Son of Semele presents MEN ON BOATS

Critics

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83 %

Reviews: 6

Audience

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Reviews: 0

Award-winning theatre company
Son of Semele Ensemble
presents
Men On Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus

EXPLORERS CHART TWO NEW WORLDS
Who’s missing in our stories?

July 6 - 28, 2019

Click here to download a PDF version of this release.

LOS ANGELES (June 3, 2019) — Son of Semele Ensemble announces its upcoming production of Men On Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus, to be performed at the Son of Semele Theater from July 6 - 28, 2019. Ten intrepid pioneers plunge into uncharted waters in a dramatic tale that’s both heroic and comic.

Jaclyn Backhaus’ acclaimed play reenacts the legendary 1869 Powell Expedition to map the Colorado River– but with a twist. The rugged white men are all played by a diverse cast of female and non-binary actors. The ironic, often comic result explores both the West’s mighty river and the imagined new world as created by our legends. The result triggers the question, “Who and what has our ‘America’ left out?”

WHAT: Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus, produced by Son of Semele Ensemble

WHERE: Son of Semele Theater, 3301 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles 90004. There is limited street parking in the surrounding neighborhood. Patrons presenting a taxi, Lyft or Uber receipt receive a complimentary beverage.

WHEN: July 6 – 28, 2019; performances Fridays & Saturdays @ 8pm, Sundays @ 5pm and Tuesdays @ 7pm

TICKETS: $25 general admission, $20 for patrons 25 years old and under. Limited pay-what-you-can tickets are available for performances through July 14 (suggested $10 minimum donation). Tickets may be purchased online at sonofsemele.org; the Son of Semele Box office opens 30 minutes prior to each performance.

PRESS: Limited reserved parking is available, if requested in advance.

Jaclyn Backhaus, an Arizona native of German and Punjabi descent, teaches at NYU’s Tisch School (where she earned a BFA). She is also a resident playwright at the Lincoln Center. Backhaus’ other plays include INDIA PALE ALE (2018 Horton Foote Prize), YOU ON THE MOORS NOW, and the book and lyrics for the musical FOLK WANDERING.

Son of Semele Ensemble’s production of Men On Boats will be directed by company member Barbara Kallir and will feature performances by Melissa Coleman-Reed, Shelby Corley, Taylor Hawthorne, Liz Lanier, Cindy Lin, Tiana Randall-Quant, Thea Rodgers, Jinny Ryann, Ashley Steed and Elspeth Weingarten. The production team includes Carlo Maghirang (set), Allen Clark (lighting), David Marling (sound), Wyndell C. Carmichael (costumes), Caribay Franke (movement) and Ben Kutner (music). Dramaturgy is by Flor San Roman, and the production stage manager is Edward Khris Fernandez, assisted by Jimin Kang.

NOTE TO REVIEWERS: Son of Semele now makes available three on-site parking spaces which may be reserved in advance on a first-come-first-served basis by e-mailing [email protected]

Reviews

Avatar

Son of Semele Ensemble brings Jaclyn Backhaus’ Men on Boats to Los Angeles audiences with a highly physical production that elicits the terrors and dangers of exploration in a uniquely simple way...

The character work is specific across the board and it isn’t hard to align yourself with one or several of these historical figures.

sweet - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Avatar

I quickly adjusted to the idea of seeing women and non-binary people fighting the rapids, just as easily as I got used to the idea of seeing the boats represented by scaffolds and other set pieces that realistically don't look much like boats - or as easily as I became accustomed to hearing speech that sometimes sounds more contemporary than it would have in 1869. We don't go to theater primarily for representational art; we go to exercise our imaginations. Not that Backhaus' script itself strays far into fantasy, but she has provided a succinct method for us to think about more than just the expedition down the rivers.

sweet - Don Shirley - LA Observed - ...read full review


Avatar

Part of that is a directorial struggle and part of that is a challenge with structure. Son of Semele’s production never really manages to crack the play’s tone

Even with these shortcomings, “Men on Boats” is headed in the right direction but like the original expedition - it’s a bumpy ride.

sweet-sour - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Barbara Kallir deftly traverses the play’s logistical intricacies. Moreover, she creates a convincing fraternal bond among this “brotherhood” — which feels all the more wrenching when dissension splits its ranks.

sweet - F. Kathleen Foley - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

Men On Boats uniquely captures the thrill of adventure and the prospect of discovery, with the hope of being remembered. But the play’s larger theme speaks to inclusivity: Representation matters. It’s almost as if we’re on the threshold of something completely new and undiscovered, while keenly aware that many have been here before.

sweet-sour - Dana Martin - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Not only there are no sets depicting nature, there are no men in the cast either as the ensemble are all women or those that are not of the male persuasion. This gender change enhances the drama that exists within this stage program. And the performers appearing are not necessarily causation either as the diversity levels are at its peak. The cast of ten players work well with one another that shows off the so-called “he-man” stance that is required to fulfill such an excursion. Skill, wits, and strength are key elements here, and these women (and equivalent) brings these characteristics to its fullest.

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review


Avatar

Son of Semele Ensemble brings Jaclyn Backhaus’ Men on Boats to Los Angeles audiences with a highly physical production that elicits the terrors and dangers of exploration in a uniquely simple way...

The character work is specific across the board and it isn’t hard to align yourself with one or several of these historical figures.

sweet - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Avatar

I quickly adjusted to the idea of seeing women and non-binary people fighting the rapids, just as easily as I got used to the idea of seeing the boats represented by scaffolds and other set pieces that realistically don't look much like boats - or as easily as I became accustomed to hearing speech that sometimes sounds more contemporary than it would have in 1869. We don't go to theater primarily for representational art; we go to exercise our imaginations. Not that Backhaus' script itself strays far into fantasy, but she has provided a succinct method for us to think about more than just the expedition down the rivers.

sweet - Don Shirley - LA Observed - ...read full review


Avatar

Part of that is a directorial struggle and part of that is a challenge with structure. Son of Semele’s production never really manages to crack the play’s tone

Even with these shortcomings, “Men on Boats” is headed in the right direction but like the original expedition - it’s a bumpy ride.

sweet-sour - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Barbara Kallir deftly traverses the play’s logistical intricacies. Moreover, she creates a convincing fraternal bond among this “brotherhood” — which feels all the more wrenching when dissension splits its ranks.

sweet - F. Kathleen Foley - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

Men On Boats uniquely captures the thrill of adventure and the prospect of discovery, with the hope of being remembered. But the play’s larger theme speaks to inclusivity: Representation matters. It’s almost as if we’re on the threshold of something completely new and undiscovered, while keenly aware that many have been here before.

sweet-sour - Dana Martin - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Not only there are no sets depicting nature, there are no men in the cast either as the ensemble are all women or those that are not of the male persuasion. This gender change enhances the drama that exists within this stage program. And the performers appearing are not necessarily causation either as the diversity levels are at its peak. The cast of ten players work well with one another that shows off the so-called “he-man” stance that is required to fulfill such an excursion. Skill, wits, and strength are key elements here, and these women (and equivalent) brings these characteristics to its fullest.

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review