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Staged Reading: Lysistrata

Adapted by Ellen McLaughlin
Directed by Kayla M. Kaufmann
Monday, October 28th.  8PM
Old Finnish Hall, 1819 10th Street, Berkeley  (NOT the Finnish Hall on Chestnut, the other, older, grander one on 10th Street). (Directions) The venue is not Wheelchair Accessible.

Fall 2019 Staged Readings GraphicsThis fresh, fast-paced comedy, inspired by the Aristophanes play, follows Lysistrata, an Athenian housewife, who calls for the women of Greece to help end the Peloponnesian War. She proposes a radical plan: all Greek women must refuse to engage in love making until the men see reason, lay down their arms and come home to lay down with their wives in peace. The women agree to make the sacrifice and all hell breaks loose as men wander the country in an agony of unsatisfied lust. Will Lysistrata and her crew accomplish what the politicians could not?

(Program PDF)

Lysistrata - Li Leng Au
Chorus 1 - Lisa Wang
Chorus 2 - Kirsten Louie
Old Woman 1/Fisherwoman - Vicki Victoria
Old Woman 2 - Gigi A Tasse
Calonice - Joyce Domanico-Huh
Lampito - Jacqueline Wolfe
Myrrhine - Helen Kim
Dipsas/Old Woman 3 - Jean Pimentel
Ismena/Belphragia - Kenya Akbar
Geezer 1 - Peter Weiss
Geezer 2/Spartan Envoy - Baki Tezcan
Geezer 3/Spartan Delegate - Simon Patton
Magistrate - Illan Halpern
Cinesias - Vicki Siegel

Director…………………………..……………..Kayla M. Kaufman
Producer…………………………………………..Jerome Solberg


Ellen McLaughlin is an award-winning American playwright and actress. Her plays include Septimus and Clarissa, Ajax in Iraq, Days and Nights Within, A Narrow Bed, Infinity's House, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Tongue of a Bird, The Trojan Women, Helen, The Persians, Oedipus, and The Oresteia. McLaughlin is also an actress, having worked on and Off Broadway as well as extensively in regional theater. She is most well known for having originated the part of the Angel in Tony Kushner's Angels in America. She graduated from Yale University in 1980, summa cum laude. She has been teaching at Barnard College since 1995. https://www.ellenmmclaughlin.com/

Kayla M. Kaufman is a recent recipient of an A.C.T. Fellowship, after having graduated from Loyola Marymount University Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in both Theatre Arts and Film and Television Production. She has recently directed The Revolutionists as part of her A.C.T. fellowship, as well as Men I'm Not Married To for Santa Cruz Shakespeare and Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) for the Women's Theatre Festival in Raleigh, N.C. She has extensive theatrical experience with companies on both coasts. https://www.kaylamkaufman.com

Kenya Akbar (Ismenia/Belphragia) is new to the Bay Area Theatre Community and has long awaited her moment to jump into character after taking multiple acting classes at San Francisco State University, and is delighted that Lysistrata would be her first play.

Li-Leng Au (Lysistrata) has performed in three continents. She is grateful to be performing in AEB’s very timely reading of Lysistrata. She hopes that we all take the central message to heart and do our best to be kind to our neighbours both near and far.

Joyce Domanico-Huh (Calonice) is a Korean theatre artist, born and raised in the Bay Area. She’s excited to be a part of her first project for Actors Ensemble! She’s performed with companies such as Theatre Rhinoceros, Killing My Lobster, Shotgun Players, and Magic Theatre, among others. She is a 2019 recipient of Killing My Lobster’s Diversity in Comedy Fellowship for Acting.

Illan F. Halpern (Magistrate) has acted in plays in Brazil, Canada and the east and west coasts of the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from UC Berkeley, and a minor in Theater Arts from MIT. He is excited to make his Actors Ensemble debut in this staged reading.

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Kayla Minton Kaufman (Director) enjoys having her fingers in many pies and has been lucky enough to work with American Conservatory Theater, PianoFight, Cutting Ball, and Santa Cruz Shakespeare. She loves work that celebrates diversity, provokes discussion, builds community, and makes audiences laugh or cry (or just remember how to be human). Kayla strives to admire one tree per day, minimum. For more about Kayla: kaylamkaufman.com

Helen Kim (Myrrhine) is delighted to be working again with Actors Ensemble, where she was last seen in The Skin of Our Teeth and the Staged Reading of 365/365 and Persephone Underground last January. Helen has worked with Berkeley Rep, TheatreWorks, SF Olympians, PCSF, and The Actors Space. Upcoming: SF Olympians: Prydain at Exit Theatre and Holidays Away From Home at PianoFight.

Kirstin Louie (Athenian Chorus Woman 2) is an East Bay native and is thrilled to be performing in her first Greek comedy with Actors Ensemble. She was last seen on stage as Courtney in Ray of Light Theatre’s American Psycho. Love and thanks to her sister, Camden, for the endless support! This is Simon Patton’s (Geezer 3/Spartan Delegate) second appearance for Actors Ensemble, both in this staged reading series, though he has being doing theatre in the Bay Area for two decades. When not on stage he spends his time helping colleagues search for some of the missing 90% of the Universe.

Jeanne Pimentel (Dipsas, Old Woman 3) as a teenager in London in the 1950s, played juve leads in high school, and with Ariel Players and Tavistock Rep. As a senior citizen in California, she enjoys playing any age with Stagebridge, Generation, Cornerstone, and Actors Ensemble.

Vicki Siegel (Ciresias) worked on the AE production of Lysistrata in 2007, a production noted for long balloons. Since then she has had two original musicals produced by AE – A Hot Day in Ephesus based on A Comedy of Errors and What Do Women Want – the Marriage of Sir Gawain based on the Canterbury Tales and adapted two main stage shows – Knight of the Burning Pestle and Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged adapted for 9 actors. Interestingly, Ciresias was played by Kevin Bacon in its off Broadway incarnation so I guess that gives her one degree of separation.

GiGi A Tasse ( old woman 2) after an acting absence by some fluke wound up in a grindhouse film playing a vegan psycho killer. This led to a commercial, more film and musical theatre where she was featured as a 90 year old Italian /ex stripper, alcoholic mom of a tweeker, hoarder slumlord and German lesbian concentration survivor. GiGi wanted to ask her therapist about the significance of these roles, but her therapist no longer takes sliding scale.

Baki Tezcan (Geezer 2 / Spartan Envoy) acted in Turkish in Istanbul and Ankara in the late 1980s and early 1990s. After twenty years in the US, he returned to stage at the Art Theater of Davis with two Chekhov plays. Lysistrata is his fourth staged reading with the Actors Ensemble this year. Vicki Victoria (Old Woman 1/Fisherwoman) actually stood on The Acropolis last month on an extended vacation in Greece. With dust from Athens still on her sandals inspiring her, she embarks on her 8th production with AEB. Efcharistó polý!

Lisa Wang (Athenian Chorus Leader 1) is excited to be joining this spirited and talented cast for this raucous sex comedy! She was recently on stage with Playwright Center of SF's Best Short Plays of 2019, and in November, Lisa can be seen guest performing with BATS Improv (Bay Area TheatreSports) at Fort Mason, SF, performing the improvised long-form show The Long Weekend. More info at improv.org. Thank you for supporting community theatre!

Peter Weiss (Geezer 1) appeared as Venturewell and Barbaroso in Actors Ensemble’s production of Knight of the Burning Pestle, as the Preacher in Panhandle, as Angelo in Giovanni is Here, and as Jerry in Relatively Speaking. He spent 37 years in Los Angeles where he appeared in films, television shows, and theatre. His stage roles included everything from Atahuallpa in Peter Shaffer’s The Royal Hunt of the Sun to John Laroquette’s sidekick in the original comedy farce, Tarboosh.

Jacqueline Wolfe (Lampito) is a Los Angeles transplant who's most recent work includes Kristin in The Julie Cycle, an original devised work by Poltergeist Theatre Project, Diane in Freddy at the Fountain Theatre, and #8 in 12 Angry Men. This is her first time working with Actors Ensemble and she couldn't be more thrilled to be working with a diverse group of joyful humans.

Mercedes and Jesus of the Old Finnish Hall. Jim Kleinman of San Francisco Playground, and The Actors Ensemble board of directors. Performed by arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. Text by Ellen McLaughlin with additional material by the company, by permission from the playwright.

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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