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Pam MacKinnon, whom the LA Times called a “hot commodity on Broadway”, has come to San Francisco as American Conservatory Theater’s (A.C.T.’s) Artistic Director. In her first order of business, Pam has honored the Bay Area by picking as her debut production a play set in the locker rooms of the cricket teams of India and England. The rival women cricket players are playing a world-class match when rain interrupts the play, and slowly secrets spill out.
A contrast of two time-traveling stories, Testmatch moves from the above scene in 2019 to the 1800s when the players discuss the rules by which to play the game. The director makes the two periods of history come alive. Her skill is seen in the exemplary performance of the actors and the fine nuances that distinguish the two periods of history.
During the panel discussion Chai, Gupshup and Stories with Ritu Marwah at the recent South Asian Literature and Art (SALA) festival at Montalvo Arts Center, Pam MacKinnon shared some of the fine elements that distinguish her as a storyteller. The panel discussed how stories belong to everyone but it is in the telling of the story that the skill of the storyteller can enthrall and captivate the audience.
Pam MacKinnon won the Tony and Drama Desk awards and received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Best Revival of a Play for her production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She won an Obie Award for Excellence in Directing as well as Tony and Lucille Lortel award nominations for Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park. Her production of Beau Willimon’s The Parisian Woman, starring Uma Thurman, is currently running on Broadway. Her other Broadway credits include Amélie, A New Musical; the world premiere of David Mamet’s China Doll with Al Pacino; Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles with Elisabeth Moss; and Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance with Glenn Close and John Lithgow.
Patrons of art play an important role in what is made available and offered to them. The response of the Bay Area theatergoers will determine the future choice of plays by the artistic directors of the area.
Ritu Marwah is an actor turned writer who enjoys gupshup, chai and stories.
Cover photo credit: Hetal Soni. Pam MacKinnon, Tony Award-winning director of Testmatch on the panel “Gupshup, Chai and Stories with Ritu Marwah” at SALA 2019.
This article was edited by Culture and Media Editor Geetika Pathania Jain.