EAST BAY TIMES -- In the Gospels Jesus is quoted as saying “the poor you will always have with you,” and too often that line out of context has been used as an excuse to do nothing about poverty and helping the poor. Certainly, though, a play like Maxim Gorky’s The Lower Depths, set in a Russian homeless shelter, is as recognizable in its depiction of desperate poverty today as it was in 1902.
That’s why Bay Area playwright and actor Lisa Ramirez has newly adapted The Lower Depths as Down Here Below, set in a homeless encampment in an Oakland parking lot today.
A San Francisco State grad, Ramirez is originally from the Bay Area and has been working with Ubuntu ever since she returned after some years in New York. She previously performed her solo show Exit Cuckoo (nanny in motherland) with the company in 2016, and also performed in Ubuntu’s 2018 West Coast premiere of her multi-actor play To the Bone about exploited poultry factory workers.