Central Works 2023 Season Concludes With THE ENGINE OF OUR DISRUPTION

Performances run October 12 - November 12.

By: Sep. 19, 2023
Central Works 2023 Season Concludes With THE ENGINE OF OUR DISRUPTION
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Central Works 2023 Season concludes with the comedy THE ENGINE OF OUR DISRUPTION, written by the award-winning playwright in residence Patricia Milton  (Oct 14–Nov 12, previews Oct 12 & 13), with this timely satire in which Artificial Intelligence meets Authentic Misconduct. 

“I’ve been interested in AI ever since I noticed using GPS has led to my inability to navigate my own car,” remarks resident playwright Patrica Milton. “As we adopt AI more and more, what other human faculties might get weaker?” 

In Milton’s new comedy THE ENGINE OF OUR DISRUPTION, Kamiri is the newly-hired Chief Ethics Officer of a mega-tech company named Bubble, where Artificial Intelligence promises to open up a whole new world of technological possibilities. But when Kamiri discovers that Bubble is developing a new wearable device intended to guide users in their day-to-day ethical decisions, she finds herself in an ethical dilemma of her own. Will she risk her job in order to do the right thing?  What is the right thing to do? Oh, and her boss is an ex-lover. What does Artificial Intelligence have to say about that? The production is directed by Gary Graves with a cast that features Chelsea Bearce, Louel Señores, Michael Tuton and Jan Zvaifler. THE ENGINE OF OUR DISRUPTION plays Thur & Fri at 8pm, Sat at 7pm & Sun at 5pm (previews Oct 12 & 13).  More info: centralworks.org

“Just as AI hype hits a fever pitch, I’ve noticed Big Tech companies laying off or firing the bulk of their AI Ethics teams,” comments playwright Patrica Milton. “Ousted Google AI Ethics Officer, Timnit Gebru, has said, ‘I’m not worried about machines taking over the world. I’m worried about groupthink, insularity, and arrogance in the AI community. Who will regulate this rapidly expanding technology, whose own developers admit they don’t understand how it works?’ Milton continues, “These concerns led me to write the play. It’s not a bots-gone-rogue tale, but rather a satirical comedy that examines developer bias, self-actualizing cars, and the idea of turning over all our decisions to an ethics-trained wearable. After all, what could go wrong?”

THE ENGINE OF OUR DISRUPTION is developed with the Central Works Writers Workshop, an ongoing commissioning program established in 2012.  Three times yearly, in 12-week sessions, 8 local playwrights are selected to develop projects through informal readings and carefully directed discussions.This Central Works Method plays bring together writer, actors and director at the very outset of the playwriting process. In a supportive workshop environment, group research and collective brainstorming contribute to the entire development of the script.

Patricia Milton (playwright) is Resident Playwright at Central Works, and her plays have been produced around the world. Her productions at Central Works include Bamboozled (Outstanding Production, East Bay, and Outstanding Ensemble, Theatre Bay Area), Hearts of Palm, Reduction in Force, The Victorian Ladies' Detective Collective (BroadwayWorld Critics Choice "Best of Maine" 2022, at The Public Theater) and Escape from the Asylum (Outstanding Production, 2022, SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle). Enemies: Foreign and Domestic was awarded Outstanding World Premiere Play by Theatre Bay Area. Her audio plays are Bystanders (Central Works) and The Law of Attraction (New Conservatory Theater Center, San Francisco). Without Mercy was commissioned and produced by Off-Broadway West. Her comedy Believers was produced in San Francisco (Wily West Productions) and ran for three years in Istanbul, Turkey. She is a former Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild and former President, Playwrights Center of San Francisco.

Gary Graves (director) has been a resident playwright and company co-director at Central Works since 1998. He has been a part of developing 72 world premiere productions with the company, many of which he has either written and/or directed. Some of the other productions he has directed for the company include The Dignity Circle, Dreaming in Cuban, The Lady Matador’s Hotel, King of Cuba, Bamboozled, Chekhov’s WARD 6, Into the Beautiful North, and Machiavelli’s The Prince. He directed the company’s first collaboratively developed script, Roux, written by Samantha King and produced at the Berkeley City Club in 1997. He also leads the Central Works Playwriting Program, and he teaches playwriting year-round at the Berkeley Rep School of Theater.


Chelsea Bearce (Kamiri Firestone) is thrilled to be back on the Central Works stage. She is a TBA award winner for “outstanding actor in a principal role” playing Savannah in Bamboozled at Central Works. She is a Benicia native and some of her favorite roles include Risa in Two Trains Running, Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors and Esther in Intimate Apparel. She is a two time “Lead Actress” Arty Award Winner, an actor with the SF based sketch comedy group, Killing My Lobster, has performed stand up comedy for over fifteen years all over the country and came in third place in the 45th SF International Comedy Competition. Chelsea is also a contributing playwright for Brooklyn Children's Theater in New York.

Louel Señores (Chip Wingo) is an actor and stage manager based right here in Berkeley! You may have recently seen him in Tea Party (One of Our Own), Dream Hou$e (Shotgun Players), or you probably didn’t see him stage managing Yerma (Shotgun Players), Balikbayan Box (TheatreFIRST), and Water by the Spoonful (SF Playhouse). He’s a proud company member of Berkeley Interactive Theater and PlayGround SF (where he has recently joined the Writers Pool) He is absolutely delighted to be working with Central Works again, as he considers CW to be his first post-college theatrical home all those many years ago from 2009 - 2011 as their resident SM.

Michael Tuton (Xtopher Wolf) is making his acting debut with Central Works. He is a playwright, actor and ad guy. His 1-Act play Boogie Cousins and the 1.8 Seconds That Changed Everything was produced on the Potrero Stage and was honored as Best of Playground/2023. His play Privilege medaled at both the PCSF Play-Offs and the 2022 Act One: One Act festival in NYC. He recently co-founded Network Effects Theater Company. He develops new plays in the Central Works Writer's Workshop and lives in Oakland.

Jan Zvaifler (Kay Firestone) is delighted to be co-creating another role in a Patricia Milton world-premiere. As Lily Janiak (SF Chronicle) says, "Patricia Milton has a scrumptious way with comedy." Ms. Z. is a founding member of the company and co-director of Central Works along with Gary Graves. She has participated over the past 33 seasons as an actor, designer, director and/or producer. She was most recently seen on stage in last season's "Victorian Ladies" sequel, Escape from the Asylum. She has also worked with many other local theater companies including the Berkeley Rep, Berkeley Shakespeare Festival, Marin Theater Company, San Francisco Playwrights Foundation, and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.

Central Works The Company

For over three decades Central Works has filled a special niche for theater artists in the San Francisco Bay Area, producing more new plays by local playwrights than any other company in the region.  “The New Play Theater” utilizes three basic strategies:  some are products of the Central Works Method, some are developed in the Central Works Writers Workshop, and some come to the company fully developed.

The Central Works Writers Workshop is an ongoing commissioning program established in 2012.  Twice a year, in 12-week sessions, 8 local playwrights are selected to develop projects through informal readings and carefully directed discussions.  Last season, both Cristina García’s King of Cuba and Patricia Milton’s Escape From The Asylum emerged from this program (both of which were nominated by the SFBATCC for “Original Script”), and are followed by two more this season.  For more information, visit our website:  www.centralworks.org

Central Works Method plays bring together writer, actors and director at the very outset of the playwriting process. In a supportive workshop environment, group research and collective brainstorming contribute to the entire development of the script.

Company co-directors Jan Zvaifler and Gary Graves remain steadfast in their mission to develop and produce new works. “New plays are the lifeblood of the theater,” says Ms. Zvaifler. “We look at current events, politics, classic literature and traditional storytelling to bring our audience face to face with the challenges of our lives everyday, juxtaposed against the reflections of history, both recent and far-reaching. Given our current harrowing times, we all need an opportunity to pause, feel, think and act.” The special intimacy of the Central Works theater offers this in a truly unique package.

For your safety and protection, we strongly recommend up to date vaccination and boosters. All Central Works staff and artists are fully vaccinated. 


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