudes about gender, race, and sexuality stir up powerful questions, Katha and Ryu must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice for happiness and whether the “good old days” were really that good. Maple and Vine performs a limited run March 29–April 22, 2012, at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco).
Click here to order tickets on-line: Maple&Vine
A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff was immediately taken by how the play stirred up conversation. “When we first read Jordan’s play last year,” she says, “we were struck by not only the prescient humor he brought to this wildly entertaining notion that conveniences and evolved lifestyles have made life more complicated, but also with the lingering emotions we all felt days after we read the play! Jordan has captured a very modern world and transplanted it to a seemingly easier time, and of course we learn that, for some, modern complications turn out to be preferable for their way of life. Mark Rucker’s uncanny ability to explore American comedy and this kind of period setting makes him the ideal director for this incredible new work. In the spirit of our breakout hit from last season, Clybourne Park, and last fall’s production of David Mamet’s Race, Maple and Vine asks outrageous and provocative questions about how we live our lives today, using wicked humor to skewer our contemporary perceptions.”
A.C.T. will offer numerous InterACT events—many of which are presented free of charge—in association with Maple and Vine that will give patrons opportunities to get closer to the action while making a whole night out of their evening at the theater:
• Audience Prologue Featuring Director Mark Rucker: Tuesday, Apr. 3, at 5:30 pm. Get inside the artistic process at this lively preshow discussion with director Mark Rucker.
• Bring What You Can/Pay What You Wish: Thursday, Apr. 5, at 8:00 pm. Pay any amount for your tickets when you bring nonperishable food donations for the San Francisco Food Bank. Patrons are limited to two tickets per donated item, two tickets per person. Tickets go on sale at 6 p.m. the day of the performance.
• Theater on the Couch: Friday, Apr. 6, following the 8 pm performance
Led by Mason Turner, chief of psychiatry at San Francisco’s Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, this exciting postshow discussion series explores the minds, motives, and behaviors of the characters and addresses audience questions.
• Audience Exchanges: Tue., Apr. 10, at 7 p.m. | Sun., Apr. 15, at 2 p.m. | Wed., Apr. 18, at 2 p.m.
After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors and artists who create the work onstage.
OUT with A.C.T.: Wednesday, Apr. 11, following the 8 pm performance. The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and enjoy free drinks and treats at this popular afterparty. Click here for information about how to subscribe to OUT nights throughout the season: OUT
• A.C.T. Family Series Workshop: Saturday, Apr. 21, at 1 pm. A new theater experience for young adults and their families! Come before the 2:00 matinee for a lively, interactive workshop. Note: due to sexual situations and partial nudity, Maple and Vine is recommended for audiences ages 14 and up.