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Staged Reading - Giovanni is Here

By Mercedes Cohen
Directed by Michael Cohen
Tuesday - October 15, 2013 at 8 p.m.

ONE NIGHT ONLY - Pay What You Can - suggested donation $5 - $8

On the 70th anniversary of the round-up of the Jews in Rome— AEB presents Giovanni is Here - centering on the relationship of a young Jewish woman hidden by a Catholic family as Italy is occupied by Germany. The grandmother, the collaborator, the partisan, the ignorant and the Jew must decide between right and wrong, self-preservation and risk, despair and hope, life and death.

Giovanni Is Here PosterCast
In Order of Appearance
Benjamin Levi……………………….…….........Patrick Glenn
Maria Romano….……………………….........Sabrina De Mio
Anna “Nonna” Romano…………...................Susannah Wood
Belle Levi…….…………....................................Yael Aranoff
Angelo Romano………………...............................Peter Weiss
Carlo Dominico……………………….…....…Jerome Solberg
Policeman 1……………………......................….Mike Callan
Policeman 2……..……......................................Forrest Jessing
Mario the Barber……......................................…...Mike Callan
Neighbor…………………….......................…..Forrest Jessing
Narrator...............................................................DeepakSohane


About the Playwright

Mercedes Cohen always treasures tales where the future turns on a moment. A background in literature and writing comes from a bachelor’s degree in English from San Francisco State and a M.F.A. in professional writing from the University of Southern California. She has written plays, novels and screenplays. Giovanni is Here was created after visiting Romeand is based on real historical events and people. She looks forward to participating in Actors Ensemble productions in the future. Now retired from teaching after 27 years, Mercedes resides in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband, Michael.

About the Director

Michael R Cohen returns to the Actors’ Ensemble of Berkeley where he has directed Fortinbras by Lee Blessing at John Hinkel Park this summer and a staged reading of The Memorandum last fall. Recently, he has directed “The Packrat Gene” and “Pete’s Place” for Ross Valley Players RAW. He served for 25 years as Director of Performing Arts at Rosemead High School east of Los Angeles. He holds a BA in Theater Arts from UCLA and a MA in directing from San Diego State University.

About the Cast

Yael Aranoff is happy to return to Actor's Ensemble. This project is personally meaningful to her because members of her own family perished in the Holocaust. Yael was previously seen in Actor's Ensemble's production of Rock 'N' Roll as Gillian/Magda, and she is the dramaturg for Actor's Ensemble's current production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile. She has previously acted with companies such as Town Hall Theatre Company, Crowded Fire Theater, Subterranean Shakespeare and All Terrain Theater. You can catch her in another staged reading on November 14 of Hector, a part of the San Francisco Olympians Festival.


Mike Callan appears in is his first show at Actors’ Ensemble. His last role was Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing at Ohlone College. Other roles are Doctor Seward in Dracula and Captain Treville in The Three Musketeers. He hopes he does a good job.


Sabrina De Mio is very excited to be a part of this fun project. She has has the honor of most recently working with Performers Under Stress (PUS), San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Shotgun Players, Astrid Bas and Thumbprint Theater. You can catch her next in Jessica Ferris' Doppelganger in November. She studies acting with Ponder Goddard and Bobby Weinapple. She hopes you will enjoy the show tonight.

Patrick Glenn is thrilled to be working with Actors’ Ensemble once again. He previously performed with AEB as Forinbras in Fortinbras and as Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Raised in Albany, CA. Patrick has studied acting, improv, comedy, and drama in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. He would like to thank his awesome parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, girlfriends, friends, and every single audience member.

Forrest Jessing is happy to be working with Actors’ Ensemble for the first time and he looks forward to many more appearances in the future.

Deepak Sohane Deepak is a recent Bay Area Transplant and a UC Berkeley Graduate. He is very happy to be working with the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley and looks forward to many adventures in the future.

Jerome Solberg has been in and around Actors Ensemble of Berkeley since 2005. Along the way, he has produced some 26 shows, countless staged readings, directed "Exit the King" by Ionesco to good reviews, and occasionally acts, most recently as Nigel in our recent production of Stoppard's "Rock 'n' Roll". Thanks to Michael for putting all this together, and Mercedes for writing a great play.

Peter Weiss last appeared in Actors Ensemble production of Fortinbras. He comes to Berkeley from Los Angeles where he appeared in films, television shows, and theatre. His stage roles include everything from Atahuallpa in Peter Shaffer’s The Royal Hunt of the Sun to John Laroquette’s sidekick in the original comedy farce, Tarboosh.

Susannah Wood has appeared with AEof B in Henry VI Part III, The Memorandum and Fortinbras. Wood has performed as an actress and singer with various other companies, including Ivoryton Playhouse, KQED Radio Drama, SF Playwrights Center, and Opera Piccola. Last month, she played four different roles in The Golden Dragon at ACT Costume Shop, SF, with Do It Live Productions,

Tags: Staged Readings

Thank You

Actors Ensemble of Berkeley is delighted to acknowledge the Berkeley Civic Arts Program and Civic Arts Commission's support in the form of a grant of $8,000.00 awarded in 2017. Also, a thank you to Theatre Bay Area for a grant of $2,500.00.

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