2 actors build a bridge between 2 different generations in ‘Father / Daughter’

In Kait Kerrigan’s play “Father / Daughter”, father and daughter are never in the same place at the same time, and they also play the role of each other’s lovers.

With its world premiere at Berkeley’s Aurora Theater Company, the play alternates with two actors back and forth between two different couples right from the beginning of their relationship: a 30-year-old, newly divorced father starting a new relationship, and his 30-year-old – old daughter begins a new romance 23 years later.

It’s Aurora’s return to live theater after a series of online productions during the shutdown of the pandemic. Aurora will also offer streaming of “Father / Daughter” in the race’s final week, 7-12. December.

Kait Kerrigan says she wrote the generational love story “Father / Daughter” “from a very personal place.” (Aurora Theater Company)

Kerrigan originally wrote “Father / Daughter” during a week at Lark, a game development lab in New York City that closed in October. She had written a number of plays and musicals before, most of the latter with composer Bree Lowdermilk, but “Father / Daughter” was her first two-person play. She went on to develop the play at TheaterWorks Silicon Valley’s 2019 New Works Festival.

“I wrote from a very personal place,” Kerrigan says. “The play itself is not at all autobiographical at this stage. But in the introductory draft, it was a bit of my own private therapy session. I wrote about the experience of getting married to my husband and wrote about the experience of discovering the ways in which the choice you make in the partner you choose moves the relationship with your parents and sometimes allows you to to grow in it. relationship with your parents. “

Her husband, Nathan Tysen, is also a lyricist for musicals, including “Amélie,” which premiered at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in 2015. and “Paradise Square.”

“My mom got me when she was 20, and I had always played this game with myself like, ‘Oh god, I wanted a 10-year-old right now!'” Kerrigan says. “But I had never really played it with my dad. And I suddenly realized when I was getting married, oh my god, my dad met his wife when he was 30, which was when I met my husband.”

In Aurora’s world premiere, Oakland Theater Project’s artistic director William Thomas Hodgson plays father Baldwin and his daughter’s girlfriend, Louis. Sam Jackson, who often appears with Aurora and Shotgun Players, plays daughter Miranda and Risa, her father’s girlfriend.

“I really love the shape of this piece,” Hodgson says. “Two actors who play four different characters and don’t really have any stage changes and really limiting costume changes. We’ve tried to put a lot of specificity into the show around physical and vocal changes. And you jump 23 years ahead between these two 30-year-olds in “two different periods in the 90s and 2000s, there are different social weights. There are different people they are allowed to be.”

“And because we are two black actors playing these roles, these characters have now suddenly turned black, as they were not originally black,” Jackson notes. “In the black culture, the difference between how one carries oneself in the 30s in 1992 and in 2001 is very different. There is a statuality about the way women behaved in the nineties that we do not feel we need “And Baldwin is now a black man in his nineties who does not live with his daughter. It’s a very different story than a white man in his nineties who does not live with his daughter. There’s a lot more judgment involved.”

Generational differences were great for Kerrigan when she wrote the play.

“One of the things I really thought about was the way my parents and really their entire generation had moved into adulthood so much faster than my generation has done,” she says. “I just had my second child as a 40-year-old because I spent the first half of my adult life gaining a foothold in a playwright and musical theater landscape. But even my friends who have more normal jobs were in their 30s when they had their kids or thought about trying to settle down or get married. And everyone in my mother’s and father’s generation, that was just not the case. “

Contact Sam Hurwitt at shurwitt@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter.com/shurwitt.


By Kait Kerrigan, presented by the Aurora Theater Company

Through: December 12 (also streams online December 7-12)

Where: Aurora Theater, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley

Runningtime: 1 hour, 45 minutes, no break

Tickets: $ 20- $ 78; 510-843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org

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