My Home on the Moon – A note from the Artistic Director

My Home on the Moon – A note from the Artistic Director

In many ways, the world premieres we produce on our mainstage make us the most excited. They are about taking risks, pushing envelopes of what theatre can do, giving our stage to playwrights/prophets to illuminate for us, life as it is being lived in our moment in time. World premieres bring out the best in all of us. Giving birth to a new play can be a thrilling exercise in daring, patience, trust, and vision, four of the most important values at San Francisco Playhouse. For if we want theatre to remain a vital force for building compassion in our community, we must support new work.

When we first read My Home on the Moon by Minna Lee, we were struck by its humor and originality. And yet, it found its way into the pile of scripts by exciting new voices, and we kept looking for a new play for our 23-24 Season. But stealthily, it stayed in our consciousness – its originality, its commentary on the burgeoning world of artificial intelligence, its connection to the Vietnamese culture, its quirky sense of humor. And slowly it started to emerge as a front-runner. The clash of tradition with the future attracted us, and we especially loved that it dealt with the huge critical issues we are facing right now with such hilarious and revealing wit.

We live in a time when the gentrification of the cities by corporate entities is pushing real estate values up and driving the mom-and-pop stores in so many different neighborhoods out of existence. So much so that the essential fabric of our community is being neutered into a cold grey sameness. Minna Lee’s play attacks this problem and at the same time ponders what our growing dependence on AI will do to human consciousness.

In the great tradition begun by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, brought the theatre by Rossum’s Universal Robots, and further explored by many contemporary novelists and filmmakers, Minna Lee asks the truly huge questions. What does it mean to be human? What are the responsibilities of consciousness? Do we mortals have a monopoly on these territories? Can an artificial being share the defining human qualities of love, compassion, and sacrifice? My Home on the Moon may not send us away with answers, but it will surely make us laugh, cry and stimulate curiosity.

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Bill English is Artistic Director and Co-Founder of San Francisco Playhouse, and in twenty years with Susi Damilano, has guided its growth from a bare-bones storefront to the second-largest theater in San Francisco.

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