Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment


February 11, 2008
The Topdog

TopDog-Underdog2.jpg

There’s only one week left of the current production of “Topdog/Underdog” at Sacramento Theatre Company. While I’m not enamored with the play itself, this is a worthy production with smart direction from Benny Sato Ambush and particularly strong performances from Hassan El-Amin and Adrian Roberts.

Thinking of “Topdog” always reminds me of seeing it in New York in 2002. It ran on Broadway with Jeffrey Wright and Mos Def. About 10 minutes into the show at the Ambassador Theatre, it seemed the dilapidated-apartment set had its own olfactory special effects when it started to smell of smoke. Suddenly, an announcement came over the house PA telling everyone to evacuate the theater immediately because of a fire.

The next thing I knew, I was standing on the sidewalk next to Wright, somewhat surreal in his white-face makeup. Wright shook his head, “That’s too bad. We were really getting into it tonight.”

Three nights later, I was back at the theater and found myself seated next to legendary writer-director Melvin Van Peebles. The scowling Van Peebles is a famously grumpy cat, but I told him I was from Sacramento and had once seen a rather amazing production of his play “Ain’t Supposed To Die a Natural Death.”

Van Peebles immediately brightened and said that production by the original Sons and Ancestors Players and directed by Paul Carter Harrison was the reason it went to Broadway in the very theater we were sitting in.

Van Peebles opened the program to a page that acknowledged notable productions at the theater and his play was there. At intermission, the house manager approached Van Peebles, saying that Wright and Def had heard he was in the house and wanted to invite him backstage after the show. Van Peebles just kind of shrugged and said, “No thanks. Maybe some other time.”

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



Categories


October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Monthly Archives