Aurora Theatre Company to Present WITTENBERG, 4/4-5/4
Aurora Theatre Company presents 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 April 4 through May 4 at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley. For tickets ($32-60) 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?
WITTENBERG premiered at the Arden Theatre in 2008 and is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award. The New York Times dubbed the play "crackling good...Hilarity, thy name is WITTENBERG," while the Philadelphia Inquirer praised "Finally - a decent Protestant Reformation comedy!" The New York Post called WITTENBERG "...a delightful romp that's as accessible as it is thought-provoking. Tom Stoppard, eat your heart out." Playwright David Davalos was inspired to write WITTENBERG while playing the part of Rosencrantz in the Utah Shakespearean Festival's production of Hamlet. During his acting days, Davalos wrote several parodies of Shakespeare's plays and credits his playwriting style to Tom Stoppard and "the Travesties school of interesting juxtaposition of historical characters."
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.