Author Archives: antonswell

About antonswell

Theater Director in San Francisco East Bay area.


These beautiful, haunting plays run March 6-21 in the gorgeous sanctuary at St. Alban’s Church, 1501 Washington Avenue, Albany.

The plays feature local actors Gigi Benson, Sarah Elizabeth, Keith Jefferds, Brian Levi, Jeff Trescott, and Evan Winet.

The plays run Friday-Saturday, March 6-7, ThursdaySaturday, March 12-14, and Thursday-Saturday, March 19-21. All curtain times 7:30PM.

Tickets on sale at the buy tickets link on this website!


Anton’s Well Theater Company and Actors Ensemble of Berkeley are proud to present the Bay Area premiere of Sam Shepard’s last play, A PARTICLE OF DREAD: OEDIPUS VARIATIONS.

The play runs from October 18-November 10 at the Old Finnish Hall, 1819 Tenth Street in Berkeley. Tickets now on sale:

Particle of Dread brilliantly fractures the Oedipus myth into the times of both then and now—with many of the actors playing both the roles of the ancient central characters:  Oedipus, Jocasta, Laius, Antigone, Tiresias, and their modern counterparts:  Otto, Jocelyn, Langos, Annalee, and Uncle Del.

As the play delves deeply into the mysteries of family and fate, Shepard’s signature rambunctious language is gorgeously present in numerous monologues, and, in the searing, conflicted encounters between the mythic characters.

It’s as if Shepard is revisiting and deepening his exhumation of society’s buried secrets that began in the 1970s with the world premiere of his family plays (BURIED CHILD, CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS, TRUE WEST, and FOOL FOR LOVE) at the Magic Theater in San Francisco, where he was the resident playwright.

In bringing Shepard’s last play to the Bay Area, where so many of his great plays began, AWTC and AEB hope once again his always timely and prescient theatrical voice will thrill local audiences.  The New York Times says the play is a “must-see for fans of Shepard.”

The cast includes the accomplished local actors Amanda Artru, Bruce Avery, Zoe Curzi, Clay David, Leticia Duarte, Francisco Rodriguez, and Don Wood. 

The play is directed by Robert Estes, who previously helmed Anton’s Well’s Bay Area premiere production of Sam Shepard’s AGES OF THE MOON, which the San Francisco Chronicle praised for its “great feeling in the stillness.”

A PARTICLE OF DREAD: OEDIPUS VARIATIONS tickets are $20-$25 at  Presented October 18-November 10, Fridays and Saturday, 8PM; Sunday, 2:30PM. One Tuesday performance on November 5, 8PM.  No performance on Sunday, October 20.  Old Finnish Hall, 1819 Tenth Street, Berkeley, 94710


Anton’s Well is proud to present the Bay Area Premiere of KNIVES IN HENS by acclaimed playwright David Harrower (BLACKBIRD). The play is set in a rural time many centuries ago. The world is simple: the Young Woman and the ploughman Pony William are a newly married couple who live in a cottage at the end of the village. The miller Gilbert Horn lives entirely outside the village.

Yet, their three way relationship is complex: the labor of the ploughman is pitted against the industrial machine of the miller, the public self of each obscures their own private natures (all three are whispered about by the villagers)–but most of all, in engaging with the other two men as more than an equal, the Young Woman experiences an awakening to the complexity of language and the power and danger of naming every single thing. 


The New York Times calls KNIVES IN HENS “a wondrous drama of the lust for language” and that the play is “about the liberation that comes in creating language that matches perception.”


We have a great cast of Virginia Blanco, Tony Ortega, and Marco Aponte. The director is Robert Estes. The Brooklyn Preserve venue is spiritual and seemingly out of another time, so the perfect place for this play. 

Tickets on sale at the BUY TICKETS tab at this website.


Anton’s Well is very happy to announce the following cast for our next production, the Bay Area premiere of KNIVES IN HENS by David Harrower:

Young Woman …….. Virginia Blanco

Pony William ………… Tony Ortega

Gilbert Horn …………. Marco Aponte

The play is set in a pre-industrial time when human existence is bounded in by the last field outside the village…until one word sparks a young woman’s discovery of the power of language and her own power.

KNIVES IN HENS runs September 7-29 at the Brooklyn Preserve, 1433 12th Avenue, Oakland. Tickets now on sale! Only $17-$20. Just go to the BUY TICKETS link at this website.


Anton’s Well Theater Company and Actors Ensemble of Berkeley are happy to announce auditions for their co-production of the Bay Area Premiere of Sam Shepard’s last play, A PARTICLE OF DREAD: OEDIPUS VARIATIONS, playing at the Old Finnish Hall in Berkeley from October 18-November 10. Directed by Robert Estes. Produced by Jerome Solberg. Assistant Directed and Associate Produced by Wm. Diedrick Razo. Costumes by Paula Dodd Aiello.

In A PARTICLE OF DREAD’s fractured retelling of the Oedipus myth, Sam Shepard takes on the greatest primal father/son/mother myth of them all—which is a perfect last subject for a playwright so concerned with family dynamics throughout his prolific career.

The following roles are available (the role of Uncle Del/Traveler/Maniac of the Outskirts has already been cast):

Oedipus/Otto (40s-50s): Left to die as a human baby. Unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother. Dual role as Oedipus of old myth (as imagined by Shepard) and Otto, the modern version. Interesting contrast in roles as Oedipus is pained and doomed; Otto is scholarly and obsessed. Otto seems to be older than Oedipus, so the actor will get to journey in age. The Oedipus ages even more at the end.

Lawrence/Langos: (30s-40s) Father of Oedipus. Puts him out to die because of the foretelling of future doom. Dual role. Confused disbeliever of the Oracle/flashy Vegas mobster.

Annalee/Antigone (20s-30s): Daughter/Sister of Otto. Most of the play will be Annalee. Silent role at the end as Antigone. Fierce. Protective. Part of role requires singing.

Jocasta/Jocelyn (40s-50s): Queen to Oedipus/Wife to Otto. Passionate and defiant as Jocasta. A bit skeptical, happy to be at home as Jocelyn.

Officer Patrick Harrington (30s-60s): Cop. Old school gruff manner. All about the gut.

Forensic Investigator Ronald J Randolph (20s-40s): More Analytical than Officer Harrington. Totally Quantitative.

The auditions will take place at the Berkeley City Ballet, 1800 Dwight Way, on Sunday, August 4, 6-9PM, and Monday, August 5, 7-10PM with callbacks on Saturday, August 10, at 11AM.

The auditions will by appointment. To secure a spot, please email with your preferred date and time. There IS a stipend. Non-AEA.

All races, ethnicities, and genders are welcome. We do not discriminate against anyone on account of race, gender, or sexual orientation. We do cast cross-gender and cross-type on occasion.

Sides are provided before the auditions. Please send electronic headshot/resume with your audition inquiry, or bring paper headshot/resumes to the audition.

Rehearsals will begin on September 15 or near that date. Rehearsals will take place at the Finnish Hall or another location in Berkeley. The rehearsal schedule will run Mon-Thurs, 7-10PM, and Sundays, various times.

The tech will take place from Sunday, October 13-Thursday, October 17.

The performance schedule is Friday, October 18 to Sunday, November 10. Friday-Saturday, 7:30, Sunday, 7PM, The Old Finnish Hall is located

Excellent Review for Churchill Plays

Please see below for the review of the Caryl Churchill double bill of ESCAPED ALONE/HERE WE GO by critic Victor Cordell. We know it’s usual to choose a few pull quotes, but this time let’s skip that! If you have a moment, read the whole review.

Sometimes small theaters have difficulty getting attention from reviewers, so when we receive a detailed account of one of our productions, let’s give the reviewer attention. While praising the plays (oh okay, one pull quote: “The production is wonderfully crafted”), he also expresses some caveats about HERE WE GO.

Please do read the full review—he makes good points about the plays…and some debatable ones.


Tickets now on sale for ESCAPED ALONE and HERE WE GO at the Buy Tickets tab at this website.

See the blog post below this one for our announcement about the plays.

But right here, check out the 17 actors who will be in the production!

Marsha van Broek
Jenn Lucas
Jan Carty Marsh 
Susannah Wood 
Abe Bernstein
Mary Bishop
Simone Bloch
Jody Christian
Alejandro Emmanuel Torres
Marty Lee Jones
Sonja Kydd 
Willow Mae
Jan Carty Marsh
Marcie Rich
Alison Sacha Ross
Denise Tyrrell
Vicki Victoria
Patricia Westerfield


Anton’s Well Theater Company is proud to present the Bay Area Premieres of Caryl Churchill’s two most recent plays, the one acts ESCAPED ALONE and HERE WE GO. The plays will run from July 18-August 3 (Thurdays-Saturdays, with additional performance on Wednesday, July 31, all 7:30) at the Thousand Oaks Baptist Church in Berkeley, 1821 Catalina Avenue, just a block off Solano Avenue.

The church venue is perfect for the plays, as ESCAPED ALONE is set in an outdoor garden (dress in layers)…and the church has a garden! HERE WE GO is set in a hall after a funeral…and Thousand Oaks not only has a beautiful hall, but it just happens to be designed by Julia Morgan.

In the first play, you’ll meet four women of a certain age (well, seventy or approaching that age), who just seem to be passing through summer afternoons by having tea in a garden. Yet, in their small world of complicated friendship, imaginings of future calamities fill the air and sky.

So, come have tea…and chaos with ESCAPED ALONE.

Then, take a ride to the undiscovered country in the second play. Simply put, HERE WE GO takes us through the one thing after birth that we all know will happen, death. This journey of mortality is beautifully essayed in the elliptical, poetic, fragmentary language of Caryl Churchill.

Yes, ESCAPED ALONE and HERE WE GO are kind of perfect plays as we continue sharing with you our exploration of language, loss, and just what it means to be ineffably alive for the time we are granted in this one place in the universe where we have involved.

Tickets on sale at the BUY TICKETS tab at this website.


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

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



By Caryl Churchill. Bay Area Premiere. July 19-August 3. Julia Morgan Room at the Thousand Oaks Baptist Church. 1821 Catalina Avenue Berkeley 94707.


By David Harrower. Bay Area Premiere. September 6-29. Brooklyn Preserve. 1433 12th Avenue. Oakland 94606.


By Sam Shepard. Bay Area Premiere. October 18-November 10. Berkeley.

Critics Embrace dirty butterfly!

Both critics who saw dirty butterfly last week came away impressed.

John Wilkins, formerly the lead theater critic at KQED and now beginning his own theater review website The Free Audience, finds the directing “astute,” the “three-person cast…sharp and attuned to each other,” and the production “alive and vibrant.”

Here’s the full review:

Christine Okon sees that the three actors skillfully bring their characters to life and that the “director Robert Estes is to be commended for bringing to light yet another relatively obscure play to Anton’s Well Theatre, taking on the challenge of unprecedented interpretation.”

Here’s the full review:

We have performances Friday-Saturday, 8PM; Sunday, 2PM through October 7 at the Waterfront Theater, 2020 Fourth Street in Berkeley. Tickets are only $17-$20 at the Buy Tickets link above.