A new play by Jordan Harrison
Directed by Mark Rucker
Running time: 2 hours.
There will be one 15-minute intermission.
Join us at fabulous '50s events! See "Events" tabs for details.
Video: Hear what audiences are saying about Maple and Vine
A modern-day couple chooses to live life like it's 1955 in this dark comedy
Could you drop Wi-Fi for hi-fi? Abandon sushi lunches for Tupperware parties? What would you give up for a simpler life? Overwhelmed by the infinite choices of the modern world, Katha and Ryu discover an enticing escape route: joining a community of 1950s reenactors, where life is slower, passion is risqué, and a sparkling cocktail is a daily accessory. But in this provocative comedy, retro attitudes about gender, race, and sexuality stir up powerful questions. How much are they willing to sacrifice for happiness?
Recommended for ages 14 and up (contains sexual situations)
"Period-perfect . . . a swift, crisp production" —San Francisco Chronicle
"Smashing . . . a crisp balance of comedy and drama" —Stark Insider
"A quirky retro fantasy . . . hits the spot in our short-attention span world" —San Jose Mercury News
"Funny [and] surprising . . . a provocative blast to the past" —San Francisco Examiner
"Laugh-out-loud funny, surprising, and insightful . . . Maple and Vine is about today and, in particular, the origins of conservatism in that puzzling, paradoxical beast: the modern yuppie." —The San Francisco Appeal
"A sparklingly original idea" —Los Angeles Times
"A clever, sharply drawn fantasy. Makes a sneaky, compelling case for the seductions of living the Ozzie and Harriet life." —The New York Times
"A darkly appealing fairy tale. [Playwright] Jordan Harrison racks up beaucoup points for originality." —Variety
"Four stars!" —Time Out New York
"One of the most intriguing premises of the year" —New York Post
"Touching and thought-provoking" —Louisville Courier-Journal
InterACT Events Splashy parties, lively discussions, and more—all free with your ticket.*
New!Life at the Corner of Maple and Vine: A Panel Discussion
April 17, 8 p.m.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the 21st century? If you had the chance, would you live in a "simpler" time with less anxiety, fewer choices, and more defined roles? Join us following the show for a discussion about the provocative issues central to the production. Panelists include Oakland playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, whose plays include After the War (produced by A.C.T. in 2007) and Yankee Dawg You Die; feminist writer, editor, and activist Courtney Martin, author of books including Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection Is Harming Young Women and editor emeritus of the world's most widely read feminist blog, Feministing; and Dr. Mason Turner, a gay man, father, and leader in his field who is chief of psychiatry at San Francisco's Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and leader of A.C.T.'s "Theater on the Couch" InterACT series.
Fridays, before the 8 p.m. show
Go back in time with the characters of Maple and Vine! Come dressed head-to-toe in '50s wear at Friday performances, and you can enjoy a free preshow cocktail at the third-floor Sky Bar. If we dig your ensemble, you might see your photo on our website or on our Facebook page.
Limit one drink per ticketholder. Valid only before the show at the third-floor Sky Bar. To qualify, you must be wearing a complete '50s outfit.
April 3, 5:30 p.m.
Get inside the artistic process at this lively preshow discussion with the director and A.C.T. artistic staff.
Theater on the Couch
April 6, 8 p.m.
Led by Mason Turner, chief of psychiatry at San Francisco's Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, this exciting postshow discussion series explores the minds, motives, and behaviors of the characters and addresses audience questions.
April 10, 7 p.m.
April 15, 2 p.m.
April 18, 2 p.m.
After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors, moderated by a member of the A.C.T. artistic staff.
OUT with A.C.T.
April 11, 8 p.m.
The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and enjoy free drinks and treats at this popular afterparty. Visit www.act-sf.org/out for information about how to subscribe to OUT nights throughout the season.
April 21, 2 p.m.
Join us before the show as A.C.T. Costume Design Assistant Jessie Amoroso leads a lively, interactive workshop on "The 'Foundation' of Great Performance: The Importance of Period Undergarments in Creating Character." The actors in Maple and Vine wear gorgeous 1950s ensembles—but what they wear underneath might be the most important part of each outfit. Learn how the understructure of a costume helps actors create their characters, changing their posture, silhouette, and how they move and breathe onstage. A few lucky attendees will get to try on costume pieces to experience the effect themselves! Doors open at 12:45 p.m.; the workshop will begin promptly at 1:00. Please note: due to sexual situations and partial nudity, Maple and Vine is recommended for audiences ages 14 and up. Click here to learn more about A.C.T.'s Family Series.
*Most events are free for ticket holders. Please note that performance times vary.
Insight into the Play, the Playwright, and the Production
Each entertaining and informative issue of Words on Plays, A.C.T.'s in-depth performance guide series, contains a synopsis, advance program notes, study questions, and additional background information about the historical and cultural context of the play.
Words on Plays is available for purchase in the lobby of the theater during performances or online ($12 each + postage and handling or $5 each for the electronic edition). For more information about how to subscribe to a full or partial season, click here.
Words on Plays Prepared by
Elizabeth Brodersen, Director of Education
Dan Rubin, Publications Manager
Michael Paller, Resident Dramaturg
Emily Hoffman, Publications and Dramaturgy Associate
Emily Means, Education and Publications Fellow
Amy Krivohlavek, Marketing Writer
Click to view larger images from Maple and Vine at A.C.T.
On the A.C.T. Blog
Maple and Vine has stirred up a lot of talk in the A.C.T. offices about nostalgia. The debate that began at the first table reading of Jordan Harrison's play continues as we bring this play to life on the mainstage: Would you be willing to leave the fast-paced modern world for a quieter 1950s existence? How far are we willing to go—and what are we willing to sacrifice—for happiness?
We invite you to join in the conversation! Add your comments to the A.C.T. Blog posts below—or share your 1950s photos, memories, and insights on our Facebook page.
Monday, March 19, 2012 Understrokes of a Modern Typer
Publications Manager Dan Rubin ruminates on typewriters vs. laptops and wonders: Would you return to 1955? What freedoms would you sacrifice for happiness?
Thursday, March 22, 2012 A 1950s Childhood
Group Sales Manager Edward Budworth remembers growing up in 1950s Santa Cruz.
The 1950s in Commercials
As Katha and Ryu quickly discover, life in the suburbs of 1955 is quite different from their contemporary big-city world. In particular, attitudes about race, gender, and homosexuality were much less progressive—which is reflected in many commercials of the era.
A 1950s cosmetics ad for a cleansing cream with a surprising ingredient
"Boys Beware": An ad about the dangers of homosexuality
A slightly sexist 1957 commercial for Pepsi
"A Word to the Wives": How two women trick a husband into buying a new kitchen
Costume Sketches for Maple and Vine
Maple and Vine may have a cast of just five actors, but among them they wear close to 80 costumes. Not only are these costumes responsible for telling us which world the characters are inhabiting in any given scene—whether modern-day New York City or a recreated 1955 community—they also help to articulate just how deeply each of the characters has embodied the ethos of the 1950s.
When Katha and Ryu decide to leave the modern world behind for a new life in 1955, they also abandon most of the contents of their closets. In their contemporary lives, they wear certain uniforms—business attire for Katha, who works in publishing, and scrubs for Ryu, a plastic surgeon. But when they move into the world of 1955, they reinvent themselves—and their wardrobes. Coached by Ellen and Dean, who have lived in the community for years, they transform their clothing to match their new roles in 1950s society.
Costume designer Alex Jaeger has designed period wear for A.C.T. productions before, including last fall's Once in a Lifetime, a madcap comedy set in 1920s Hollywood, and last season's The Homecoming, which was set in London during the 1960s. For Maple and Vine, several costumes were built from scratch in A.C.T.'s costume shop; others were repurposed from garments discovered at local vintage clothing stores. "There were a lot of rules in the 1950s," explains Jaeger. "Rules about wearing white, wearing gloves—all these rules we don't see any more that gave people clues to social status, even education."
Click on the images below to view costume sketches and learn more about four characters from Maple and Vine.
Send a free vintage eCard!
When they leave the modern world for a 1950s lifestyle, Katha and Ryu give up email and texting for letters and postage stamps. These pithy postcards merge a vintage style with modern technology, playing on period perceptions of race, gender, and sexuality as they were just beginning to percolate during the '50s.
Stir up your own conversation with your friends and family with these provocative postcards—no postage stamp required.