Theater Review: WE ARE CONTINUOUS (New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francsico)

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by Chuck Louden on October 30, 2023

in Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area


New Conservatory Theater’s Fall offering is the West Coast Premiere of a new play by Harrison David Rivers (The Bandaged Place, This Bitter Earth, a semi autobiographical journey. we are continuous examines how we change with the times and how our definitions of love and family can evolve.

Alicia Stamps and Devin A. Cunningham

This one-act 80-minute show packs a lot in. It’s a family drama involving a Black man coming out to his conservative Christian parents, and having them meet his white boyfriend. But this is not Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? The three actors: Mother, Son and his Husband, share their inner thoughts, feelings and fears to the audience on Issac Fine’s excellent open dining room set. We’re seeing the story evolve from three different perspectives with each character exposing their vulnerabilities. The audience never sees Son’s father, but his presence is felt.

Walter Zarnowitz, Alicia Stamps, and Devin A. Cunningham

The moving and heartfelt performances begin with Alicia Stamp, who is outstanding as Mother. As with every mother, she suffers the burden of carrying everyone’s secrets. All mothers have the unsung tasks of also placating everyone, keeping up appearances in the community, not complaining, etc. In Mother’s monologues we hear and feel the weight put on her shoulders while smiling through the day.

Walter Zarnowitz, Devin A. Cunningham and Alicia Stamps 

In Devin A. Cunningham’s Son, we hear about his coming out journey. We empathize knowing he needs to spread his wings and leave his home town to discover who he is. Walter Zarnowitz’s self-assured and loving Husband has the unenviable task of seeing his partner struggling on his journey because of the family dynamics.

Alicia Stamps

As the story evolves there’s a big bombshell dropped late in the show, shaking everything up. To a Bay Area audience in 2023, the plot development may seem superfluous and dated, with a “Love Heals All” message at the end. Still, the strength of the piece is about how the story is told and performed, and at NCTC, director Shawn J West‘s sensitive and convincing we are continuous is a superb piece of theater.

Walter Zarnowitz

photos by Lois Tema

we are continuous
New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco
Wed and Thurs at 7:30pm, Fri and Sat at 8pm, Sun at 2
(dark Nov 22 & 23)
ends on November 26, 2023
for tickets, call 415.861.8972 or visit NCTC

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