In her one-woman show, “Children are Forever (All Sales are Final!),” comedian Julia Jackson packs years of joy, struggle and biting observation into a 90-minute romp through the American adoption industry.
Opening this weekend at Stage Werx Theatre, the show is loosely based on Jackson’s experience as a black woman who, with her white wife, adopted a black child for half the cost of adopting a white child.
The show exposes an industry in which a supply and demand economy, rather than heart, rule. It also describes the pitfalls of being open and honest, such as when Jackson says “I’m a recovering alcoholic, and we’re lesbians.”
The characters are composites. Jackson won’t say how much is real — she deeply values her son’s privacy — but she insists that the depiction of the industry is valid.
“Adoption is like real estate,” she says. “On paper, it’s regulated. But when it comes to whom you run into, it’s like a box of chocolates — you don’t know what you’re going to get.”
She adds, “The characters are authentic. I’m not here to create bad guys. No one is a bad person in this adoption tale. They’re just caught up in the system, and trying to get by.”
“Children are Forever (All Sales are Final)” may be a serious poke in the eye of the adoption industry, but it also has a hilarious side.
How could it not, given its writer’s and director’s pedigrees? Jackson is a former semifinalist at the San Francisco International Comedy Competition who has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The show’s original director, W. Kamau Bell, wrote and performed the solo show, “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour,” which formed the basis for his TV series “Totally Biased.”
Jackson originally performed the show in November 2011, and then let it hibernate while life as a working mother, she says, “kicked my butt.”
Two years later, when she returned to the show and took it to New Orleans, Bell was not available. So Jackson turned over directing duties to writer-performer Coke Nakamoto, whose history as the movement director for Zahra Noorbakhsh’s solo show “All Atheists are Muslim” made her ideal for the task.
IF YOU GO
Children are Forever (All Sales are Final!)
Where: Stage Werx Theatre, 446 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, closes March 22