Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
SF Bay Area Theater Company and 4th Walrus Productions
at the Exit Theatre, San Francisco (July 2015)
Directed and Set Design by Ken Savage
Music Directed by Joel Chapman
Inspired by the slums of London and the Tenderloin of San Francisco, our production of Sweeney Todd explored how a microcosm of people, within a metropolitan city, struggles against the corrupt justice system run by the social elite. It is a bloody show about the cycle of violence sparked by love and perpetuated by our human desensitization to punishing the guilty. To do this musical right now in the Exit Theatre within this community that has been marginalized and branded as a containment zone in San Francisco has been a serendipitous experience. Historically a neighborhood to contain San Francisco's various "unwanted" populations, the Tenderloin is not only a hotbed of crime but also and most admirably a proud community of survivors: refugees, the homeless, various elderly, veterans, the mentally ill, prostitutes, drug dealers, struggling business owners, juvenile delinquents, etc. The Tenderloin is the closest thing we have to Sweeney's London. Sweeney Todd is a reminder that no one is safe from the cycle of violence and any of us given extraordinary circumstances and intense passion can become either a hero or a murderer. Sometimes the line between the two is blurry.