A POWERFUL PRODUCTION OF “RIGHTS OF PASSAGE’
A Powerful Production of “Rights of Passage”
The New Conservatory Theatre Center is currently presenting a beautiful production of Ed Decker and Robert Leone’s world premiere play “Rights of Spring”. This is a multi-media drama that has stunning videos, puppetry and exotic Balinese dancing.
“Rights of Passage” is set on the Indonesian island of Bali and centers around Wayan a gay Hindu boy (Jomar Tagatac) and his journey of emerging, intermingled with queer and allied life stories about love, dignity and respect from around the world. Wayan is shown coming to terms with his culture and sexual identity. The play also irradiates the struggles of many people who are trying to establish that identities in many parts of the world.
There are many memorable vignettes in this two hour and half production including a young German boy writing a letter to Santa who hopes he gets a Barbie Doll and not get too much cookies in his hanging stocking since he does not want to get fat and not fit into his Lady Gaga outfit. Another incident is the incarceration of two men insisting their love be known by their community in Malawi.
Arturo Catricala has assembled a large cast of talent actors to portray the various characters around the world along with skillful puppet masters to operate the life like puppets. Jormar Tagatac gives a beautiful performance as Wayan. Tagatac and RJ Castaneda infuse their teen-age courtship with a sweetly sensual clumsiness. Outstanding is Michaela Greeley plays the grandmother as she amazingly morphs herself into an ancient bent down woman. Desiree Rogers gives a sublime performance as the Moon Goodness. She also gives a persuasive performance as a persecuted, gang raped Senegalese lesbian. Dazie Rustin Grego and Anthony Rollins-Mullens are moving as the unfortunate Malawian couple. Dazie Rustin Grego shows another side of his nature by playing a drag in stiletto heels and skin tight dress wilding sensually dancing and camping about the stage. Christopher Morrell as the voice and puppet operator of the German boy gives a compelling performance. Randall Nakano is splendid as Wayan’s father and a conservative Joe the Plumber who tolerates a flaming queen who works in his shop.
Kudos to a stunning set by Kuo-Hao Lo where outstanding videos and shadow puppets act out certain scenes. Also kudos to puppet master Allison Daniel and their handlers who play their part perfectly, gorgeous costumes by Jorge Herandez and dramatic lighting by Christian Mejia. Arturo Catricala staging flows faultlessly together.
“Rights of Passage” runs through September 16th at the Decker Theatre, New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness off Market Street, San Francisco. For tickets go on line at www.nctcsf.org or call 415-861-8972