Aurora Theatre Company Extends WITTENBERG Through 5/11
Aurora Theatre Company announces that it will add an additional 7 performances of the Bay Area Premiere of WITTENBERG, David Davalos' audacious comedy about reason versus faith. Josh Costello (San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, Impact Theatre) directs this smarty-pants celebration of history, language, academia, and religion, featuring Dan Hiatt (The Arsonists), Elizabeth Carter (Trouble in Mind), Jeremy Kahn, and Michael Stevenson. WITTENBERG plays now through May 11 (added performances: Tuesday, May 6, 7pm; Wednesday, May 7, 8pm; Thursday, May 8, 8pm; Friday, May 9, 8pm; Saturday, May 10, 8pm; Sunday, May 11, 2pm and 7pm) at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley. For tickets ($32-50) and information the public can call (510) 843-4822 or visit auroratheatre.org.
It is October 1517 and the beginning of another fall semester at the University of Wittenberg finds certain members of the faculty and student body at personal and professional crossroads. Hamlet (senior, class of 1518), suffering from a sudden crisis of faith, has just returned from summer break with a revelation that threatens the very order of the universe. As the Prince who should be King laughably ping-pongs between the contrary advice of Martin Luther (Professor, theology) and Doctor John Faustus (Professor, philosophy), two of history's most stubborn intellectuals go head-to-head in comic combat for the conflicted Dane's allegiance. Will Faustus, the philosopher with a lust for life, win the confused young man's mind, or can Luther, the cleric who ignited the Protestant Reformation, win his soul?
Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle called WITTENBERG "exhaustingly funny... a comic feast of brain ticklers." Karen D'Souza at the San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group declared WITTENBERG "nimble-witted...[it] smacks of Stoppardian flights of fancy," noting, "Director Josh Costello works hard to strike a balance between zany and brainy in this smart-alecky comedy." Likewise, Georgia Rowe of the San Francisco Examiner said "[Wittenberg is a] freewheeling and very funny comedy...staged for maximum comic effect by Josh Costello." Chad Jones at Theatre Dogs agreed, stating "There's no question that Davalos' Wittenberg makes for good comedy - at times it's split-your-tights funny." Sam Hurwitt at KQED Arts concurred, saying "[Wittenberg is] so darn clever and charming," while Cy Ashley Webb at Stark Insider declared "The Aurora excels at smart theatre that takes you out of your world without wasting your time - and to this end, Wittenberg is no exception."
Aurora Theatre Company has assembled a gifted ensemble of Aurora veterans and newcomers for WITTENBERG. Bay Area favorite Dan Hiatt, who appeared last season in Aurora's hit production of The Arsonists, returns as Martin Luther in WITTENBERG. Recent credits include 1776 at American Conservatory Theater, Major Barbara at American Conservatory Theater and Theatre Calgary, and Romeo & Juliet at California Shakespeare Theater. Additional credits include productions at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, TheatreWorks, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Huntington Theatre, and Pasadena Playhouse, among others. A veteran of the Aurora stage, Hiatt performed during the company's inaugural Addison Street season in Knock Knock.
Elizabeth Carter returns to Aurora Theatre Company in multiple roles as The Eternal Feminine in WITTENBERG; she last appeared at Aurora in the company's hit production of Trouble In Mind. Additional credits include productions at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, California Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Word for Word, and San Jose Stage, among others. She teaches Shakespeare performance at San Francisco School of the Arts.
Jeremy Kahn makes his Aurora Theatre Company debut as Hamlet in WITTENBERG. Credits include productions at Magic Theatre (Another Way Home), San Francisco Playhouse (Kimberly Akimbo, The Fantasticks, Tigers Be Still), Center Repertory Company (The Storytelling Ability of a Boy), and San Diego Repertory Theatre (Tortilla Curtain), among others. Additional credits include productions at the New York International Fringe Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Chicago Playworks. He has participated in the development of new plays at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, Crowded Fire, and PlayGround.
Also making his Aurora Theatre Company debut is Michael Stevenson as Faustus. Credits include productions at Capital Stage Company (In The Next Room), B Street Theatre (Bob, What the Butler Saw), 42nd Street Moon (Zorba!), Sacramento Theater Company, Sacramento Opera, California Musical Theatre, and Utah Shakespearean Festival, among others. He is co-director of the B Street Theatre Conservatory and a member of the B Street Theatre Acting Company.
Following WITTENBERG, Aurora Theatre Company's season concludes in June with David Mamet's searing drama AMERICAN BUFFALO, directed by Barbara Damashek. As a special addition to the season, Aurora Theatre Company presents its first fully-staged production in the company's new second stage performance space, Harry's UpStage; award-winning Bay Area auteur Mark Jackson directs this sixth addition to the season in April, John W. Lowell's taut two-person drama THE LETTERS.
Voted Best Theater Company in 2012 by SF Weekly, Aurora Theatre Company continues to offer challenging, literate, intelligent stage works to the Bay Area, each year increasing its reputation for top-notch theater. Located in the heart of the Downtown Berkeley Arts District, Aurora Theatre Company, declared "one of the best regional theaters around" by 7x7 magazine, has been called "one of the most important regional theaters in the area" and "a must-see midsize company" by the San Francisco Chronicle, while The Wall Street Journal has "nothing but praise for the Aurora." The Contra Costa Times stated "perfection is probably an unattainable ideal in a medium as fluid as live performance, but the Aurora Theatre comes luminously close," while the San Jose Mercury News affirmed Aurora Theatre Company is "arguably the finest small theater in the Bay Area," and the Oakland Tribune stated "it's all about choices, and if you value good theater, choose the Aurora."