Octavio Solis could be called the Midas of local theater - anything he touches turns to gold. It could in turn be argued that Tarell Alvin McCraney, the gifted playwright behind Brothers Size, doesn’t need any help. But judging from audience and critical response (across the board raves) - it certainly doesn’t hurt.
After my 14-year-old self was scarred by The Red Pony, I could never work up suitable enthusiasm for John Steinbeck. But local playwright Octavio Solis's beautifully-wrought adaption of The Pastures of Heaven has me convinced Steinbeck is as crucial to the American literary canon as everyone claims. (As is Solis to the theater, but that I already knew.)
Warm, deftly poetic, and funny even in tragedy, The Pastures of Heaven follows the lives of farmers and teachers and dreamers as they search for contentment in Steinbeck's lush Salinas Valley. It's the perfect show for Cal Shakes, with rolling hills behind the outdoor ampitheater and stars rising as the evening darkens.