Four creative and exciting local theater productions to check out in April

Aurora Theatre Company, Those Women Productions, Oakland Theatre Project and TheatreFirst are working hard to stimulate and educate us, despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Aurora Theatre Company, ‘The Bluest Eye ‘

headshot of actress Jasmine Milan Williams
Jasmine Milan Williams

Aurora’s audio drama, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, was released April 9 and runs through May 21. This beautiful audio adaptation of Morrison’s debut novel by Lydia R. Diamond, poetically explores the emotional depths of black girlhood in 1940s Ohio. Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove wants nothing more than to be loved by her family and schoolmates, but instead finds ridicule and abuse. Directed by Dawn Monique Williams, performances are free to Aurora members; single tickets are available for purchase for $25. Read our full review.

Those Women Productions, ‘Hindsight 2020’

Through April 17, Hindsight 2020 is presenting an online, devised theatrical piece co-produced by Berkeley’s Those Women Productions. It takes audiences through artist perspectives touching on some of the significant collective experiences of 2020: from sourdough starter to silence and from plant parenting to panic. Conceived and directed by Rebecca Haley Clark, this piece involves both filmed and live elements (and potentially audience interaction). The suggested ticket price is $15, but ticket buyers may choose their own price with a $1 minimum and a 2.5% processing fee.

Oakland Theater Project, ‘The Waste Land’

Oakland Theater Project (formerly Ubuntu Theater Project) offers its drive-in theater’s world premiere theatrical adaptation of T. S. Eliot’s epic poem The Waste Land through May 16. Adapted for the stage by John Wilkins, directed by Michael Socrates Moran, The Waste Land is a one-person live performance by Lisa Ramirez.  It is presented as a drive-in performance in The Oakland Theater Project’s parking lot at FLAX art & design in Downtown Oakland. One views the live production from one’s own car and listens to it through each car’s FM radio. Tickets are $25–50, with additional pay-what-you-can tickets available; advance purchases only.

TheatreFirst, ‘More than Grapes’

Carlos Aguirre
More than Grapes playwright Carlos Aguirre. Photo: Heather Perry/TheatreFirst

Premiering April 16, and running through early August, is the full version of the audio documentary More than Grapes by Carlos Aguirre, Jeffrey Lo, and Lisa Ramirez, developed and directed by Sean San José. It explores the lead-up to the Delano Grape Strike (1965-1970), the dramatic fight organized by the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee’s farmworkers, a predominantly Filipino and AFL-CIO-sponsored labor organization, against the exploitative table grape growers of Delano, California. This audio piece is a collage of responses to Delano, California, through the legacies of Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Larry Itliong. Subscription tickets of $60 include admission to the entire 2021 season of six plays; single tickets are also available.