Categories: THE BUZZ Tags: , , , 1 Comment

Reality 101 with Abbie Hoffman


Reality 101 with Abbie Hoffman

Article by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Hebert Siguenza stars in the play Steal Heaven as the sixties revolutionary

The San Diego Repertory Theatre started its 39th season last year with a changed Lyceum Space, more visual effects and more in depth scenic designs. Past seasons had elaborate set designs as well, but this season definitely has a fresh look and feel.

Abbot Howard “Abbie” Hoffman was an American political and social activist who co-founded the Youth International Party (“Yippies”). The historic figure inspired Herbert Siguenza: actor, writer and founding member of The Culture Clash Group to create a theater piece around what Abbie believed in.

The Steal Heaven plot centers in 2017. Young veteran turned activist Trish, (Summer Spiro) is outside the White House and after a heated discussion with a guard, ends up in ‘limbo’ outside the gates of heaven, in front of Abbie Hoffman. The sixties activist feels he has found an adequate suitor to make change and take on the challenges of the 21st century. In order to send her back to earth, she must pass an intensive training with a series of tests. Along the ‘boot camp’ style preparation, Trish will meet with different characters from Albert Einstein to Julia Child, to Steve Jobs all the way to John Lennon amongst others. All played in a wonderful pinpointed manner by Mark Pinter.

This play is icing of a very thick cake that is passed around every day. Corrupt government, police brutality, depressed young generations, poverty… For me, this is Siguenza’s best, most well-rounded work to date. Through Spiro’s intense portrayal, the audience is taken across different decades in history to this day, putting the finger inside most of the open wounds that many choose to overlook as a ‘politically correct’ effort. It will also launch various tacit questions about what each individual is doing in order to make change. Every historic character is handpicked to provoke different emotions. Trish swimming in this sea of question marks also starts questioning Hoffman, calling him ‘The class clown of the left’.

Herbert as co-director along with Rep Artistic Director Todd Salovey, orchestrates a medley of feelings thru the voice of both Spiro and Pinter. Summer Spiro is steal and cotton at the same time. She will inspire laughs and pull out tears. The weight of the plot is on her. From a histrionic view, she is ready to handle and deliver showing not only strong portrayal capability, but a solid physical training as well.

Mark Pinter is definitely a winner in the wardrobe department, rocking very cool and pinpointed -as well-, outfits by Costume Designer Anastasia Pautova. From the wig to the shoes, nothing is out of place.

Another topic launched at the table is the way of life in the 21st century, especially in the United States. GMO’s, allergies to almost everything, social media… there is even a reference in which they make fun of the young generations in the 90’s singing songs of the Musical Hair while protesting. Are we really looking to the past in order to find inspiring approaches? Did the evolution of technology create a lethargic society along with its gadgets and social media instead of more tools for a better and deeper way of thinking?

“The secret is to never lose the faith. It is not about winning” said Hoffman, “It is about the will to win”.

Steal Heaven will be playing at the Lyceum Space until Sunday January 25th.

For more information on ticket prices, times and Surround Events please click HERE.


Vanguard Culture

Vanguard Culture is an online media entity designed for culturally savvy, socially conscious individuals. We provide original interviews and reviews of the people, places, and events that make up San Diego’s thriving arts and culture community, as well as curated snapshots of the week’s best, most inspiring and unique cultural and culinary events. We believe in making a difference in the world, supporting San Diego’s vibrant visual and performing arts community and bringing awareness to important social and community causes.

One Comment

  1. […] true stories, things that have happened or are continuing to happen such as San Diego REP’s Steal Heaven and Moxie Theatre’s Trouble in Mind. I am loving how the written word is being used out […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *