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Sonoma County Gazette
Alexa Chipman Theater Reviewer

Live Theater Review ~
Urban Artistry in Sonoma County Theater

Mar 29, 2018
by Alexa Chipman


Sonoma State University Theatre Arts & Dance has developed an electrifying performance of rhythmic physicality with the Brooklyn-based Urban Bush Women troupe, who emphasize the potential and strength of disenfranchised people when given opportunities to reach beyond traditional roles. “Responding and reflecting on current social issues, the dance takes the viewer on a kinesthetic and imagistic ride filled with each dancer’s individual expressions and declarations” program director Kristen Daley explains. An original piece tentatively titled “Anchored” was created in collaboration with Sonoma State students, Urban Bush Women, and local composer Jesse Olsen Bay.

Faculty member Christine Cali has been a long-time supporter of Urban Bush Women’s “groundbreaking work,” having discovered the troupe at the American Dance Festival in 1995. She has been working with Theatre Arts & Dance for an extended engagement and residency which came to fruition last year with a series of workshops, classes, and a performance conversation ‘The Hair Party’ which encouraged healthy self-image. The troupe returned for four weeks to engage with students in choreographing ‘Spring Dance.’Interacting with Urban Bush Women has reinforced the ideas of resistance, language, and power. “We can’t wait to share the work we have been engaged in over the past year!” Cali explains.

‘Spring Dance’ - April 25 – May 5 - Tickets: $10-17, Sonoma State University Theatre Arts & Dance, Evert B. Person Theatre,1801 E. Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park, (707) 664-4246

Charles Siebert as Willy Loman with Sheila Lichirie as Linda Loman‘Death of a Salesman’ at 6th St. Playhouse explores the crumbling American Dream. Willy Loman realizes that success, as measured by a lucrative career and perfect home, is a result of luck more than hard work. Is life without a corporate job truly a failure, or is it a different sort of ideal? Conservative beliefs are challenged in this classic play, staged in the intimate Studio Theater. Director Craig A. Miller considers it “still reflective of our society today” and decided to present it after a staged reading was well received. Stepping into the role of Willy Loman, Charles Siebert admires Miller’s ability to create sympathetic characters, while “refusing to turn a blind eye to their faults.”

Loman watches helplessly as his carefully constructed fantasy disintegrates, and turns to his wife for support. Sheila Lichirie describes Linda Loman as practical, “she balances the books, pinches the pennies, and keeps the family floating” while deeply in love with her husband. “She adores him and believes in him above all else.” Glimpse the elusive nature of happiness and prosperity in this moving American tragedy by Arthur Miller.

‘Death of a Salesman’ - March 30 – April 22 - Tickets: $18-28, 6th St. Playhouse - Studio Theatre,52 W. 6th St., Santa, (707) 523-4185

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