San Diego Repertory Theatre Presents World Premier Production Of ‘Steal Heaven’
Thursday, January 8, 2015
The 1960s were a unique time in the U.S. A time when students took over administration buildings and parents no longer understood the politics of their kids.
Mass demonstrations filled Washington, D.C., and Vietnam War protesters almost caused a presidential convention to shut down in Chicago.
San Diego REP Presents World Premier Production "Steal Heaven"
Herbert Siguenza, playwright and director, "Steal Heaven"
Tom Hayden, former California senator and longtime activist
It was also the 1960s when Abbie Hoffman, a clean-cut social worker from Boston, became an outrageous wild-haired agitator.
A world premiere comedy opening at the San Diego Repertory Theatre highlights Hoffman, the '60s, Yippies, hippies and what became of the passion and spirit of that time.
"Steal Heaven", by Culture Clash co-founder Herbert Siguenza, is set in heaven. It's there that Hoffman conducts a training camp for potential social activists who are required to go back to Earth to become new agents of change.
Siguenza said he was living in the Bay Area when he became familiar with Hoffman.
"I heard about him, but I didn't take him too seriously," Siguenza told KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday. "I thought he was a little too radical for me."
Siguenza said his perception changed when he was asked by the repertory theatre's associate director, Todd Salovey, to develop a play about Hoffman.
"I started to see that this guy was really ahead of his time, and the stuff he was talking about has come true," Siguenza said.
Although he didn't meet Hoffman, who died in 1989, Tom Hayden did.
Hayden, a former California senator and longtime activist, said he met Hoffman in Newark, New Jersey, during a protest. They were later both a part of the Chicago Seven, a group of defendants charged with conspiracy and inciting a riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
"He was something like me. He was a community organizer," Hayden said. "He was a performer, and not a day passed when he wasn't trying to invent some fantastic way to project his passion or ridicule somebody."
Salovey from the San Diego Repertory Theatre, will host a discussion Thursday night with Hayden and Siguenza about the play's relevancy to today's protests and social justice movements. The discussion begins at 7 p.m. at the Lyceum Theatre, with the show at 8 p.m.
"Steal Heaven" is showing now through Jan. 25 at the Lyceum Theatre.
Web producer Hoa Quach contributed to this report.
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