The Soho Rep had been staging vital productions out of its small Walker Street theater in Tribeca for a quarter century when it was discovered, in 2016, that the company had been in violation of an occupancy limit of 70 people. Through a combination of fund-raising and city agency support, the company has now returned to its home space, which includes a new fire-safety system. It is a fitting improvement, because flames are the essential metaphor of Aleshea Harris’s explosive Is God Is. In this allegorical tale of vengeance and family honor, twin sisters, burned both literally and figuratively, create an inferno that swallows nearly everyone they meet.
There’s a neon display over the mezzanine bar in the spanking new A.R.T./New York Theatres on 53rd Street that reads, “Why are you here and not somewhere else?” It’s an apt distillation of Richard Maxwell’s eccentric Samara, which has just opened there. Maxwell’s odyssey, artfully wrangled by Soho Rep Artistic Director Sarah Benson, invokes the ghosts of Shakespeare and Brecht to question the very notion of making and attending theater.