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Tiny Beautiful Things - Born in East Berlin - Just Ahead is Darkness - Philippa Kelly

Jessica Palopoli

This week on Open Air, KALW’s weekly radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, host David Latulippe talks with Susi Damilano (pictured, left), star of the new production of Tiny Beautiful Things  at SF Playhouse - and also the company’s producing director. Performances are through March 7 at SF Playhouse (450 Post St.) in San Francisco. 

Tiny Beautiful Things  is a play by Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated writer and actress Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Based on the book Tiny Beautiful Things  by best-selling author Cheryl Strayed, the play is about Strayed’s experiences as an anonymous advice columnist whose column, Dear Sugar, became a nationwide phenomenon. As Sugar navigates the questions of her real-life readers, she weaves together her own experiences to create a column full of light, laughter, and empathy. Bill English directs. 

Also on the show, award-winning playwright Rogelio Martinez and actor Griffin O’Connor about another SF Playhouse production, Born in East Berlin. In 1988, Bruce Springsteen played a legendary concert in East Germany and 300,000 people showed up. Born in East  Berlin explores the ultimate juxtaposition between the freedom of a rock concert and the captivity of an oppressive government during the time of a great historical and cultural shift. Born in East Berlin  runs from February 6 - 29 at the Creativity Theater at The Children’s Creativity Museum (221 4th St.) in San Francisco. 

We talk with the multi-talented writers, dancers, choreographers, and sisters Megan and Shannon Kurashige, who have been directing their own company, Sharp & Fine, since 2011. Their new 'play for dance,' titled Just Ahead is Darkness,  premieres at Z Space this weekend, and deals with family, love, loss and the eternal return of ghosts. 

The material for Just Ahead is Darkness  originates in the sisters' experience attending Obon Festivals, a traditional Japanese Buddhist event designed to remember and celebrate the spirits of one’s ancestors. Performances are February 7-9 (Fri & Sat 8pm; Sun 2pm) at Z Space (450 Florida St.) in San Francisco. 

Plus, Open Air’s regular contributor and critic at large, Peter Robinson, talks with dramaturg Philippa Kelly about her new book, Diversity, Inclusion, and Representation in Contemporary Dramaturgy, and about upcoming productions at Cal Shakes in Orinda. 

Open Air with host David Latulippe, heard live on Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 1pm.  Listen now or anytime…