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Staged Reading - The Real Thing

By Tom Stoppard

A Staged Reading

Directed by Mathew Surrence

Tuesday - February 7, 2012 at  8 p.m.

ONE NIGHT ONLY - $5 - $10 sliding scale (no one will be turned away for lack of funds)

The Real Thing is a play by Tom Stoppard, first performed in 1982. Stoppard's ("Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead", "Shakespeare in Love", and our current main stage production "Arcadia") THE REAL THING examines the nature of honesty, and its use of a play within a play is one of many levels on which the author teases the audience with the difference between semblance and reality.

The play focuses on the relationship between Henry and Annie, an actress who is part of a committee to free Brodie, a Scottish soldier imprisoned for burning a memorial wreath during a protest. Originally premiering in London, the 1984 Broadway production won the Tony Award for Best Play, and a subsequent production won the Tony for Best Revival. The character Henry is a playwright, and the play itself contains significant autobiographical elements. It is one of Stoppard's best and most intricate works - an intense examination of relationships and the nature of truth - always a good thing to meditate on in an election year.

      2012 Winter Staged Reading Series


Henry – Stanley Spenger

Annie- Shifra Pride Raffel

Billy – Morgan Brown

Max – Al Badger

Brodie – Barry Eitel

Max – Al Badger

Debbie – Greer Jansen

Charlotte – Michelle Delattre

Music by – John Palme and Alice Montgomery

Matthew Surrence (Director) is currently playing Jellaby in Arcadia. He directed a staged reading of The Knight of the Burning Pestle last year at Actors Ensemble, which was a revival of his staged reading of this play at Subterranean Shakespeare in 2010..

Stanley Spenger (Henry) has been a frequent presence on stage at Actors Ensemble, recently on the boards both for last year’s Heartbreak House and Blithe Spirit.  He has also directed numerous productions, including our last Stoppard production, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in 2007.

Shifra Pride Raffel (Annie) is currently playing Lady Croom in Actors Ensemble's Arcadia. She apologizes to Michelle Delattre for once again wrecking her home with Stanley Spenger (as in last year's Heartbreak House) and thanks her beloved valentine Stephen for his tireless support.

Morgan Brown (Billy) When he isn't on stage, Morgan is a graduate student in mathematics at UC Berkeley.  Recently he was the Mathematics Consultant for Arcadia.  Next year he'll be a postdoc at the University of Michigan.

Al Badger (Max) is currently appearing as Noakes in Arcadia. Nothing else of interest has ever happened in his life, ever.

Greer Jansen (Debbie) is currently a senior at Berkeley High and was last seen in Berkeley Playhouse's Cinderella Enchanted.  Though new to Actors Ensemble, she is thrilled to be involved in this production of Arcadia, where she is an understudy for multiple roles.  Aside from theatre, various interests include helping things grow, 90's boy bands, and circuses.

Michelle Delattre (Charlotte) This is Michele's second turn at Stoppard with AE; ten years ago she played Cecily in Travesties. More recently she appeared as Hesione in Heartbreak House. Across the Bay in Mill Valley she is artistic director of the Curtain Theatre doing Shakespeare in the Park.

Barry Eitel (Brodie) is currently playing Chater in Arcadia. He recently played Mr. Praed in San Leandro Players Mrs. Warren's Profession. He will direct a staged reading of Savage/Love with Boxcar in March.

John Palme (Music) also provided music for the staged reading of The Knight of the Burning Pestle last year at Actors Ensemble and created original compositions for War Parrots of Miami for Play Cafe the year before.

Alice Montgomery (Music) currently plays with Curtain Theatre in Mill Valley, chamber music in Alameda, as well as in the upcoming production of A Hot Day in Ephesus by Vicki Siegel opening here at Actor's Ensemble In April.

Offerred for ONE NIGHT ONLY, Tuesday Feb. 7th, 8 p.m., at Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave (at Berryman) in north Berkeley. Tickets $5-$10 sliding scale - cash or check only (no one will be turned away for lack of funds). Doors/box office opens at 7:30 p.m. Wheelchair accessible - use the north side entrance. Free curbside parking along Shattuck, Berryman, and Walnut (west side of Live Oak Park). Lots of dining opportunities in the nearby North Shattuck and Solano Avenue business districts.

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

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Federal Tax ID #946139640, since 04-1967