“A thrilling, gender-flipped
slice of Manifest Destiny”
Time Out New York
Men on Boats
by Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Tamilla Woodard
October 17–December 16, 2018
A.C.T.’s Strand Theater
1127 Market Street, San Francisco
Running Time: 90 minutes with no intermission
Spinning historical, theatrical, and gender conventions on their heads, this subversive tale of 10 men, four boats, and two rivers contains none of the above.
Pack your gear for this 21st-century telling of 19th-century American explorer and one-armed Civil War veteran John Wesley Powell, who assembles a brawny band of soldiers, trappers, and adventurers to explore the waterways of the American West. Inspired by Powell’s actual travel log from 1869, Jaclyn Backhaus’s nimble and ingenious script is provocative, laugh-out-loud theater, performed by a cast of women who infuse America’s historic myths of male conquest with a sly blast of subtext.
With the speed and force of Powell’s white-water rapids, Backhaus conjures her epic story—in which simple materials are transformed into perilous canyons and death-defying cliffs—out of sheer imagination, shaping an innovative and innately theatrical play, that became an off-Broadway sensation.
Please note: This production contains smoking, strobe effects, gunshots, and strong language.