Christina Gorman's ROAN @ THE GATES Comes to Berkeley City Club
Central Works summer season continues with Christina Gorman's political thriller, Roan @ The Gates, opening July 20 and running through August 18 (previews July 18 & 19). The production is directed by M. Graham Smith, positing in Gorman's words "If our government can access information from your present or your past, they can use it to get you to do what they want. What's being collected and stored is not information, it's leverage."
In Roan @ The Gates, Gorman takes the story of Edward Snowden and turns it inside out. Nat is an outspoken civil rights attorney. Roan is an NSA Analyst who isn't even allowed to tell her wife the location of her next business trip. Could you still love your partner if she followed her conscience but kept you in the dark? In this topical and thought-provoking new play, a long-time couple confronts questions about their marriage that they never thought to ask - as their personal relationship collides with national security. #MyWifeIsAWhistleBlower
The production ensemble features Lauren Hayes (Roan) and Jeunée Simon* (Nat); with stage management by Michelle Chesley, costume design by Tammy Berlin, lighting design by Gary Graves, sound design by Gregory Scharpen, and prop design by Debbie Shelley. *member AEA
"I was fascinated by the idea of being 29 years old and blowing up your life. Because he [Edward Snowden] seemed to know nothing would be the same," remarks playwright Cristina Gorman. "I don't know if I've ever felt so strongly about anything in my life that I'd walk away from everyone and everything for it."
Playwright Christina Gorman was an inaugural member of The Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, and her plays have been produced and/or developed across the country including The Public Theater, American Blues Theater, Alley Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Samuel French Short Play Festival, HotINK International Festival, and New York International Fringe Festival, among many others. She is a recipient of many awards including TCG's Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, the New York International Fringe Festival Award for Overall Excellence in Playwriting, and runner up for the Princess Grace Award. This is her first production with Central Works.
M. Graham Smith is directing his second production at Central Works, after the 2016 premiere of Totem and Taboo by David Weisberg. He is an O'Neill National Directing Fellow, an Oregon Shakespeare Festival FAIR Fellow and a resident artist at SF's Crowded Fire. Other local credits include A.C.T., Aurora Theatre, Central Works, Crowded Fire, The EXIT Theatre, PlayGround, Brava, The Playwright's Foundation, Cutting Ball Theatre, Berkeley Playhouse, Golden Thread, SF Opera, and Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor, as well as at Here in New York City. He directed the West Coast Premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera in SF with Ray of Light and Truffaldino Says No at Shotgun Players (winning Best Director for the Bay Area Critics Circle). Recent credits: The Lady Onstage at Profile Theatre in Portland, Oregon, The Liar at Occidental College in Los Angeles as an Edgarton Foundation Fellow, the World Premiere of Christopher Chen's Home Invasion in SF and Deal With The Dragon at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Lauren Hayes (Roan) is thrilled to be making her Central Works debut. Past projects include Cutting Ball Theater (The Bald Soprano, Variety Pack), We Players (Caesar Maximus, Roman Women), The Breadbox (MacBitch), The Flea Theater (These Seven Sickness, The Mysteries), Saint Ann's Warehouse (Stop the Virgens), among others. As a performer who loves working across a wide variety of genres, she's participated in play development workshops both in the Bay Area and New York City. In her free moments, you'll find her hiking up mountains or curling up with a cup of tea & a good book.
JEUNEE SIMON (Nat) is delighted to return to Central Works, where she was last seen in the award winning Bamboozled. Later this year, she will make her San Francisco Playhouse debut in The Daughters. Recent credits include: La Ronde (Cutting Ball Theater), Men On Boats u/s (American Conservatory Theater) and HeLa (TheatreFIRST). Simon is a proud recipient of the 2017 RHE Artistic Fellowship.
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 Central Works 50-seat theater offers this in a truly unique package.
Now approaching its 30th season, 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.
Central Works Method Plays bring together the 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.
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. This season, both Cristina García's The Lady Matador's Hotel and Patricia Milton's The Victorian Ladies' Detective Collective emerged from this program, following two last season. For more information, visit www.centralworks.org.
Photo Credit: J. Norrena