Monday, February 13, 2012

San Francisco production of Cory Doctorow's Little Brother

Absolutely fabulous. That's my non-specific review of Custom Made Theatre's production of Cory Doctorow's YA novel, Little Brother. It's amazing what three talented actors can do with a timely, dramatic, thoughtful piece of literature in a very small auditorium. I had my doubts at first at the meager surroundings and the cast of three. About fifteen minutes in, I was enmeshed into Cory Doctorow's image of life in the United States when "big brother", in the case of this play, Homeland Security, takes control and detains three youths merely for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So many things that Doctorow predicted in his work have already come to pass with the Occupy movement and the increased security and decreased privacy that has been foisted upon us without our permission for our "protection". The subject matter was almost uncomfortable in its relevance. Near the beginning of the play, the Bay Bridge has is bombed, along with BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Immediately cameras sprout up everywhere and everyone is closely watched by the HSA. Kids are held for days without formal charges. Marcus finds himself in a position to make a difference, and with Ange's help, they do. Their battle cry is "Don't trust anyone over 25!" Together, they form a resistance movement using their computer skills to create a safe, non-monitored method of communication.

The theatre is located in a church on Gough St. Instead of the auditorium's small stage, the actors used a space that was maybe 25' x 20' in front of the stage and did their quick changes right there in the corners, playing several parts each.

My hat goes off to director Josh Costello (who also wrote the adaptation) for the seamless way the actors could pull off so much action and so many rolls in such a tight, close space. And kudos to the talented cast who pulled it off: Daniel Petzold as Marcus, Marissa Keltie as Ange and Cory Censoprano as Darryl. The acting at times would just punch you in the gut (in a good way). They made me laugh, smile, hold my breath and almost cry.

Little Brother is still playing a the Gough St. Playhouse until Feb 25th. Get your tickets here.

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