There’s Literally a Dragon in the Drop-Off Lane, and He’s Judging You

Welcome to the Winter Solstice Carnival in Marin, where everyone uses acorn pouches expertly sewn by kindergarteners and decorates vegan gingerbread men that they cannot eat. I repeat, DO NOT EAT those gingerbread men or an intimidating parent volunteer clad in Lululemon yoga pants will get you.

Better than Oakland, right? Or maybe not so much.

In a surreal look at parental fears vs. actual child comfort and safety, performer Lisa Rothman navigates the wonky world of overprotective privilege while defending her East Bay pride in the solo show Dragon in the Drop-Off Lane. See it at The Marsh Berkeley through Feb. 23 and bring your kids ages 10 and up. There will be candy (that you can eat).

Rothman, an Oakland resident and former KPFA radio producer, says she wants her performance to encourage dialogue between adults and children about what situations truly expose kids to risk. She presents her themes of parental intentions, judgment and societal differences between Bay Area regions through the whimsical lens of a fairytale.

Her Marin-dwelling, chicken-coop-owning dad might disagree with her choices, but then, he might be a chicken … like, literally a chicken. And a hungry, growling dragon is waiting just outside – in the drop-off lane, of course – to gobble up unlucky Winter Solstice Carnival attendees who get thrown out.

Cue Rothman’s fairy godmother.

This story touches on serious and occasionally unsettling topics including cancer, park shootings and civil unrest. But Rothman presents it all with humor and a script so verbally colorful that it can send a patron’s imagination into overdrive. Fun props and creative slides depicting such backgrounds as an important and festive broom closet round out the one-woman show – a theatrical format Rothman says she prefers.

 “I’m working with my words and my story that I get to shape while having an energy exchange with the audience,” she said after the play, which she spent about four-and-a-half years developing following her first solo show, Date Night at Pet Emergency.  

Audience members are invited after each performance to attend a “talk back” discussion hosted by various radio personalities to discuss the play’s themes. While there are plenty of laughs in this comedic tale about the fears parents harbor, some crowds respond in a more serious manner, Rothman says. It all depends on the audience.

Dragon in the Drop-Off Lane

Showtimes: 5 p.m. on Saturdays through Feb. 23. Tickets: $20-35 sliding scale, $55-100 reserved.The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley.


 Dhyana Levey is Bay Area Parent’s amusements columnist.

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