“Don’t let the veneer of crime and decay be all that you see.”
An enthralled crowd watched on from the tables in the Louis Brown Mayer auditorium at UC Hastings Law as actors traded lines and shared powerful oral histories of the Tenderloin neighborhood.
The documentary-style production was a free performance of CuttingBall Theater’s “The Tenderloin,” originally performed in 2012. CuttingBall, which typically makes Exit Theater at Taylor Street its home, opened its tour of neighborhood spaces at UC Hastings on Jan. 10.
“Cutting Ball has been making work in the Tenderloin for 20 years. To celebrate this milestone without celebrating the neighborhood itself would be to deny an enormous part of what has made us who we are,” said Ariel Craft, CuttingBall’s Artistic Director.
The play’s overarching subject can be summed up in one line from Mark Ellinger, an interviewee featured in the play, “Don’t let the veneer of crime and decay be all that you see.”
“The Tenderloin is a profoundly stigmatized place, the people who pass through don’t tend to look beneath the ‘veneer of crime and decay,” Craft continued. “But, if and when you take the time to listen to the voices and the stories of this neighborhood, the integrity of this community, the depth of its character, and the systems of care and support that exist here are undeniable.”