Author Archives: antonswell

About antonswell

Theater Director in San Francisco East Bay area.


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.

dirty butterfly opens on september 21!

Anton’s Well Theater Company is proud to present the Bay Area Premiere of debbie tucker green’s dirty butterfly, a mysterious, poetically taut examination of three people living too close together. The play will run at Berkeley’s Waterfront Theater, 2020 Fourth Street, from September 21 to October 7.

The cast includes Kim Donovan, Mikah Kavita, and Jesse Vaughn. The creative crew is Director Robert Estes, Assistant Director/Producer William D. Razo, Lighting Designer Bert van Aalsburg, and Stage Manager Ayumi Namba.

This play perfectly suits AWTC’s artistic mission of producing complex, contradictory, language driven plays as Lynn Gardner, The Guardian’s critic, says debbie tucker green’s dialogue “is like secret whispers and, like the characters’ lives, it is fragmented and often unfinished.” She finds that “there is a sly, controlled power in this writing.”

Tickets on sale now at the Buy Tickets tab at this website.

Great Critical Response to 4.48 Psychosis / Only 4 Performances Left!

You only have four performances left (Thursday, August 2-Saturday, August 4, 8PM, Sunday, August 5, 7PM) to catch 4.48 Psychosis at the Temescal Arts Center, 511 48th Street, Oakland.

The production has received great critical praise.

Nicole Gluckstern of KQED finds that “Through their unconventional staging they imbue this difficult piece with moments of real beauty and empathy, drawing the audience to bear witness to a human condition that is so frequently ignored, misinterpreted, or rejected.

She cites the three woman cast of Anastasia Barron, Jody Christian, and Adrian Deane as being “strong” and “fearless.”

For her full review:

We enjoyed the attention to detail in critic Kate Tinney’s review. She even mentioned the breathing of the actors.

She sees that “the lighting design by Nathan Bogner is a spectacular anchor throughout the show.”

She writes that “This production of ‘4.48 Psychosis’ makes extraordinary use of physical theater. The actors stretch themselves both emotionally and physically. What’s more, the audience is so close that it can see every knee shake or deep breath as the actors warp themselves from graceful to grotesque and back again.”

For her full review:

Charles Lewis III ranks 4.48 Psychosis as being one of the best shows he’s seen this year. He gives us a grade of A-, so we’ll keep trying hard to get that raised up!

For his full review:

Christine Okon observes that “Director Robert Estes and choreographer Bridgette Loriaux create a visceral and verbal experience where three brilliant performers (Anastasia Barron, Jody Christian, and Adrian Deane) dance, interact, intertwine, explode, recoil and literally throw themselves against the wall…”

She sees that our production renders the play “beautifully.”

For her full review:

Uncompromising 4.48 Psychosis Opens on Friday, July 20!

As playwright Sarah Kane writes in the play, 4.48 Psychosis is composed of the “bewildered fragments” of her mind as she struggles to find sanity.

In one fragment, we learn that “a word on the page and there is the drama.”

Her play is simply words, phrases, monologues, and poetry on the page. There are no specific characters nor a specific location. The play has been produced with one lone female actor, with two females and one male, or with untold other variations of actors. Recently, it was produced as a full scale opera.

In our vision, we have three wonderful local actors, Anastasia Barron, Jody Christian, and Adrian Deane, who portray the fragmented, contradictory, conflicted, beautiful, ferociously imaginative world of Sarah Kane’s charged words.

Together, the three women bring startling vividness to the language of searing pain and searching humanity found in every fold of 4.48 Psychosis.

For The New York Times, the language in 4.48 Psychosis “creates the most persuasive and authentic portrait of what it means to be terminally depressed…ever encountered in a theater.”

Yet, the Times finds, in its uncompromising encounter with depression, the play is also “breathtakingly beautiful.”

We hope that our production can both feel and express the deep pain and terrible beauty of Sarah Kane’s relentless examination of her own psyche.

The creative crew for 4.48 is the same one that produced last year’s “astonishing” Tender Napalm: Director Robert Estes, Assistant Director/Producer Wm. Diedrick Razo, Choreographer Bridgette Loriaux, and Lighting Designer Nathan Bogner.

4.48 Psychosis opens on Friday, July 20. Just one week away! Tickets (only $17-$20) are now on sale at the Buy Tickets tab on this website.

The play runs Fridays and Saturdays, 8PM, Sundays 7PM from July 20 to August 5 (with one Thursday performance on August 2, 8PM) at the Temescal Arts Center, 511 48th Street, Oakland.


We also hope that you might consider financially supporting Anton’s Well. Please know that any donation you make will have a powerful impact for our company. We do not have high overheard (wait, we don’t have any overhead!).

All of your donation will go to the direct costs of producing our plays in 2018, which means your contribution will go to good stipends for our actors and designers, royalties to the playwrights, and, rent to the remaining non-profit art venues.

In addition to 4.48 Psychosis, in September, we will present dirty butterfly by debbie tucker green, which will be the Bay Area Premiere for one of England’s most challenging contemporary playwrights.

For all of this to happen, we need you!

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.

Auditions for Bay Area Premiere of dirty butterfly by debbie tucker green

Anton’s Well Theater Company is happy to announce the audition date for the Bay Area Premiere of debbie tucker green’s grittily poetic play, dirty butterfly, running at Berkeley’s Waterfront Theater from September 21-October 7.

Jo is being abused by her male partner. Amelia and Jason live next to Jo and respond to the abuse in different ways. Jason can’t help himself as he raptly listens through the common wall to Jo’s encounters. Amelia moves to a different part of her house to get away from hearing Jo. Through the taunt interaction of the three characters, the play elliptically and poetically explores the conflicted human response when we see another person suffer.

Amelia, late 20s-early 40s, black female, protective of Jason, frustrated that her life has been interrupted by Jo. She confronts Jo.

Jason, late 20s-early 40s, black male, insecure, can’t help himself becoming obsessed by what he hears in Jo’s home.

Jo, late 20s-early 40s, white female, being abused by her male partner. She taunts Jason at times, clashes with Amelia.

The play creates the opportunity for a great deal of character exploration for the three actors. The Guardian in London said that the play was filled with “secret whispers.”

Facility with English accents important. You don’t have to be perfect, but need the skill to work on a London Caribbean accent for Amelia and Jason, and a working class accent for Jo.

The audition will take place at the Waterfront Theater, 2020 Fourth Street, Berkeley, on Sunday, July 8, from 1-4PM. Sides will be provided in advance. Or, you may bring in a dramatic British monologue, but that is not required.

The audition will be run by appointment. Please email with your preferred time or call the director Robert Estes at (510) 368-0090. For more info on the company, please see:

There is a competitive stipend. AEA ok (BAPP).

Rehearsals will begin on Sunday, August 12. The rehearsal schedule will most likely run Mon-Thurs, 7-10PM; Sunday, 7-10PM. However, it may be possible to tailor the schedule to best fit the needs of the actors. For instance, if the three actors have morning availability, we may rehearse then sometimes rather than in the evening.

The performance schedule is September 21 to October 7, Friday-Saturdays, 8PM; Sunday TBD (either 2PM or 7PM). The Waterfront Theater is located at 2020 Fourth Street in Berkeley.