San Francisco-Asian American Theater Company, in association with the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, presents Canyon Sam's solo performance Capacity to Enter. Capacity to Enter will be performed for two nights only at SOMAR Cultural Center, 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco. Performances are Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24, at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $10-13 with senior, student, and group discounts.

Capacity to Enter, a solo performance written and performed by native San Franciscan Canyon Sam explores, through a series of finely drawn character monologues, the collision of spirituality, sexuality, and politics. After studying Buddhism in Asia, Ms. Sam returns to California to find her hormones, spiritual commitments, and political leanings all pulling in opposite directions. Relationships with various poets and lovers, including an Italian chef, entangle her in a 1990's-style web of desire, but not without re-evoking her lesbian separatist mentor, her bewildered Chinese American mother, a Zen Buddhist master and her treks to the desolate land of Tibet. Capacity to Enter is a hilarious tour of the conflict that arises when desire and identity, and Buddhism and modern day America come crashing together. Ms. Sam developed Capacity to Enter as an artist-in-residence at the Jon Sims Center for the Performing Arts in early 1997, with grant support from the Zellerbach Family Fund.


"Canyon Sam shines in an honest, funny, and illuminating work, which explores the spiritual and material attitudes surrounding contemporary sexual identity. A mature, brave work-subtle and sophisticated in its approach and insights. What I really appreciated was the simplicity ... just a bench, a bell ... It'd be very beneficial for young people undergoing self-questioning about their sexuality."

-Genny Lim, poet/playwright and Professor of Humanities, New College of California

"How refreshing to see the closet door thrown open in both directions. Sam's performance was wonderful, affecting, sensitive, and wry."

-Caroline Pincus, Book Editor

Canyon Sam is a writer and performance artist from San Francisco with a long, history of involvement in arts and social activism. Ms. Sam's one woman show The Dissident, about her travels in China and Tibet and her human rights work with Buddhist nuns, played at the Walker Art Center, the Asia Society, New York, the Solo Mio festival, and headlined the National Women's Theater Festival, prompting The Village Voice to dub her a master storyteller ... whose work is real, specific, and universally relevant." Ms. Sam has published fiction, non-fiction, and drama in over two dozen publications, including, The Wild Good, Seattle Review, Conditions, and Lesbian Love Stories. The Dissident appears in Amazon All-Stars: Thirteen Lesbian Plays, published by Applause Books, and is being made into a film. Her forthcoming book, One Hundred Voices of Tara: An Activist's Spiritual Journey Among Tibetan Women chronicles her travels, activism, and Buddhist practice.

Ms. Sam is an artist-in-residence with Poets and Writers, Inc. (spring 1998), has taught at San Francisco State University and New College of California, and guest-lectured at universities and theater festivals in the U.S. and Canada. She has won numerous artist's grants and awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts scholarship at the age of eighteen, and finalist placing for the CAC Artist's Fellowship, in New Genre, and for the Jerome Fellowship at the Playwright's Center in Minneapolis.

This production is made possible by the San Francisco Art Commission, the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund Grants for the Arts, Center for African and African American Arts and Culture, SOMAR Cultural Center and the Consortium of Cultural Centers.

AATC was founded in 1973 as a playwrights' workshop sponsored by the American Conservatory Theater. The company is dedicated to the production of New American plays by dramatists of Asian Pacific Islander descent. Throughout its history, AATC has served as a home for numerous Asian Pacific American playwrights, directors, actors and designers, including Frank Chin, Margaret Cho, Dennis Dun, David Henry Hwang, Philip Kan Gotanda, Amy Hill, Momoko Iko, R.A. Shiomi, Wakako Yamauchi and Judi Nihei. Now in its 25th Anniversary Season, AATC will continue to seek out and develop the talents of Asian Pacific Islander Americans on stage and in film, video and new technologies. AATC is poised to chart new directions for Asian Pacific Islander American theater arts into the new millennium.

For information and reservations, please call 415.440.5545, e-mail or point your browser to

Members of the press are invited to both of the performances (Saturday, May 24 or Sunday, May 24). For reservations, please call 415.440.5545.

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