George Moscone’s Assasination Serves as Impetus for New Play and Documentary

The Memory Be Green, a poetic collage of fiction and memory, premieres January 17

The assassination of George Moscone is the impetus for a new play and a new documentary.

“The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe”
William Shakespeare, Hamlet

San Francisco, December 28, 2011—When Jon Moscone was fourteen years old, his father, San Francisco mayor George Moscone, was assassinated. Now, more than 30 years after the tragic incident, Jon has confronted his buried feelings about the tragedy and the crime that shocked America. Jon, artistic director for The California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, used the best means he knew to come to terms with his personal tragedy by telling his story through theater. Working with his close friend Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the story of both father and son are examined in Ghost Light, a new play, that re-imagines history, memory, fathers and sons. Ghost Light, written by Taccone and directed by Moscone, will play at Berkeley Repertory Theatre beginning January 6, 2012.

KQED’s original documentary, The Memory Be Green, combines reflections about the late Mayor and the times in which he lived with a look at the artistic process involved in creating a new work for the stage. The 30-minute documentary offers perspective on history and the role of art in bringing insight to both.

Documentary producer Dave Iverson, who also hosts the Friday edition of Forum on KQED Public Radio, first became aware of the new theater project when Jon was his radio guest. “It was the 30th anniversary of his father’s death and Jon mentioned that he and Tony were working on a play and I just thought it had the makings of a fascinating documentary.”

“For years I never thought I had the permission to investigate the loss of my dad as both father and political figure through my art,” Moscone remarked in a recent release. “Through this deep collaboration with Tony (Taccone), I have brought my history firmly into my work, and used my work to meditate on my story, all of which has articulated a new identity for me as a theatre maker. I hope (the play) resonates with people who miss George and with people who didn’t even know him, but seek a way to remember those whom they have lost in their own lives.”

Tony Taccone, who’s known Jon for 20 years, was intrigued with the chance to explore a more personal aspect of a well documented tragedy. “The play ends up being about learning how to grieve and the place of that in one’s life,” Taccone says. “I think grief is something we carry actively and always.”

The title for the documentary, The Memory be Green, comes from a line in Hamlet. In the fictionalized story of the play, the main character is directing a production of Hamlet.“ The play is about the unresolved parts of our past,” Iverson adds, “and what happens if you don’t confront those issues. So in that sense, memory is always green and ready to spring.”

The Memory Be Green will premiere on KQED 9 on Tuesday, January 17, at 7:30pm. It will repeat on KQED Life and other KQED channels and will also be available online at kqed.org. The documentary, a co-production of KQED and Dave Iverson, is funded in part by San Francisco Foundation.

About KQED
KQED (kqed.org) has served Northern California for more than 50 years and is affiliated with NPR and PBS. KQED owns and operates public television stations KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area), KQED Plus (San Jose/Bay Area), and KQET 25 (Watsonville/Monterey); KQED Public Radio (88.5 FM San Francisco and 89.3 FM Sacramento); the interactive platforms kqed.org and KQEDnews.org; and KQED Education. KQED Public Television, one of the nation’s most-watched public television stations, is the producer of local and national series such as QUEST; Check, Please! Bay Area; This Week in Northern California; Truly CA; and Essential Pépin. KQED’s digital television channels include 9HD, KQED Life, KQED World, KQED Kids, and KQED V-me, and are available 24/7 on Comcast. KQED Public Radio, home of Forum with Michael Krasny and The California Report, is one of the most-listened-to public radio stations in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service delivering more than eighteen local newscasts each weekday. KQED Interactive provides KQED’s cross-platform news service, KQEDnews.org, and offers several popular local blogs, video and audio podcasts, and a live radio stream at kqed.org. KQED Education brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and the general public through workshops, community screenings and multimedia resources.

About Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Berkeley Repertory Theatre has grown from a storefront stage to a national leader in innovative theatre. Known for its core values of imagination and excellence, as well as its educated and adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a welcoming home for emerging and established artists since 1968. With two stages, a school, and a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, Berkeley Rep is proud to premiere exhilarating new plays. In the last six years, the company has helped send six shows to Broadway. Seven more landed off Broadway, one moved to London, two turned into films, and others have toured the nation. Come see tomorrow’s plays today at Berkeley Rep.

Contact: Scott Walton 415.553.2145/swalton@kqed.org

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George Moscone’s Assasination Serves as Impetus for New Play and Documentary 28 December,2011

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