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For a decade, two families—one white and progressive, one undocumented—have lived together on a Northern California wine country estate in something like harmony, but political changes and financial mishaps leave them both suddenly facing uncertain futures. As everyone clamors to save the estate, a vengeful ghost haunts the fruitless vineyard intent on breaking the balance.
Everyone's a part of the family – until they're not. IAMA Theatre Company presents the world premiere of a deceptively gentle comedy about family, land, labor and loss. Eli Gonda directs Species Native to California by Dorothy Fortenberry runnning May 11 through June 11 at Atwater Village Theatre.
For a decade, two families — one white and progressive, one undocumented — have lived together on a Northern California wine country estate in something like harmony. But political changes and financial mishaps leave them both suddenly facing uncertain futures. As everyone clamors to save the estate, a vengeful ghost haunts the fruitless vineyard, intent on breaking the balance. Mexican folklore meets Mendocino County in Fortenberry’s homage to Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.
According to Fortenberry, she was struck by how many of Chekhov’s themes resonate today, including the importance of land – specifically, the relationship between those who own it and those who work it.
“I’m fascinated by alliances where the parties might have very different views of the relationship,” she explains. “When I was younger, I had a friend who invited an undocumented family to live with her, and I always wondered what that dynamic was like.”
Gonda, whose father is an immigrant, is passionate about both politics and socially relevant material. “Who could have even imagined the times we live in now?” he asks. “This play is about the hope that can spring from even the darkest situations.”
Species Native to California is performed in English with a liberal sprinkling of Español. The ensemble includes Tom Amandes (SyFy’s The Magicians, NBC’s Parenthood, ABC’s Scandal), Carlos E. Campos (upcoming film Inner City with Denzel Washington, HBO’s Westworld), Tonatiuh Elizarraraz (Hit the Wall at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center), Eileen Galindo (CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Clean House at International City Theatre), Tim Rock (Steppenwolf Theatre Co., Joseph Jefferson nominee for What's Wrong with Angry? at Chicago’s Circle Theatre), Melissa Stephens (Comedy Central’s Key and Peele, Showtime’s Californication), Margaux Susi (Disney’s Frozen, The Blind Date Project) and Murielle Zuker (Seven Spots on the Sun at The Theatre @ Boston Court).
Species Native to California was developed during a residency at Old Growth Arts in Sonoma County, and was read as part of the Youngblood New Blood series in NYC and recently at Theatricum Botanicum as part of their GreenRead series.
Dorothy Fortenberry’s plays have been produced and developed by Actors' Theatre of Louisville (Humana Festival), Arena Stage, Center REPertory Company and Oregon Shakespeare Festival, among others. She has received commissions from Ensemble Studio Theatre and Yale Rep. She lives in Los Angeles, where she writes for television, most recently The Handmaid's Tale for Hulu. Fortenberry is a winner of the 2011 Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights and holds an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama.
Species Native to California runs May 11 through June 11, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. (dark Sunday, May 28). All tickets are $30. Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call 323-380-8843 or go to www.iamatheatre.com.
Presenter / Producer: IAMA Theatre Company
Theater > Theatrical Comedy
Event Phone: 323-380-8843
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90039
LA - Central / Downtown
Performance Dates: 5/11/2017 - 6/11/2017
Thurs., Fri., Sat. at 8:00 pm Sundays at 7:00 pm
All tickets $30
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