After Him, the Deluge

20 February, 2012 Theater No comments
After Him, the Deluge

Mesmeric Revelation…Before Edgar Allen Poe has nothing to do with Edgar Allen Poe. The second play that Los Angeles writer/director Aaron Henne has created with Berkeley’s Central Works, Mesmeric Revelation… is named after an 1844 Poe short story that’s almost entirely in dialogue, a metaphysical conversation about the nature of God, matter, consciousness and reality with a client in an induced mesmeric trance. But the show isn’t at all based on the Poe story, although there are a few nods to it in subject matter and stretches of dialogue. Instead it’s set shortly before the French revolution, focusing on the man who came up with mesmerism in the first place.

Read more

Downsize This

Downsize This

The financial shenanigans that brought the economy to the brink of collapse are tailor-made for satire, and Bay Area theater companies were quick to rise to the task, from the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s Too Big to Fail a couple years ago to No Nude Men’s Hermes this spring. Now Berkeley’s Central Works—which does nothing but collaboratively created new plays—gets into the act with Patricia Milton’s comedy Reduction in Force, directed by company codirector (and usual playwright) Gary Graves.

Read more

Homer Invasion

14 November, 2010 Theater No comments
Homer Invasion

For some reason The Odyssey has been getting a lot of theatrical attention around the Bay Area this year. This summer Stanford Summer Theater performed a new piece called The Wanderings of Odysseus. In December Jon Tracy will follow up his Iliad adaptation for Shotgun Players, The Salt Plays 1: In the Wound, with his Odyssey riff Of the Earth. And right now Berkeley’s Central Works tackles the story from the vantage point of the faithful wife who waited 20 years for her husband to come home.

Read more

Anonymous by Chekhov by Graves

Anonymous by Chekhov by Graves

Let’s get this out of the way first. An Anonymous Story by Anton Chekhov isn’t one of Chekhov’s plays. Like most Central Works plays, it’s by company co-director Gary Graves in collaboration with the cast and crew. It is, however, based on a novella by Chekhov, as was Central Works’ 2004 play The Duel. Nor is the anonymous narrator truly anonymous: he goes by a couple of different names in the story, but we first meet him as Stepan, a servant in the house of a St. Petersburg government functionary named Orlov.

Read more