Couch-surf theater

Pub date December 9, 2008
WriterRobert Avila
SectionArts & CultureSectionTheater

PREVIEW No sooner do they settle into their snug and versatile new alley roost on Natoma Street than the people at Boxcar Theatre go itinerant again. The company, founded just a few years back on valiantly environmental productions set aboard moving buses (2006’s 21/One) or on the sands of Baker Beach (2006’s Zen), is spending the holiday season couch-surfing its production of Edward Albee’s The American Dream in a series of private living rooms around the Bay.

Fair enough. This early one act — a scathingly trenchant satire of quote-unquote American family values — is as personal and autobiographical an assault on the hollow mores and manners of a vicious culture as anything Albee ever penned: it’s almost like it never left home in the first place. The cozy parable of Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma — plus special guest: a mysterious young man the spitting image of a son they once adopted and destroyed — unfolds proudly and loudly in a strikingly absurdist key while laying the groundwork for more intricate creations/dissections in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962) and A Delicate Balance (1966). Like the teen who calls the fam out on all its bullshit, it’s a play the author himself described as "a stand against the fiction that everything in this slipping land of ours is peachy-keen." Who says you can’t go home again?

THE AMERICAN DREAM Fri/12, 7 and 8:30 p.m.; Sat/13 and Dec. 19 and 20, 7 p.m. $25. Various Bay Area living rooms; call for location. (415) 776-1747,