Best Small Theater Company: And place for actors of color to find work



Among the smaller companies, TheatreFIRST stands out for its commitment not only to producing shows rarely if ever seen in the States, but making sure those shows represent a rich cultural diversity that still is sorely lacking in the Bay Area theater scene. Artistic director Clive Chafer is on a tear, from the racially charged courtroom drama Color of Justice with a massive, multihued cast to the lilting Great Celestial Cow, about an Indian family transplanted to London. Chafer also took a incisive look last year at the clash between cultures with two David Hare works: Via Dolorosa, which chronicles Hare’s trip to the Middle East, and A Map of the World, which pits a V.S. Naipaul-like author against UNESCO at a conference of developing nations. This season, although space problems mean most of the shows will unfortunately have to be presented as staged readings and not full productions, Chafer is still focused on getting the best actors he can, and raising the most salient questions.