On the heels of a blockbuster 2022-23 season, Marin Theatre Company‘s recent unveiling of its 2023-24 season was a bit, um, different.
MTC has been without an artistic director since March, when Jasson Minadakis departed in the middle of the company’s season. So when the company announced its 2023-24 schedule — usually an artistic director’s splashiest public move of the year — the result was a group effort by CEO Meredith Suttles, Associate Artistic Director Nakissa Etemad and National New Play Network Producer in Residence Richard A. Mosqueda.
The new lineup begins with the world premiere of “Odyssey” (Aug. 31-Sept. 24), adapted and directed by Lisa Peterson, former associate director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where she has mounted a one-man “An Iliad.” Like that show, “Odyssey” refracts one of the Western canon’s most foundational texts from an unconventional angle: the perspective of contemporary female refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. Whereas in the original stranded wife Penelope struggles with the duties of hosting unwanted guests, now the women are those scorned strangers.
Then comes “Dragon Lady” (Nov. 24-Dec. 17), a solo cabaret that’s the first part of a trilogy by Sara Porkalob, all about the women in her family. In this installment, she does a take on her Filipina grandmother’s life that draws equally on karaoke, gangsters and a trailer park, suggesting her grit is genetic.
Next year brings “Bees and Honey” (Feb. 14-March 10) by Guadalís Del Carmen, co-founder of the Latinx Playwrights Circle. The West Coast premiere follows a Dominican couple who seem to be on the up-and-up — he with his auto shop, she poised to make partner at her law firm — till a sick parent must suddenly move in. If your love requires prosperity, the show asks, is it still love?
“Torch Song” (May 9-June 2, 2024), Harvey Fierstein’s two-act condensation of his 1982 “Torch Song Trilogy,” wraps up the season. MTC mounts the show, about a drag queen on the prowl for love and respect and trying futilely to escape the nagging voice of his mother, at a timely moment.
The new productions come on the heels of MTC’s groundbreaking musical “Justice: A New Musical” wiith MTC’s National Playwright in Residence Lauren M. Gunderson and award-winning composer/lyricist duo, Bree Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan behind the production.
The third play of the current season, the West Coast premiere of Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, runs through May 28. Brian Quijada’s one-person musical play investigates where Latinos fit in an American racial history narrative that too often poses a false dichotomy of Black or white. Satya Chávez, who wrote some of the show’s compositions, stars, and Matt Dickson directs.
To cap off the season, MTC is launching the two-week Marin New Play Festival, in which professional theater artists workshop a quartet of new plays with Tam High students, each getting a staged reading.