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Rough and Tumble Presents 'Candide'

The Bay Area's award-winning Rough and Tumble presents Len Jenkin's adaptation of Voltaire's sardonically satiric masterpiece CANDIDE. Founding Artistic Director Cliff Mayotte (productions at Aurora Theatre Company, Shotgun Players) re-interprets this timeless, picaresque adventure, called "an imperishable work of philosophy and satire" by The New York Times, into a stylish commedia dell'arte chamber play full of cheap theatrics. Rough and Tumble company members Louise Chegwidden, Carolyn Doyle, Janet Keller, Éowyn Mader, and Stewart Evan Smith star in this production featuring live music composed and performed by renowned Bay Area jazz composer Phillip Greenlief. CANDIDE plays August 29-September 21 (press opening: Saturday, August 30) at the Berkeley City Club. For tickets ($16-22) or information the public may call 510-499-0356 or visit

Voltaire defined optimism as a "mania for maintaining that all is well when things are going badly." Using humor to expose some difficult truths about human nature, Rough and Tumble's production of CANDIDE explores the current moment in history as it is wracked by religious fundamentalism, government corruption, and war. Moving from near and far corners of a real and mythical world, this insightful and witty portrayal of the human condition skewers the metaphysical philosophy of optimism, religion, politics, and romance, and has a little fun in the process.

Known as Voltaire's magnum opus, CANDIDE has enjoyed both great success and great scandal. Immediately after its secretive publication in 1759, the book was widely banned because it contained religious blasphemy, political sedition, and academic hostility. Most notably, Candide opened on Broadway as a comic operetta in 1956 with a score by Leonard Bernstein and book by Lillian Hellman, directed by Tyrone Guthrie; it was revived 17 years later featuring a new libretto by Hugh Wheeler. The show was revived again on Broadway in 1997 with additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and John Latouche, directed by Harold Prince. In 1982, Len Jenkin's adaptation debuted at the Guthrie, and in 1992, Jenkin's adaptation made it's New York debut at the CSC, directed by Carey Perloff. CANDIDE is the most widely read of Voltaire's many works, and is considered one of the great achievements of Western literature.

Len Jenkin is a novelist, playwright, director, and screenwriter. His plays include Candide; Dark Ride; Pilgrims of the Night; Careless Love; My Uncle Sam; Limbo Tales; The Dream Express; and Like I Say. His works for the stage have been produced throughout the United States, as well as in England, Germany, France, Denmark, and Japan. His films include Blame It on the Night; Welcome to Oblivion; and American Notes. Novels include N Judah, New Jerusalem, and The Secret Life of Billy's Uncle Myron (with Emily Jenkins). Jenkin's is the recipient of three OBIE awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Award, an Emmy Award nomination, and four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. He is a Professor in the Dramatic Writing Department at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.

Director Cliff Mayotte helms Candide. Mayotte is the founding Artistic Director of Rough and Tumble, where he has staged acclaimed productions of 43 Plays for 43 Presidents; Macbett; Johnny Lonely's Unhappy Hour; Tom Jones, the Bay Area Premiere of My Uncle Sam; and The Misanthrope. Additional regional directing credits include The Caucasian Chalk Circle for Shotgun Players, the World Premiere of Dorothy Bryant's Posing for Gauguin and the critically acclaimed revival of Eugene Ionesco's The Chairs at Aurora Theatre Company; Tongue of a Bird for Signal Theatre; and the award-winning American Premiere of Billy Roche's Amphibians for D.E.O. Ireland. Additionally, Mayotte has directed productions for The Marsh, Marin Shakespeare Company, Playground, and touring productions for Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Since his emergence on the West Coast in the late 1970's, acclaimed saxophonist and composer Phillip Greenlief has achieved international critical acclaim for his recordings and performances with musicians and composers in the post-jazz continuum. He has performed at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival; the 1st Annual John Coltrane Festival in Los Angeles; the Olympia Experimental Music Festival; the Biennale in Venice, Italy; and the International Festival of Arts in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In addition to a busy performing and recording schedule, Greenlief teaches at the Oakland School for the Arts, the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, and is Director of Music at San Francisco's Waldorf High School. He is the founder of Evander Music, a record company collective based in Oakland, CA.

A company of artists dedicated to the performance and preservation of comedy from ancient times to the present, Rough and Tumble explores serious issues using comedy and satire as a method of delivery. Compelled to create something that can only exist in a live theater setting in front of a live audience, Rough and Tumble aims to expose folly and provide its audience with professionally-produced comedy executed with precision, grace, and plenty of nerve. After the company's 2007 hit production of 43 Plays for 43 Presidents, Rough and Tumble extended its first commission to 43 Plays co-writer Andy Bayiates to pen an original production. Entitled A History of Human Stupidity, the commissioned production will receive its World Premiere in 2009.

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