Trailer Park Gods (San Francisco)
It’s amazing how much theatre you can pack into the tiniest of spaces. Case in point – Faultline Theater’s Trailer Park Gods, now running in the intimate 35 seat theater space of a performance venue in San Francisco called PianoFight.
The match of Faultline to PianoFight is theatrical symbiosis at is finest. Faultline is a fairly new theater company comprised of some Cal Theatre alumni and their theatre-minded friends. They came together in 2012 to produce original works or reinterpretations of relevant material with the intent of reaching out to what they felt was an underserved demographic – the current and future generations of younger theatre-goers. Their stated mission is to create theater for the 21st century by defying expectations (and mediocrity.)
PianoFight is a very interesting addition to San Francisco’s theatre district. It’s a full service restaurant and bar complete with a cabaret stage and two theatres – a small black box (capacity – 35) and a larger space (capacity – 90). Their goal is to present new works by new artists, many of them local, of all genres and styles. Theatre, dance, film, stand-up and new media presentations are all welcome here. Audiences are invited to see something different, and enjoy a beverage or some very reasonably-priced grub before, after, and sometimes during a performance. Their motto – no drink minimums, no ticket fees, no bullshit. What’s not to like? Especially if it gives a production like Trailer Park Gods the opportunity to be seen and a company like Faultline an opportunity to build an audience.
Playwright Nayia Kuvetakis has taken the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades and transmogrified into a tale of relationships set in the parched Central Valley of California. Demeter and her daughter Persophene live in a trailer park in Ceres, CA where Persephone dreams of escaping her life and going off to college. Demeter, abandoned by her husband Zeus and reduced to trailer park living after the failure of the family farm, finds solace in a bottle. All hell breaks loose when Uncle Hades comes back to town.
Kuvetakis’s script is neither as dry nor as “out of left field” as it sounds. She’s taken specific components of and characters from the myth and woven them into a mother-daughter tale for a modern audience. Director Emma Nicholls and a cast of six performers have taken that script and given it a full-throttle production. Sarah Nowicki (Demeter), Amanda Farbstein (Persephone), Paul Rodrigues (Hades), Alison Quin (Hecate), Michele Navarette (Helia) and Dave Levine (Triptolemus) are all excellent with their modern takes on classic Greek characters.
Scenic Designer Noah Kramer and Lighting Designer Hamilton Guillen manage to take a pretty confined space and transform it into a trailer park, a restaurant, and an aqueduct. It’s necessarily claustrophobic without feeling cramped. Important elements are also added by Costume Designer Wes Crain and Sound Designer Evan Wardell.
To get a production as fully-formed as Trailer Park Gods in any size venue is welcome. To pull it off in a tiny, 35 seat venue is a testament to the creativity, passion and commitment of all the artists involved and to the ambition of the theater company.
Go grab a beer. Go see this show.
Trailer Park Gods
presented by Faultline Theater
through May 16
Thurs @ 7pm, Fri @ 9pm, Sat @ 5pm & 9pm
144 Taylor St
San Francisco, CA 94102
Photos by Clive Walker