Saturday, September 7, 2013

"After the Revolution" ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

A fascinating and multi-layered drama, Amy Herzog's "After the Revolution" is at it's heart a relationship story about a young woman and her family. The Josephs are a multigenerational clan involved with revolutionary politics, stemming from their late patriarch Joe, continuing through his son Ben and now Ben's daughter Emma. Rolf Saxon and Jessica Bates play Ben and Emma. We hear about all the special circumstances surrounding the Joseph family history (red-baiting, McCarthy trials, blacklisting) but above all we are drawn to the personal stories of Ben and Emma, she a modern woman torn by the realization that old Joe Joseph wasn't the saint he has been made out to be, and he, both son and dad, trying to keep his family and his ideology in balance.

Victor Talmadge turns in a perfectly measured performance as Leo, Ben's older brother, as do Pamela Gaye Walker, as Ben's partner Mel, and Sara Mitchell as Jess, Emma's sister. The cast is completed by Morty (Peter Kybart), a voice of old-school reason, Vera (Ellen Ratner), a grandmother who seems somewhat too young for her role, and Adrian Anchondo as Miguel, Emma's boyfriend.

Along the way we get barbs at the uninvolved younger generation as well as a few choice comments about how the radical older lefties view modern issues such as homosexuality and minorities -- one view for the world, perhaps a different view for their own family.

When was the last time you heard people singing along to the pre-curtain music? This is what you get with a Berkeley audience and a Pete Seeger soundtrack.

RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Before the Revolution" Four Stars. We love being graced with both plot and first-class acting. Joy Carlin is the perfect director for this story and Amy Herzog deserves praise for a script schooled in history as well as heart.

"After The Revolution"
Aurora Theatre
2081 Addison Street, Berkeley
EXTENDED Through October 6

No comments: