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Other Desert Cities — a play that’s as serious as it is funny

By Geoff Rose

I’ve just returned to San Miguel after a New York theater stint that really juiced me up. The Broadway season this year is absolutely stunning and I hated to leave it all behind. I decided to look up my dear friend Taylor Korobow (a fellow San Francisco theater buff) to find out what might be coming to the San Miguel stage. I was thrilled and delighted to find she and Joseph (Kent, her partner) and their theater company, Stray Dog Productions, were in the midst of casting their upcoming production Other Desert Cities, which I had recently seen in New York. Taylor and I had a glass of wine and discussed the upcoming play.

Other Desert Cities

By Jon Robin Baitz
Wed, Oct 17-Sun, Oct 28, 8pm
Sundays at 5pm
Teatro Santa Ana
La Biblioteca
Reloj 50A
100 pesos

Geoff Rose: It’s about time you put on another production. After your sellout runs of God of Carnage and ‘night, Mother, I’m sure San Miguel is clamoring for more from you.

Taylor Korobow: Well, I’m not sure anyone is clamoring but I have had quite a few nice people stop me on the street and ask me what was next. Very nice to be asked, by the way.

GR: Why did you wait so long? It’s been over a year since your last production, right?

TK: We purposely waited until October to coincide with Cervantino in San Miguel. It’s so exciting to be part of the buzz and energy of all that wonderful theater and music. Cervantino is when this town becomes completely devoted to the performing arts, the perfect time to be up with a new production.

GR: Speaking of new productions, I loved Other Desert Cities when I saw it in New York. What made you choose that play?

TK: Joseph and I also saw it in New York and just loved it. Jon Robin Baitz, who was nominated for the Pulitzer, is such an incredible playwright and this play really moved me. There is something so compelling about his characters, they are so easy to relate to, so complex, yet so often they are just incredibly funny. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed out loud during this play, yet the story is quite serious. It’s a great balance and very few contemporary playwrights know how to pull it off as well as Baitz.

GR: Clearly you’re not bringing the Broadway cast to San Miguel. Who can we look forward to seeing in your production?

TK: Oh, I wish I could bring that cast here. Wow! Stockard Channing as Polly, the hard-edged mother, was one of the finest performances I’ve seen in a long time. But we hope to rival Ms. Channing’s performance with Jill Gottlieb, a local actress, who just nailed the part in the audition. Also, the brilliantly talented Carrie Haugh, who was in God of Carnage and  ‘night, Mother, is coming from New York to play Polly’s daughter Brooke. And Jennie Brick who brought the house down as the mother in ‘night, Mother is coming from San Francisco to play Silda, Polly’s boozy sister. Plus we have Charles Barker and David Galitzky, two local actors who are just perfect as the father and younger brother. The entire cast is fantastic; I’m just thrilled to be working with them.

GR: Sound truly promising. Are you working at the Teatro Santa Ana again? And what about ticket prices? You always offer your tickets for such a good price, far lower than anyone else in town, why is that?

TK: Yes, we love working at Teatro Santa Ana at the Biblioteca. Julieta and the others there are really committed to good theater and they make it so easy to work there. As far as ticket prices, Joseph and I both believe in the idea of making theater available to everyone. Price should not be an obstacle. If someone enjoys theater and wants to attend, they should be able to. Cheaper tickets mean you’re making tickets available to a new generation of theatergoers like younger people and nationals who speak English as a second language. We believe that 100-peso seats make that a possibility and that’s important to us.

GR: You can be sure I’ll have my 100 pesos in hand. Best of luck with this production, Taylor, I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of many theatergoers here in San Miguel when I say we’re really looking forward to it.

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