Mud

Alan Kaiser, Marilet Martinez, and Garth Petal in Mud.
Alan Kaiser, Marilet Martinez, and Garth Petal in Mud.

by María Irene Fornés
directed by Paige Rogers
January 9 – February 15

It is 1973 and Mae has just begun to learn how to read; things finally seem to be taking a turn for the better. As she tries to rise above her humble Midwestern origins, Mae must keep the two men in her life, foster brother and former lover Lloyd, and new boyfriend Henry, from dragging her back down. Little does Mae know that the first strong decision she's ever made about her life may be the last decision she will ever make.

Produced through special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc. The script to this play may be purchased from B.P.P.I. at http://www.BroadwayPlayPubl.com

CUTTING BALL THEATER CONTINUES NINTH SEASON
OF RISK-TAKING PLAYS WITH

MARÍA IRENE FORNÉS’ OBIE AWARD-WINNING
"MUD"
January 9-February 8, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO (December 19, 2008) – San Francisco’s cutting-edge Cutting Ball Theater continues its 2008-09 season with the poetic and penetrating MUD, penned by legendary experimental playwright María Irene Fornés. Cutting Ball Associate Artistic Director Paige Rogers makes her main stage directorial debut with this operatic story of human struggle and desire starring Alan Kaiser, Marilet Martinez, and Garth Petal. MUD plays January 9 through February 8(Press opening: Sunday, January 11) at the Cutting Ball Theater in residence at Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor Street in San Francisco. For tickets ($15-30) and more information, the public may visit cuttingball.com or call 800-838-3006.

It is 1973 and Mae has just begun to learn how to read; things finally seem to be taking a turn for the better. As she tries to rise above her humble Midwestern origins, Mae must keep the two men in her life, foster brother and former lover Lloyd, and new boyfriend Henry, from dragging her back down. Little does Mae know that the first strong decision she’s ever made about her life may be the last decision she will ever make.

"After spending two weeks at the Dialog Festival in Wroclaw, Poland last year, I came back to San Francisco with a new idea about what really good and interesting theater ought to be,” said MUD director Paige Rogers. “The sense of humanness I experienced, where the audience breathes along with the performance, is such an elemental aspect of theater and something I feel Cutting Ball can give its audience in its new performance space. I am directing Fornes’ MUD with this idea, that less is more, and I believe that each audience member will take away something personal and different that will stay with them for a long time.”

Cutting Ball Theater has assembled a talented ensemble for MUD. Alan Kaiser makes his Cutting Ball debut in MUD as Lloyd. Regional credits include productions at San Jose Repertory Theater (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), Berkeley Repertory Theater (Mother Courage), California Shakespeare Theater (Man and Superman, Twelfth Night), and Shakespeare’s Associates (The Seagull). Also featured in MUD is Marilet Martinez as Mae. Regional credits include productions at Women’s Will (Romeo and Juliet) and Teatro Vision (Dog Lady/Evening Star, Santos and Santos directed by Octavio Solis). Additionally, Martinez is a teaching artist at Berkeley Repertory’s School of Theatre. Garth Petal returns to Cutting Ball Theater as Henryin MUD; he previously appeared as the title characters in the company’s productions of Macbeth and The Vomit Talk of Ghosts. Additional credits include productions at Brava Theater (Friends directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges) and the Magic Theater.

Director Paige Rogers is the Associate Artistic Director of Cutting Ball Theater. She has been seen as an actor in the company’s productions of My Head Was a Sledgehammer, As You Like It, The Vomit Talk of Ghosts, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, Accents in Alsace, and Bone to Pick. Her directing credits at Cutting Ball include Life is a Dream and Pelleus and Mellisande for the company’s Hidden Classics Reading Series, Lighthouse for Risk is This . . . The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival, and 1000 South Kelly and Learning English as part of Suzan-Lori Parks’ 365 plays/ 365 days. As an actress, she has been seen nationally at the Kennedy Center, McCarter Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

María Irene Fornés is the author of more than 40 plays. She was born in Havana, Cuba and emigrated to the United States at the age of 15. Her first publicly performed play, Tango Palace, was produced in 1963. She gained prominence in avant-garde circles in the 1960s and 1970s, befriending Susan Sontag and The Public Theater’s Joseph Papp. Other works for the stage include The Successful Life of 3 (1965), Promenade (1965), Dr. Kheal, and Molly’s Dream (1968). She had a brush with Broadway via The Office (1966); Promenade (1965), with music by Al Carmines, was an early commercial success. Additional works include Fefu and Her Friends (1977), Evelyn Brown (1980), The Danube (1981), Mud (1983), Sarita (1984), The Conduct of Life (1985), Abingdon Square (1987), Enter The Night (1993), and Letters From Cuba (2000).

In addition to winning several OBIE awards, Fornés has garnered NEA awards, including a Distinguished Artists Award, Rockefeller Foundation grants, a Guggenheim grant, an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and a New York State Governor’s Arts Award.

Co-founded in 1999 by husband and wife team Rob Melrose and Paige Rogers, Cutting Ball Theater presents avant-garde works of the past, present, and future by re-envisioning classics, exploring seminal avant-garde texts, and developing new experimental plays. Cutting Ball Theater has partnered with Playwrights Foundation, Magic Theatre, and Z Space New Plays Initiative to commission new experimental works, including Bone to Pick by Eugenie Chan. The company has produced a number of World Premieres and West Coast Premieres, and re-imagined various classics. Recipient of the 2008 San Francisco Bay Guardian "Goldie award for outstanding talent in the performing arts, Cutting Ball Theater earned the Best of SF award in 2006 from SF Weekly, and was selected by San Francisco Magazine as Best Classic Theater in 2007.

FOR CALENDAR EDITORS:

WHAT:
San Francisco’s cutting-edge Cutting Ball Theater continues its 2008-09 season with the poetic and penetrating MUD, penned by legendary experimental playwright María Irene Fornés. It is 1973 and Mae has just begun to learn how to read; things finally seem to be taking a turn for the better. As she tries to rise above her humble Midwestern origins, Mae must keep the two men in her life, foster brother and former lover Lloyd, and new boyfriend Henry, from dragging her back down. Little does Mae know that the first strong decision she’s ever made about her life may be the last decision she will ever make. Cutting Ball Associate Artistic Director Paige Rogers makes her main stage directorial debut with this operatic story of human struggle and desire.

WHEN:
Previews: January 9, 10 at 8pm
Opens: January 11 at 5pm
Press opening: Sunday,
January11 at 5pm

Closes: February 8 at 5pm
All performances Thursday-Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 5pm

WHERE:
The Cutting Ball Theater in residence at EXIT on Taylor
277 Taylor St., San Francisco

TICKETS:
For tickets ($15-30) and more information, the public may visit cuttingball.com or call 800-838-3006; discounts available for students and seniors

PHOTOS:
Art for MUD can be found at http://www.cuttingball.com/press.php or by emailing brightbutterfly[at]hotmail.com

Cutting Ball Theater’s production of MUD is made possible in part by grants from Grants for the Arts /San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, Mental Insight Foundation, the Theatre Bay Area New Works Fund, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, The Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The pacing and staging are spot-on. With no intermission, the play plows forward at a fast clip. Simplicity rules: minimal sound effects, effective lighting, a well-designed set. As the three damned characters continue on a collision course, Fornes skillfully keeps the exposition to a minimum. The Cutting Ball, a company known for taking risks, makes a wise bet on "Mud."
– Reyhan Harmanci, SF Chronicle

The Cutting Ball Theater's beautifully detailed, committed production marks a strong directorial debut for actor and associate artistic director Paige Rogers, who gets three well-crafted, mature, and focused performances from her striking cast.
-Robert Avila, SF Bay Guardian

Mud is a show you will remember…Liliana Duque designed a perfect set, and Cliff Caruthers sound design chilled me to the bone. Bessie Delucchi’s Costume designs were right on target. Clear your calendar to see “Mud” – a heartbreaking story of resilience, hope, and how far people will go to get it.
– Lee Hartgrave, Beyond Chron

Alan Kaiser's startling switch from looking like a prison camp detainee at the start of the play to more closely resembling a particularly virile and threatening prison officer by the end underscores his character's no-holds-barred will to survive.
-Chloe Veltman, SF Weekly

Paige Rogers' direction of the one-act develops the tension between the characters with a sure-footed sense of pacing and dramatic weight.
– Albert Goodwyn, Bay Times