When I started Anton’s Well in December 2014, I did not know we were doing anything else than producing Harold Pinter’s OLD TIMES.
We did not have a next play scheduled, although I personally knew that I loved, say, John Guare’s HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES or Wallace Shawn’s THE DESIGNATED MOURNER.
I began reading plays with the specific intent of finding a play to produce for Anton’s Well and thus we began exploring playwrights unknown to us previously.
At the same time, there was a big push to change the gender imbalance in plays produced by male playwrights versus female.
Since I already knew so many plays by male playwrights (such as those mentioned above), I focused on reading plays by women.
We applied for the rights to brand new plays by women, but we were denied the rights. Those new plays were soon produced by much bigger local companies, which was gratifying to see.
I continued reading and I found that there were great plays by women written just a few years ago (but in the years before the big push) that had hardly any productions.
So the company has produced the Bay Area Premieres of Melissa James Gibson’s WHAT RHYMES WITH AMERICA, Chloë Moss’s THIS WIDE NIGHT, Alexandra Wood’s THE HUMAN EAR, and debbie tucker green’s dirty butterfly as well as producing Liz Duffy Adam’s OR, and Sarah Kane’s rarely produced 4.48 PSYCHOSIS.
But the story is a little deeper: we did not produce these plays just because we could get the rights. We produced the plays because they fit into the artistic concerns we had engaged with from our very first production.
When we began with OLD TIMES, we were concerned with nuances of power and poverty in language, of memory and misremembering, of psychological conflict, and of making the actors and the audience the co-detectives in the discovering of the who, what, why, how, and when of the play.
As local director and actor and friend of the company Norman Gee said, each individual Anton’s Well play is part of a bigger play.
I love that thought!
And now to continue with our “bigger play,” we’re announcing—rather than just one play, for the first time ever, a season of four plays, all deeply concerned with language.
We begin with the Bay Area Premiere of two one acts by Caryl Churchill, HERE WE GO and ESCAPED ALONE. In fractured language, these plays directly confront the accounting of a past, the encounter of a strange future, and the inevitable fate of us all.
We continue with the Bay Area Premiere of KNIVES IN HENS by David Harrower. The simply named Young Woman, living in a pre-industrial time, yearns to understand the mysteries of her own language.
We end the season with the Bay Area Premiere of Sam Shepard’s PARTICLE OF DREAD: OEDIPUS VARIATIONS. How perfect is this? Shepard imagines the modern shards of the primal myth of father/son/mother in his own signature language.
You can find the info for all three productions at the end of this note.
Well, if you’ve read this far, I hope that you’re intrigued by our season. I know that I could have put in a lot of dazzling pull quotes about each play and playwright and could have said by the author of so and so and by the winner of such and such, but I hope you see that this season reflects and expands the vision of our company.
We’re proud that our small company has won the right to Premiere these plays here. We look forward to sharing these plays with you. We believe that you’ll find them tantalizing, mysterious, compelling, and that once again, you as the audience will join with us in detecting the shaded meanings of language, symbol and emotion found in these plays.
Tickets will go on sale soon. But for now, would you consider making a donation to support the direct costs of this season?
All donations go straight to the actual production expenses such as royalties, rents, and artist stipends.
These plays will have more actors and more set elements than our previous productions. The Shepard play alone has eight actors, which is as many as we had in our last three shows combined. The Harrower play needs a set with specific locations and symbolic power. And the Churchill plays have eight actors (!) in the first piece and four in the second.
I’d be happy to talk to you about sponsoring a specific play or the season itself. Please email me at email@example.com
But any donation is most welcome. We operate on a small budget so every dollar is a significant part of that budget.
If you would like to donate, please go here:
We would like you to know that Anton’s Well Theater Company is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions to the charitable purpose of Anton’s Well Theater Company must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law
ANTON’S WELL 2019 SEASON
HERE WE GO and ESCAPED ALONE
By Caryl Churchill. Bay Area Premiere. July 19-August 3. Julia Morgan Room at the Thousand Oaks Baptist Church. 1821 Catalina Avenue Berkeley 94707.
KNIVES IN HENS
By David Harrower. Bay Area Premiere. September 6-29. Brooklyn Preserve. 1433 12th Avenue. Oakland 94606.
PARTICLE OF DREAD: OEDIPUS VARIATIONS
By Sam Shepard. Bay Area Premiere. October 18-November 10. Berkeley.