Theatre Preview — April 5, 2018

KUSI theatre contributor Josh Carr joined Good Morning San Diego to preview some of the best plays showing around San Diego this weekend.

New Village Arts
Through April 22
Men on Boats is a gender-bent, anachronistic retelling of John Wesley Powell’s harrowing 1869 expedition, wherein a one-armed captain and a crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River. The twist? While the expedition consisted of ten men, ten women retell the story in this version.
In the summer of 1869, the explorer John Wesley Powell led a band of nine other voyagers on an expedition across the Green and Colorado Rivers. The trip was momentous through its day, a three-month journey through the Wyoming Territory and present-day Utah and Arizona, becoming the first recorded passage of white men through the largely uncharted Grand Canyon.
Over time, the Powell Expedition has faded from memory, becoming a minor cultural footnote about a place that now stands as one of the major tourist attractions in the United States. But it was indeed historic. Ten women may be playing 10 men, but Men on Boats isn’t a campy parade of drag kings. There’s no attention drawn to gender in this boisterous new comedy.
Men on Boats uses an episodic structure to explore the journey of the one-armed Powell and his men, five of whom were Civil War veterans, the rest either hunters or explorers. On their four wooden boats, they endure choppy whitewater, losses of rations and oars, and the overwhelming fear that imminent death in the hands of the rapids through which they’re sailing.
While there is primary source material that inspired Men on Boats (namely Wesley’s published diary The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Rapids), Backhaus doesn’t attempt to re-create the antiquated speech patterns or movement of the late 1800s. The characters here talk in a distinctly contemporary vernacular. Backhaus is illuminating an otherwise dusty piece of history, not only making it consumable for contemporary audiences, but lively as well.

Coronado Playhouse
Through April 22
The most glamorous and photographed family in the world, the British royal family, seen through a modern-Shakespearean lens.
The Queen is Dead. Long Live the King. Queen Elizabeth II is dead and Prince Charles-after a lifetime of waiting-prepares to finally ascend to the throne. One family holds the future of Great Britain in its hands. But what do Prince William, Princess Kate, and Prince Harry really think about their father’s ascension?
The Prime Minister proposes legislation designed to restrict the freedom of the press, which Charles opposes, subverting the understood rules of British democracy. Defying centuries of tradition, Charles boldly attempts to reassert the crown’s power, landing himself – and his country – in a royal mess.
Exploring the themes of power and betrayal,

• Mike Bartlett’s blank-verse, internationally acclaimed play, King Charles III, is a Shakespearean-style take on the future of the British Royal Family, skillfully revealing the living, breathing, nuanced flesh and blood people beneath the crowns.
• A smash Broadway and West End hit, King Charles III was nominated for 6 Olivier Awards, 5 Tony Awards, 3 Drama Desk Awards, winning Best Play in London and was recently made into a BBC/PBS Masterpiece Special.

San Diego REP
Through April 15
Imagine you live in the small local community of Beachtown. As a Beachtonian, you are invited to share your voice and your vote and choose—alongside your neighbors—what will go inside our town’s Time Capsule to best represent the values of this beautiful place we call home.
At Beachtown’s Time Capsule Celebration you will enjoy live music, dessert from our community potluck, and a delicious debate celebrating democracy in action. This town hall meeting like no other is about who we are and who we as a community want to be. Given this is Beachtown, you can count on a Celebration aimed at about breaking down barriers and discovering our shared dreams for the future of our town. Come ready to voice your opinion, debate vigorously, and vote proudly.

• Every show will be different! Audience members are townspeople invited to participate in the debate and VOTE on what goes into the time capsule.
• Beachtown characters based on real characters who are public figures today running communities between Imperial Beach and Oceanside
• A truly unique interactive experience!

Categories: Good Morning San Diego