Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

School of Hard Knocks 

Wednesday, Jan 28 1998
Crass materialism, blatant hypocrisy, unrepentant social climbing, and vicious gossip make enduring dramatic fodder, which means the African-American Shakespeare Company's production of School for Scandal should translate nicely as a satire of backbiting black elites, although playwright Richard Sheridan wrote the now-classic 1777 comedy to mock fashionable 18th-century English society. (Sheridan, incidentally, could have written the ending to his own life's story: He was sent to debtors prison after the Drury Lane Theater, which he jointly owned, burned to the ground; his circle of wealthy friends came to his aid by throwing him a lavish funeral after he died.) Subtlety isn't Sheridan's strong point -- he gives his idle rich cognomens like Lady Sneerwell and Mrs. Candour -- but his wit has aged well and the characters, whose obsession with status colors their relationships, sound familiar even when their language does not. School is a good match for the company, whose skill has lain in giving new meaning to older works in productions like a Taming of the Shrew set at a backyard barbecue and an Oedipus Rex relocated from ancient Greece to an African village. Manu Mukasa directs the troupe's fifth Black History Month production, which begins at 8 p.m. Thursday (and runs through Feb. 14) in Mills College Theater's Lisser Hall, 5000 MacArthur, Oakland. Admission is $8-12; call 333-1918. For information on Black History Month, see upcoming Calendar listings.

-- Heather Wisner

About The Author

Heather Wisner


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"