Theater Review: THE TUTOR (NCTC in San Francisco)

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by Chuck Louden on April 16, 2024

in Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area

New Conservatory Theatre Center is offering The Tutor, a gripping and thought-provoking three-person drama that tells a timely story of love, lies, survival, and culture. With insightful minimal staging by Sahar Assaf, the performers pile-drive Torange Yeghiazarian‘s whip-smart dialogue into a powerful intimate ride that never lets up.

Debórah Eliezer, Lawrence Radecker, Maya Nazzal
Debórah Eliezer, Lawrence Radecker

Set in the Bay Area, Yakon (Lawrence Radecker) is a middle-aged man who has finally settled down in an arranged marriage with a much younger wife, the beautiful Baran (Maya Nazzal), who emigrated from a politically troubled Iran, eager for a fresh start in a new country. When it’s revealed that Yakon’s best friend and Berkeley college professor Azar (Debórah Eliezer) is having a passionate affair with his wife, all sorts of complications ensue. Friendship, honor and staying true to one’s culture are all tested. Utilizing monologues as well as dialogue, Yeghiazarian’s play gives equal time to each character’s point of view. Consequently our loyalty to everyone switches throughout.

Debórah Eliezer, Lawrence Radecker
Debórah Eliezer, Maya Nazzal

With the fourth wall broken, NCTC’s smaller theater has been refitted by Matt Owen to resemble a home so that actors freely move about the set, reaching over the heads of audience members to grab a book or pour a cup of coffee.

Lawrence Radecker, Debórah Eliezer, Maya Nazzal
Lawrence Radecker, Maya Nazzal

Cultural disharmony, polarizing in Iran, is also taking place in the United States. Violence toward people on the queer spectrum is also happening in both countries. This blistering play sheds light on these contemporary issues in which all sides are begging for a voice and an opportunity to live one’s truth.

Maya Nazzal, Debórah Eliezer, Lawrence Radecker
Maya Nazzal, Lawrence Radecker

photos by Lois Tema

Debórah Eliezer, Lawrence Radecker

The Tutor
New Conservatory Theatre
in association with Golden Thread Productions
New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco
Wed and Thurs at 7:00pm, Fri and Sat at 8pm, Sun at 2
ends on May 11, 2024
for tickets, call 415.861.8972 or visit NCTC

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