Welcome to the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley website!

An Afternoon With Julia

Actors Ensemble, in cooperation with Mountain View Cemetery, presents "An Afternoon With Julia", an adaptation of "Arches, Balance, and Light", both by Bay Area playwright Mary Spletter. Directed by Michael R. Cohen. Presented two afternoons only, September 29th and 30th, both at 2 p.m., at the Mountain View Cemetery Chapel

An Afternoon With Julia(Click here for program PDF.)  This captivating historic fictionalized play visits famed Bay Area architect Julia Morgan. As her life comes to its final chapter, she enters her imagination to determine whether she should have done anything differently. Should she have had a family? Did she give up too much for too little? The play provides the likely answers and follows the hurdles she overcame to achieve her dream.

Presented two afternoons only, September 29th and 30th, both at 2 p.m., at the Mountain View Cemetery Chapel, on the ground of the cemetery design by pioneering landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, designer of New York's Central Park.  An optional 15-minute docent walk (or drive) follows with a visit to Julia's final resting place.


Both performances are free-of-charge and open to the public.
Wheelchair accessible. The performance will last approximately 90 minutes. Reservations available by calling 510-649-5999 or writing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


A NOTE FROM THE PLAYWRIGHT

My play, Arches, Balance and Light, presented here shortened and revised as An Afternoon with Julia, started like many plays—as a simple love story. The major difference was that the object of my affection was a building. To be specific, it was the Berkeley City Club that I loved. It was one of over 700 building designed by famed architect Julia Morgan.


I didn’t hold back on the emotions or time that I invested in my love. I became a voting member of the City Club, swam routinely in its beautiful pool, and was elected vice president of its historic preservation group. I gave tours, became a docent and turned a dingy smoking room into a very active history center that told the life and accomplishments of Julia Morgan. Unlike many relationships, my love of the City Club continued
for decades. This was no superficial “love ‘em and leave ‘em” affair. When I retired, I enrolled in a playwriting class. There was no question as to the topic of my first play. My only goals: Humanize Julia and don’t write a documentary. I combined history and fiction to bring my building and character alive.

Most people will associate the play with award-winning director Jay Manley. Indeed it was a wonderful opportunity to work with Jay, whose amazing attention to detail is obvious whether he is leading a group to Times Square or directing a new Mountain Play in Marin. Others who left their mark on the play: Gary Graves, who taught my first playwriting class at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Carol Wolf, who made playwriting fascinating using the internet, and John Wilk, star teacher and director at CCSF. Robert and Leslie Currier discussed the work with me during their annual trips to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival. And Anthony Clarvoe shared his talents and writing skills with lucky students at Stagebridge.


I started out thinking playwriting would be a magnificent profession because I could make all of the decisions. I found out that playwriting was one of the most collaborative projects I have ever undertaken.


Mary Spletter
September, 2018


An Afternoon with Julia is an adaptation of Arches, Balance, and Light. Both are by Mary Spletter


Cast
Gigi Benson...................................................Julia Morgan
Linda Maria Girón.............................................Young Julia
Ed Pieczenik...........................................................Cedric
Sara Renauer-Reid............................................Marguerite
Robin Schild............................................................Victor
Staff
Director ..........................................................Michael R. Cohen
Producer & Publicity & Program.....................Jerome Solberg


SPECIAL THANKS TO: Krystie Ly and the rest of the folks at Mountain View Cemetery

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.

Actors Ensemble Facebook Group

Actors Ensemble of Berkeley - P.O. Box 663 - Berkeley - California - 94701 ¦ Our Answering Service: (510) 649-5999 ¦