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Sights & Sounds: Elaine Magree

David Allen

Sights & Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene. Theater artist, nurse and political activist Elaine Magree told KALW’s Jen Chien about three fantastic events happening around the Bay this weekend.

Credit Jenny Graham
(l to r) Sara Bruner (Norma McCorvey), Sarah Jane Agnew (Sarah Weddington), and Susan Lynskey (Linda Coffee) in Roe at Berkeley Rep.

Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion, is still fiercely debated, over 40 years later. In her newest play, writer Lisa Loomer cuts through the headlines and rhetoric to reveal the divergent personal journeys of lawyer Sarah Weddington and plaintiff Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”) in the years following the fateful decision. Roe will play at Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre through April 2nd. 

MAGREE: It's got incredible importance in our national debate right now, and I want to see how theater artists are handling it, and staging it.

Drum Sunday is organized by Women Drummers International, an organization that aims to empower women and girls through teaching, learning, and performing drumming. This week at Drum Sunday they’re hosting drummer Denise Solis, who will be teaching bomba, a traditional musical style from Puerto Rico. Drum Sunday: Bomba! - Rhythms from Puerto Rico will take place at Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center on April 2nd. 

MAGREE: It's really an extraordinary organization that brings women drummers from all over the world to the Bay Area, and this woman from Puerto Rico who's doing the Bomba ... she's one of the leading drummers in the Bomba rhythm.

Credit David Allen
Leni Riefenstahl (Stacy Ross) ponders her relationship with Hitler in Aurora Theatre Company’s Bay Area Premiere of Leni.

Leni Riefenstahl was the brilliant German film director of Triumph of the Will and Olympia, films cited by Pauline Kael as “the two greatest films ever directed by a woman,” and which also served as propaganda for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. In Sarah Greenman’s wildly creative multimedia play, Riefenstahl’s older and younger selves edit a film of the director’s life, playing out and reshooting scenes from her past until the director finds the beauty she is seeking. The play's run at the Aurora Theatre has been extended through May 7th. 

MAGREE: I'm interested in this woman who had this kind of unusual level of achievement at the time. But also Stacy Ross who's one of the two actors. They're both fabulous actresses.