On Saturday Dan Hoyle unveiled The Real Americans, his much-anticipated follow-up to his long-running Marsh hit Tings Dey Happen, which won the Will Glickman Award for best new play to debut in the Bay Area in 2007. Son of acclaimed local comic actor Geoff Hoyle, Dan honed his particular brand of journalistic solo theater with 2004′s Circumnavigator and 2005′s Florida 2004: The Big Bummer. But the cross-section of players large and small in the game of Nigerian oil politics that he captured with chameleonlike skill in Tings was utterly enthralling, from warlords and militants to foreign oil workers and diplomats, and it was seemingly a hard act to follow. But with The Real Americans, he’s done a heck of a job.
Thirteenth show of 2010: Animals out of Paper, SF Playhouse, February 2.
Aurora’s first main stage production to come out of its annual Global Age Project new works series, Joel Drake Johnson’s The First Grade isn’t at all what the title or the set might lead one to expect. Nina Ball’s scenic design is themed around a first grade classroom, with a hand-printed alphabet banner, inspirational posters on the wall and lockers that look drawn in crayon or chalk. Wall panels rotate to form a kitchen interior or the exterior of a house.
After the typically slow first half of January, this was a particularly busy theatre week around the Bay Area, not least because ACT and Berkeley Rep’s openings were set for the same night.