It's Raining Kelvin
Poetry, loud guitars, kimchi and beer -- these are among the key elements in Sung J. Rno's Cleveland Raining, directed by Octavio Solis and presented by Thick Description and Asian American Theater Company. And did I mention a functioning Volkswagen Bug? Cleveland Raining is an apocalyptic comedy about a Korean-American family whose grown son, a grocery stocker named Jimmy, sees an epic storm coming and rigs his Volkswagen to float, à la Noah's ark. "My biggest deal is trying to fit a full working Volks-wagen on that stage," says Thick D collective member Tony Kelly. "We're measuring the elevator, the stairs, the fire escape. We'll get in there somehow." Cleveland Raining was developed in a workshop with Paula Vogel (Hot 'N' Throbbing). Here, at AATC's luxurious space on Arguello, the production will feature Thick D collective member Karen Amano, as well as associate artist Kelvin Han Yee, who is required to eat a lot of kimchi (very spicy pickled cabbage). "We'll be passing out raincoats for the first row because kimchi makes Kelvin sweat a lot," says Kelly. "But he's going for it -- you know Kelvin." Yes, we know Kelvin -- the talented and energetic young actor who, when playing Timon in Timon of Athens at Noh Space, ran out of the theater screaming every night, banging on the theater window in a demented rage. One night, he got so carried away he climbed a tree outside the window, jumped down and ran screaming along Mariposa Street. Cleveland Raining marks the first time Solis, Thick D's newest member and author of the Glickman Award-winning Santos & Santos, has directed a play that wasn't his own.
One hundred years ago last week, Oscar Wilde was sentenced to two years of hard labor in prison for committing "gross indecency" between men. An Ideal Husband was playing in London, along with The Importance of Being Earnest, at the time of Wilde's sentencing. Both shows closed within weeks, Wilde was forced to declare bankruptcy and his wife changed her and her sons' surnames in the wake of his disgrace. This week, Berkeley Rep presents An Ideal Husband, and director Stephen Wadsworth has dug up some original scenes from those early performances. Wilde, you see, was notoriously carefree about the changes directors made to his scripts; as long as he was gettin' paid, he didn't give a hoot about the production. Director Wadsworth is a meticulous researcher. He found that the script usually performed is greatly changed from the original, so he has reinstated some fun scenes. A wigged Lise Bruneau, fresh from her gig as the bald angel in Angels in America, plays Lady Chiltren.
By Laura Jamison