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Our Spring Production of One-Acts by Gjelten, Lewis, Vachss and Ives - Opens April 14th

Big Breath by Elizabeth Gjelten
Bonwit Teller's Revenge by Mildred Inez Lewis
Placebo by A. Vachss
The Philadelphia by David Ives 

Directed by Tracy Baxter
Hosted by Ginorma Desmond

Friday/Saturday April 14/15 and 21/22 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 16 and 22, 2 p.m.

| Click here for Tickets |

Following up on the successful run of our first Three For Thought in November of 2022, Actors Ensemble presents four provocative, engaging, and mysterious short plays directed by Tracy Baxter, once more hosted by the enigmatic and wildly entertaining Ginorma Desmond.  

Six Performances Only: Friday/Saturday April 14/15 and 21/22 at 8 p.m., plus Sundays April 16 and 23 at 2 p.m, 2023.  All performances at LaVal's Subterranean Theater, the funky home of edgy East Bay Theater for 30 years, located in the basement of LaVal's Pizza Parlor, 1834 Euclid Ave., Berkeley, 94709.  The venue is not wheelchair accessible.

Featuring the talents of Paulette Herring, Irina Dianova, Laurent J. L. Hall, Illan Halpern, Keith Jefferds, Bruce Kaplan, and Polina Litvak.

Tickets are free, but donations accepted.  All audience members must present proof of vaccination and wear a mask during the performance.

Big Breath by Elizabeth Gjetlten --- A frantic woman faces going outside at the height of the protests and the pandemic. With Paulette Herring.

Bonwit Teller's Revenge by Mildred Inez Lewis --- Two wronged employees of a luxury retailer conjure up a spooky way to make things right. With Irina Dianova as Meredith and Laurent J. L. Hall as Jackie.

Placebo by A. Vachss --- An unhinged janitor who enjoys “fixing” things tracks down the source of a child’s nightmares. With Illan Halpern.

The Philadelphia by David Ives - Mark finds himself plunged into a metaphorical black hole.  How can Al be so calm? With Keith Jefferds as Mark, Bruce Kaplan as Al and Polina Litvak as The Waitress.

Director, Host, and Cast


In recent years, Tracy Baxter’s (Director) lifelong interest in all things theater has taken a more active turn. She’s completed acting classes at ACT, Berkeley Rep, and Cal Shakes, participated in directing and lighting design workshops at Oakland Theater Project, and performed with small but mighty community theater companies such as Theater of Others, Ninjaz of Drama, and the venerable Actors of Ensemble of Berkeley, where she is also a board member, and where she also just made her directorial debut, helming a gripping online production of Lynn Nottage’s SWEAT. Her play, KUDZU 2012, was a semifinalist selection in the Playwrights Foundation’s 2018 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and a finalist selection in the Screencraft 2020 Stage Play Writing Competition. Staged readings of KUDZU 2012 were presented in 2022 by the San Francisco Women’s Theater Festival and San Francisco’s 3Girls Theatre, where she is now a Brady Fellow, an incubator program for writers over 40. KUDZU 2012 will be part of Oakland Theater Project Presents programming in July 2023. She directed the first iteration of THREE FOR THOUGHT for Actors Ensemble in November 2022.

 Ginorma Desmond (Host) is a San Francisco based drag performer, appearing in plays, revues, traditional drag cabaret and stand up comedy.








Paulette Herring performing Big Breath is happy back with her A.E. family who she considers to be her theater home away from home. Some of her favorite roles for A.E. and around the bay area have been Bernice in Member of the Wedding, Rosa in Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke, young Gladys in The Skin of our Teeth and Reba in You Can’t Take it With You. Thanks for coming sit back take a Big Breath and enjoy the shows .





Irina Dianova (Meredith in Bonwit Teller's Revenge) is thrilled to return to La Val’s for this production. She has previously performed with various Bay Area companies including Coastal Rep, Ninjaz of Drama, Theater of Others, AE, and Theatre Lunatico. Favorite roles include Vera/Dr. Zavala (Distracted), Mrs. Dilber (A Christmas Carol), Miss Prism (The Importance of Being Earnest), Hermia (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Dromio of Syracuse (Comedy of Errors), Jessie (Switch), and Katya (Inhale/Exhale - at La Val’s with Lunatico). Hammer time!





Laurent J.L. Hall (he/him/his) (Jackie in Bonwit Teller's Revenge) is a performer currently working toward a theater certificate from NYU Tisch. He has an extensive theater and dance background, having appeared in over 50 shows in the last 20 years.  Some of his favorite credits include: the arguably titular Achilles in ARISTOS: The Musical (Tartarus Productions), Benji in Edith Can Shoot Things And Hit Them (Pacifica Spindrift Players), and Stevie in Good People (The Stage at Burke Junction). In addition to school, work, and theater, he has several voice acting credits, most notably on the award-winning audio drama Station Arcadia (Nikki), as well as being on both cast and crew of the upcoming ARISTOS cast album.

Illan F. Halpern (The Janitor in Placebo) 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 was last seen on stage at AE's production of Fortinbras. Additional AE credits include staged readings of Lysistrata and Machinal.

Bruce Kaplan (Al in The Philadelphia) Bruce is excited to be performing again with AE. Some of his favorite roles with AE include Malvolio in Twelfth Night and King Claudius in Fortinbras. Other recent favorites include Mr. Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors (Pinole Community Playhouse), Alfred Doolittle in Pygmalion (Orinda Players), and Jaques in As You Like It (Masquers Playhouse). In his other life, Bruce is a literacy tutor for struggling readers. Thanks for supporting community theater!


Keith Jefferds (Mark in The Philadelphia) has acted Bay Area-wide since 2004. Favorite roles: Shelley Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross, King Henry (A Lion in Winter), Tartuffe (Tartuffe), Elwood P. Dowd (Harvey), and Boss Mangan in AE’s production of Heartbreak House. Keith first performed his character, Mark, with The Masquers last year—and isn’t it tasty to be stuck in the surreal.


Polina Litvak (The Waitress in The Philadelphia) is excited to be doing another Three for Thought with Actors Ensemble of Berkeley. She has worked onstage and backstage with various theatre companies across the Bay, including Theatre Rhinoceros, Ninjaz of Drama, San Leandro Players, and the Playwrights Center of San Francisco. Some of her favorite past roles include Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Sir Humphrey in The Knight of the Burning Pestle.



Free! - Donations Accepted - Tickets here: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/actorsensemble/889204

Actors Ensemble is the longest-running theatre organization in Berkeley, founded in 1957. We aim to produce quality theatre emphasizing the ensemble, with a community flavor.

Actors Ensemble
P.O. Box 663
Berkeley, CA 94701
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A 501(3)(c) organization

Photo above "Scared Girl", by Victor Bezrukov courtesy of Wiki Commons and licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Genericlicense.


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