Paradise Street by Clive Barker
The American Premiere of Clive Barker's strange magical Christmas play about England's greatest monarch, the search for meaning in a godless world, and STDs.
Set in Liverpool at the end of the 20th century as the city is undergoing a massive urban revitalization movement, Paradise Street follows the romantic and philosophic misadventures of the Bonner brothers, their lovers, the local doctor, and a homeless prophet as they meet, part, love, fight, prophesy, and debunk miracles on the last Christmas Eve before their street is demolished. At midnight, the celebrated monarch Queen Elizabeth I steps through time accompanied by the famous poet Ben Jonson, her lover, his lover, and their pet ape. Why is she there and what will happen when her entourage crosses paths with the contemporary populace of England's most infamous of port cities?
"Paradise Street" is a lot like A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM crossed with A CHRISTMAS CAROL crossed with a Blackadder Episode crossed with LOOK BACK IN ANGER. Barker borrows and steals from all of these things and more, and then throws them in a blender without any reverence and hits the buttons until something freakish looking but amazingly tasty comes out. His characters are these incredibly rich, complex people, and so real but also so stylized, so hyperbolic, and he uses them to talk about a wide array of topics and never really comes to any conclusions, just relishing the conversation. He thumbs his nose at conventional storytelling demands like an ending that ties things up or has a moral or even really an opinion, while creating work that is incredibly structured, full of parallels and symbols and clues, as tight as a sonnet. But to what purpose? Totally up to you, the audience, to decide.
EXIT Theatre (View)
156 Eddy Street
San Francisco, CA 94102