Démo Krátos Theátro- Plays by and for the People
Utopia Theatre Project presents Démos Krátos Theátro: Plays by and for the People
Sept 7,8,10,14,15, 28,29, Oct 5 & 6
Pianofight 144 Taylor Street San Francisco
By Kelli Fleitas
Démos Krátos Theátro is an avant-garde and compelling presentation, coming full circle furthering discussions about democracy and what it means to be involved politically (or not!). The evening is comprised of 3 short works, some very witty music, and an unusual character.
The show opens with a brilliant video reminding us how the roots of theatre intertwine with early democracy. Maryssa Wanlass, Artistic Director is the perfect presenter and immensely likable – I immediately felt myself relax into the comfy seat of this intimate theatre, compelled with the feeling that a trusted guide was steering my evening.
The music written and performed by Lauren Mayer was incredibly witty, on point, and easy to understand every poetic line – thankfully- because it is so clever you don’t want to miss a thing. From chuckling at the lyric about the ‘Rachel Ray tea kettle”, and painfully funny song, “I Believe in Facts”, to the laugh out loud “You came from my vagina” refrain, Lauren has you smiling while shaking your head at our quirky political state.
The first piece, Daughters of Ocean, written by Carol S. Lashof and directed by Kieran Beccia, and set in Grecian time, has you by the end, doing your best Anna impression (“Wait, What?”) and then as you stop and consider with which character(s) your affections lean, you realize the characters reflect the gravity and complexity of democracy as it struggles to grow. Anne Hallinan, Alicia Stamps, Mohana Rajagopal and Tesia Bell do a wonderful job of pulling you different directions.
The Polling Place, written by Kenneth Heaton, and directed by Mary Ann Rogers, taking place in the future, is a fabulous statement about the health of voting and how democracy breaks down when we don’t participate. You could feel the repugnance in the room for the Poll worker cooly played by Richard Farrell; Until you realize it was done out in the open, while others had their eyes wide shut. Chilling performances from both Kenneth Heaton and Alicia Stamps.
The final play, On the Precipice, written by Cleavon Smith and directed by Melanie Bandera-Hess, takes place in present day and gives you insight as to how The Polling Place, and the electing of unsavory political leaders, could happen. Thought provoking performances from Tesia Bell, Lorenz Angelo Gonzales, and Howard Johnson Jr. Precipice leaves the viewer with more questions than answers, and an uneasiness. Which is necessary for developing dialogue across society (one of the original purposes of theatre, right? Full circle!).
Amelia Adams is brilliant as Sal Monella. True to the name, she is infectious. Prepare yourself for a jolt at the end of her act.
The evening closes with the cast on stage for questions and answers. There is a space between the plays when Maryssa interviews the talented and poised Tesia Bell on stage. I personally enjoyed the interview but would’ve preferred it at the end.
Démos Krátos Theátro:Plays by and for the People is a brilliant collage with messages to be discussed long after it closes.
Come see this play! Oct 5,6