Category Archive for: ‘Kedar K. Adour’

THIS IS HOW IT GOES is a racist infused 95 minutes of shocking theatre

Belinda (l, Carrie Paff*) and Cody (r, Aldo Billingslea*) bicker during their barbecue picnic as an old high school friend (c, Gabriel Marin*) looks on in the Bay Area Premiere of This is How It Goes

This Is How It Goes: Drama. By Neil LaBute. Directed by Tom Ross. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley. (510) 843-4822 or

THIS IS HOW IT GOES plays at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley now through July 28 (added performances: Tuesday, July 23, 7pm, Thursday, July 25, 8pm, Friday, July 26, 8pm, Saturday, July 27, 8pm, Sunday, July 28, 2pm).


THIS IS HOW IT GOES is a racist infused 95 minutes of shocking theatre.

If you are familiar with playwright/screen writer Neil LaBute and have seen his other  plays you know that the closing show for Aurora’s 21st season This is How It Goes could be a shocker. It is but the  saving grace is that this dark, edgy  and comic Bay Area Premiere is directed by Artistic Director Tom Ross and features Aldo Billingslea, Gabriel Marin, and Carrie Paff. These three superb actors under Ross’s thoughtful directional almost make this racist infused 95 minute play palatable.

Using the race card is not limited to the white population, the reverse is prevalent and LaBute’s play does not pick sides. Black Cody (Aldo Billingslea) is married to white Belinda (Carrie Paff ) a former high school cheerleader.  Cody is one of the few black faces in a small unnamed Midwestern town. He has built a very successful business and because he is not fully accepted in the town, he is a poseur who adopts an affected style and intimidating demeanor. Having been an Olympic quality star track athlete he maintains a rigid exercise routine keeping his taut physique. The mixed race couple have been married for a few years and have children who are never seen in the play but become significant cogs in the storyline. Trouble is brewing in the marriage.

The storyline begins with a white narrator, listed as Man (Gabriel Marin) in the program. He honestly tells the audience that the action/facts he relates may or may not true . . . “this is how it goes.” That line is oft repeated as Man breaks the fourth dimension and moves back and forth to the story. He may or may not be a playwright explaining why the back wall of the three sided stage is covered with typed script pages. There are only a few props that are swiftly moved on and off the stage allowing the action to flow while a plethora of twists and turns unfold.

Schoolmate Man has mysteriously returned after being away for 12 years and rents an apartment above the couple’s garage. Is his presence in the town accidental or is it to revive the spark he has for Belinda? He does not tell us because ‘this is how it goes’. As conflict builds, LaBute in his trademark manner introduces ugly dialog and action that will make you uncomfortable.

Billinsglea’s powerful acting conveys menace when menace is needed and in the few scenes where tenderness is required his shift in personality is believable. Diminutive Carrie Paff is a joy to watch as she moves Belinda from subservient wife to strong challenger to a bullying husband. Gabriel Marin’s professionalism makes him a perfect choice for ensemble acting. He is the master of milking humor from what appears to be a throw-away line yet slips into a dramatic posture when physically and orally challenged.

It is not a play that will engender love for your fellow man but it certainly will stimulate conversation.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

Courtesy of

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