Newsletter – August 2013


Artistic Director’s Corner

Michael StormHere we go! Our second weekend of Orlando had Friday and Saturday nights at 75% capacity and Sunday was a sell out at 99 paid patrons (we had about 92 in the house). The Live Oak Theatre is officially rolling along and when I tell people in the post-show speech that there is now theatre at the Live Oak Theatre almost every weekend of the year, there is often some applause. Word is going to spread fast about this wonderful venue and all of the great companies joining us. Thank you to all of you who have helped us out and let’s keep spreading the word. If you have not seen Orlando yet, it is best to order your tickets now. If you wait until later in the run you may have difficulty getting in.

And on that note, we are really happy with our new ticketing system, Vendini. Most folks are finding it a great way to buy their tickets and claim their seats. If you haven’t tried it yet check it out. Couple tips regarding Vendini; if you do not see the date you are interested in you simply need to scroll down in the window until your date shows up. Secondly, after you have claimed your seats on the venue map the next window shows the ticket prices and has a pink shaded window that asks if you want to print your tickets at home or hold them at the box office. Make sure that you make a selection and then the pink shading will go away and the system will let you move forward to payment. If you do not make a choice there you will not be able to proceed.

We are trying different promotional things to make coming to the theatre even more fun! Last weekend was free gourmet pizza nights on Friday and Saturday, which was a HUGE success. This weekend we will be raffling off mounted Orlando show posters. So, if you are interested in some cool T1 swag come join us this weekend.

And spread the word about Orlando. You won’t be sorry. Everyone loves it.

It is good to be back.


The Reviews are Coming in and Orlando is “rollicking good fun”!

Don’t be late to this TheatreFIRST party!

Here’s what people are saying:

the_little_man“In the TheatreFirst ‘Orlando,’ which opened Friday, the simple directness of staging and acting work [is] an incremental wonder all their own.” –Robert Hurwitt, SF Chronicle

“DeMott’s cross-gender creation of the young male Orlando is astonishingly convincing…[She] is supported by a skilled comic ensemble who play gleefully across sexual boundaries and keep the audience laughing.” –Charles Kruger, TheatreStorm

“…Orlando is a delight…” –Sam Hurwitt, KQED


In Honor of Orlando, A Little on Ruhl

SarahRuhlAmerican playwright Sarah Ruhl, born in Illinois in 1974, is considered one of the foremost playwrights of the American stage.  She has already won the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship and the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award.  She began playwriting after studying with famed playwright Paula Vogel at Brown University where she got her M.F.A. in 2001.  Sarah’s first play, The Dog Play, was written for one of Vogel’s classes.  Ruhl uses her love of poetry and witty word play to infuse her work with vibrant emotionality.

Ruhl burst onto the theater scene in 2004 with The Clean House which won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and went on to be a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005.  She is perhaps best known for her play Eurydice also written in 2004 and after a very successful run at Berkeley Rep was produced off-Broadway at New York’s Second Stage Theatre in June 2007.  Both these plays deal with characters grappling with finding the joy of living in spite of the death surrounding them.

2004 continued to be a busy year for Ms. Ruhl.  She completed her Passion Play cycle after Washington’s Arena Stage commissioned a third act and produced it in 2005. She had begun the cycle when she was 21 while studying with Vogel at Brown. Passion Play went on to make its New York City premiere in the Spring of 2010 in a production by the Epic Theatre Ensemble at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn.  With a time traveling theme like Orlando, also first produced in 2004, each part of the trilogy depicts the staging of a passion play during a different historical period: Elizabethan England, Nazi Germany, and the United States during the Vietnam War era.

More recently, Ruhl’s In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) premiered at Berkeley Rep in February of 2009 and opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre the following November marking Ruhl’s official Broadway debut.  This play explores the history of the vibrator which was developed for use as a treatment for women diagnosed with hysteria. In the Next Room was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play.

In just under a decade, Sarah Ruhl has become one of America’s most sought after playwrights.  Her engaging plays continue to be produced on Broadway, at top U.S. regional theaters, and having been translated into a dozen languages, around the globe.


In Honor of Orlando, A Little on Woolf

VIRGINIA WOOLFAdeline Virginia Stephen was born on January 25, 1882 in London.  She was the third of four children joining four additional children from her parents’ blended family.  It was for the most part, a happy existence.  So much so that London and/or her family’s summer home in Cornwall would later provide the principal settings of most of her novels.

Virginia had total access to her father’s extensive library and pursued her goal of being a writer from an early age.  Her formal education was sketchy at best as she never went to school.  However, her father, Sir Leslie Stephen, was an eminent editor, critic, and biographer, and his connections meant that Virginia was raised in an environment filled with the influences of Victorian literary society.  Her older brothers went to Cambridge making friends with a number of writers and other intellectuals which eventually became known as the Bloomsbury Group.  One such writer was Leonard Woolf whom Virginia married in 1912 as both pursued careers in writing and journalism.

The only hindrance to her pursuit was that Virginia periodically suffered from mental breakdowns which continued throughout her life.  The first major breakdown was at the death of her mother, then a second when her father died, and again after her marriage, delaying the publication of her first novel The Voyage Out.  After one episode of depression in 1917, the Woolfs bought a small hand printing-press to provide therapy and to provide a hobby for Virginia as she recovered.  This eventually developed into a business, Hograth Press, which published most of Virginia’s subsequent work beginning with her collection of experimental stories Monday or Tuesday.

A burst of creativity in 1925 saw the publication of Mrs. Dalloway, followed by To the Lighthouse in 1927, and The Waves in 1931.  These three novels are generally considered to be her major works as a modernist writer.  Following her involvement with the aristocratic novelist and poet Vita Sackville-West, Woolf wrote Orlando (1928), inspired by Vita’s life and ancestors in Kent.  Orlando is considered important for its stylistic and literary influence as well as being one of the most famous works by a woman author that directly addresses the subject of gender.  It is often considered the longest and most charming love letter in literature.  Virginia Woolf is also known for A Room of One’s Own (1929) which she wrote following two lectures she gave to the women’s colleges at Cambridge in 1928 discussing women’s writing and its social and economical influences.

After completing her final novel Between the Acts (1941), Woolf fell into yet another depression provoked perhaps by the destruction of her London home during the Blitz of World War II.  Her condition worsened during the spring of 1941 until, unable to work, she famously filled her overcoat pockets with stones and walked into the river near her home and drowned.


Next Up at Live Oak Theatre – Actors’ Ensemble of Berkeley

Actors’ Ensemble of Berkeley’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a play written by Steve Martin in 1993. It features the characters of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, each at the flowering of their youth and on the cusp of a great idea, meet at a bar called the Lapin Agile (Nimble Rabbit) in Montmartre, Paris in 1904. Encountering a host of other characters, the two leading lights of the coming century must deal not only with their own brilliance and idiosyncrasies, but with the unexpected talents brought to the party by a mysterious Visitor. Due to the comic genius of Steve Martin, this play delights with big ideas and big laughs – coming to Live Oak Theatre this Fall!


PRESENTED BY: Actors’ Ensemble of Berkeley

WHEN: Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 4th-26th at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees Oct. 13th and 26th at 2 p.m.

TICKETS: $15 regular, $12 students/seniors.

HOW TO BUY: online at or Cash or Check only at the door. For purchase at the door, reservations at 510-649-5999.


What’s to Follow on the Live Oak Stage?

Look for Symmetry Theatre Company in November! They will be gracing the Live Oak Stage with Carnival Round the Central Figure by Sue Amsterdam and directed by Symmetry’s Artistic Director, Chloe Bronzan.