8 One-Acts in 90 Minutes!
The Theatre Mine is delighted to host this free online staged reading by the
Brookside Writers Workshop
Friday, October 30, 2020
6:00 pm Pacific | 7:00 pm Mountain | 8:00 pm Central | 9:00 pm Eastern
A tribute to Mae Z. Meidav, founder of the Brookside Repertory Theatre, Berkeley, California
Beloved mentor and muse of
The Brookside Writers Project, Mae Z. Meidav
Mae made her mark on the Bay Area theater scene as a playwright, actor, solo performer, director, producer and manager of her own theater company — the Brookside Repertory Theatre. If she were with us now she’d be the first to be zooming with us through the stratosphere, and delighted we’re teaming talents with The Theatre Mine.
“Brookside” became the catchword for a bevy of actors, writers and belly dancers who pursued artistic endeavors in Mae’s welcoming, iconic home on Brookside Avenue in Berkeley. A true polymath, she worked as an engineer and a professor of sociology before landing at BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), where she launched a lunchtime Writers Workshop — inspiring dozens of Bay Area followers to take up or hone the craft of writing.
Once Mae retired, the writers moved to the massive dining room table at Brookside, with seasonal readings performed by the ever-ready ensemble of actors awaiting to bring “the page to the stage.” When Mae passed and COVID-19 hit, we regrouped as a peer-led effort on the Zoom platform (with guest turns by literary luminaries, including her daughter, novelist Edie Meidav, and playwright/director Daniel F. Sullivan). As a group we hope to continue the curious spark Mae lit for those willing to work, risk and revel in her special techniques, and celebrate the amazing life she led. We pay tribute to Mae’s legacy tonight with these readings, and thank you for being a part of it.
What a Win by Linda Walls
Directed by Gigi Benson
Columbus Lost in Paradise by Daniel Eeds
directed by Lauren Berkman
Job Interview, 2050 by Judith Silverstein
Directed by Susannah Wood
#MeToo, at Last! by Brenda Kahn
directed by Daniel Sullivan
Plague of Athens by Jeanne Perkins
Directed by Matthew Vire
Capitol Express by Gigi Benson
Directed by Delena Aseere Britnell
Death of a Scoundrel by Karen Goetz
Directed by Daniel Sullivan
Alcazaba by Michael C. Healy
Directed by Peter Gil-Sheridan
THE WRITERS AND ACTORS
GIGI BENSON has been blessed with a bevy of great roles, mentors and colorful characters on stage and off. Fortune has found her belting Shakespeare in the Rockies to baring her breasts for Mamet’s “Edmond” in NYC. Fave turns include Julia Morgan in “An Afternoon With Julia,” Susy in “Wait Until Dark,” Belinda/Flavia in “Noises Off,” Blanche Dubois in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and Sandra in NCTC’s “Beautiful Thing” (for which she won Bay Area Reporter's Best Actress Award). She was crushed when the pandemic cancelled her run as Mrs. Rooney in Beckett’s “All That Fall.” Commercial work in TV and films, such as “13 Reasons Why,” or taking on the role of president for The Theatre Mine’s Board of Directors keeps her family amused. This latest venture as a producer teaming the Brookside Writers Workshop with exceptional theatrical chums is a dream come true amid COVID craziness. She hopes Mae is watching.
LAUREN T. BERKMAN is an actor, singer and teaching artist based in the Berkshires. She has performed and taught throughout the U.S. and internationally, from Europe to South America. She received her bachelor of music from Boston Conservatory, then went on to study theater at L’Ecole de Comédie Musicale in Paris. There she performed with non-profit theater companies bringing new musical theater to Europe, working with incredible artists such as Carner and Gregor, John Bucchino, and Pasek and Paul. Since moving back to the States in 2016, she has traveled the U.S. working as an actor, director and producer, served on the board of The Theatre Mine, and co-founded NYC based company StageLingo: enhancing foreign language learning through theater training. When she’s not in a theater, she is climbing mountains, playing the piano, listening to French '60s pop, or enjoying a Berliner Weisse. www.LaurenTaylorBerkman.com www.StageLingo.com
DELENA ASEERE BRITNELL has a BA in Theatre, Film and Television from the University of Colorado-Denver with an emphasis on directing. After college she was introduced to Silverton, Colorado by Mollie Mook Fiddler as an instructor for the children’s summer theater program. Her love for the town and its people and her passion for the arts became the foundation for Delena as she has continued to teach theater and visual art around the country. Her goal as an instructor is to create an environment that allows all ages to express and discover the wonders of imagination. Her experience working in theater has continued to spark her love for stories and has encouraged Delena to continue working as a painter and illustrator for children’s stories, commission projects and inspirational imagery.
MICHELE DELATTRE is an old friend of the Brookside Writers Workshop under the late, great Mae Meidav. She is a founding member of Mill Valley’s Curtain Theatre company where for over 20 years she has directed, acted and played in the band for Shakespeare in Old Mill Park. Her California acting credits include many East Bay community theaters, ShotzSF, Pacific Rep in Carmel and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. When she is not wearing a theater hat, she plays Celtic traditional music with her husband Don Clark.
DAN EEDS is a longtime member of Mae Meidav’s Brookside Writers Workshop, and recently completed the first draft for his young adult novel, Columbus Lost in Paradise. A short play, “Missadelphia 1961,” was performed at the Notre Dame de Namur University’s Annual Labor Day Theatre Festival (directed by Gigi Benson). Dan has started a second YA novel based on “Missadelphia 1961.”
PETER GIL-SHERIDAN is a nationally recognized playwright whose work has been seen and developed in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Philadelphia among other places. His play “This Space Between Us,” originally written with The Theatre Mine in Silverton, Colo., was developed in residence with Page 73 Productions in New York. He recently joined the faculty at Vassar College where he teaches playwriting.
KAREN GOETZ is a biologist by training who found her calling at the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), where she wrangled trains before becoming one of the first women in a senior supervisor position responsible for controlling/minimizing any impacts on BART operations resulting from multimillion-dollar construction and extension projects. A writer and wine connoisseur/sommelier, she is collector of words and wine (preferably French), and a longtime member of the Brookside Writers Workshop, where she has been exploring how to bring her poetry to the stage. While her roots stretch back to Staten Island, NYC, she is a Californian at heart who prefers to get around by pedal power, and counts her cat Zipper as one of her muses.
MICHAEL C. HEALY headed up Media and Public Affairs at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System for 32 years and was its chief spokesperson. Prior to his tenure at BART he was managing editor of Marin Guide Publications. Earlier in his career he wrote for the CBS Network radio show “Suspense,” and wrote a movie called “The Dirt Gang” for Paramount Studios. The movie was released in 1973 by American International Pictures. Following his retirement from BART he wrote the history of the system – BART: The Dramatic History of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (Heyday Books), which is now in its second printing. He regularly contributes profiles and feature articles to Bay Area publications, is the author of three novels at various stages of development, and has seen several of his short plays produced through the Brookside Writers Workshop.
CHARMAIN HOWINGTON is currently working as a staff assistant in the Department of Mass Media Arts at Clark Atlanta University. She brings with her a diverse, creative background in writing, theater and teaching. After obtaining her MFA in Acting from the University of Iowa, she relocated to Los Angeles where she starred in a variety of films, television shows and commercials. During this time, she was also fortunate enough to teach for the Job Training Program for Los Angeles Valley College where she assisted students with creating dynamic writing projects as well as preparing them for workplace success with implementation of time management, organization and communication skills. Currently, she also serves as a board member for The Theatre Mine in Silverton, Colorado, which produces an annual theatre festival to build collaborative, creative, inter-mountain and regional relationships to enhance our communities though the advancement of the performing arts and theatre.
BRENDA KAHN built a career in journalism and corporate communications while pursuing creative writing projects on the side, including a series of short one-act plays performed under the umbrella of the Brookside Writers Workshop. She has taught journalism/writing at City College of San Francisco and UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and her articles, op-eds and personal essays have appeared in the S.F. Chronicle, J. Weekly, Bay Woof and Bay Crossings, among other publications. Her brood of four children (including a set of identical twins) and family and workplace dynamics often provide material for her work. An avid swimmer, Brenda is on a never-ending quest to find and experience the world’s best lap pool.
KAREN KLABER has been a magazine publisher and advertising sales executive for five decades. She is currently associate publisher of the new East Bay Magazine and represents several other titles in the Bay Area for Metro Publishing, Inc. She has been both writer and actor for the Brookside Writers Workshop, acted in a feature length film, studied acting, improv and Shakespeare at Berkeley Rep and with others; studied and performed jazz and classical singing for many years; and is a long-time student of ballet and tango dancing.
PIDGE MEADE was last on the boards understudying three shows at Berkeley Rep (“Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide,” “Tartuffe” and “Party People”). In 2011 she had a three-month run at The Marsh (SF) with her solo show “40 Pounds in 12 Weeks: A Love Story.” Favorite Bay Area shows include “Merrily We Roll Along” (Mary), “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Mary) and various Margaret Dumont-eque character turns with 42nd Street Moon. More cherished are the roles she played under the direction of her husband (and co-star) Dave Sikula: Amalia (“She Loves Me”), Sarah Brown (“Guys & Dolls”), Joan (“Love Song”), Celia (“As You Like It”) and the title role in “Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge.” Pidge is also a Jeopardy! champion.
LAURIE O'BRIEN has played roles ranging from lunatics and white trash to the most beautiful woman in the world (Helen of Troy in “The Greeks”) and a prima ballerina (“Lake Anne”). Favorite roles include Paulina in the remake of “The Defiant Ones,” Denise Savage (“Savage in Limbo,” LADCC Award), Mary Barnes (“Mary Barnes,” LADCC Award), Virginia in “The Clean House,” Meta in “Times Like These” (Ovation Award), Aoife in “Outside Mullingar,” and especially Queen Elizabeth in “Shakespeare in Love.” Television includes “CSI,” “CSI: Miami,” “Detroit 1-8-7,” “Three Rivers,” “Shark,” “ER” and “NYPD Blue.” Movies include “Bottle Shock,” Around the Bend,” “Time Rider,” “Complete Works” (Amazon Prime) and “Too Young to Die?” Laurie is also a sculptor and lives happily in L.A. with her husband Carl.
JEANNE PERKINS loves creating plays that are “take-offs” on other (more justifiably famous) works, whether Greek myths, Shakespeare’s royalty or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes cases — and particularly the opportunity to take innovative looks at current events through the eyes of past authors. Her background as an earthquake hazard modeler and specialist in public policy for natural hazard mitigation and safety means that many of her plays feature a respect for science. She has been a member of the Brookside Writers Workshop for over 20 years.
AMANDA LOUISE RAWNSLEY is an actress residing in Los Angeles. She is a member of Second City and graduated with a degree in Theatre Arts. She is eager to break into this post-COVID theater experience!
DAVE SIKULA has acted and directed throughout the Bay Area, Southern California and Oregon. Previously: (At Custom Made) Samuel Beckett (“Sam and Dede, or My Dinner With Andre the Giant”; world premiere, SF/NY); George Kraft (“Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night,” world premiere, SF/NY); The Professor (“Life Sucks.”); Col. Bouvier/N.V. Peale (“Grey Gardens”); Narrator (“Slaughterhouse Five”); George Betterton/Thomas Pix (“The Lady Scribblers”). Also: Duke Frederick/Duke Senior (“As You Like It”) at SF Shakes; Howard (“The Mystery of Love and Sex”) at NCTC; Edna Turnblad (“Hairspray)” and Lawrence Jameson (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) at Stage 1; title roles in “Uncle Vanya” and “Bullshot Crummond”; Boris Trigorin (“The Seagull”), Hildy Johnson (“The Front Page”), Charles J. Guiteau (“Assassins”). His translation of Chekhov's “Uncle Vanya” won the 2016 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Production in the South Bay. Love to Pidge.
JUDITH SILVERSTEIN was born and never really figured out what to do after that. She has been a graduate student in Italian literature, an environmental policy researcher, and a laborer in the lower echelons of PR and journalism. She recently ventured into open mic comedy, where she discovered the absurd is not necessarily funny. She has been a member of the Brookside Writers Workshop since 2016, where she explores the themes of failure and dysfunction, from awkward social moments to civilizational cataclysm. She survives in Berkeley, California.
BRYAN SMITH is an actor, singer, and writer from New Orleans. He is currently a senior at Vassar College pursuing a major in Drama. His favorite and most recent acting credits include Avery in “The Flick,” Ambrose in “The Northern Skies” and Moritz in “Spring Awakening.” He is grateful to his professor Peter Gil-Sheridan and everyone at The Theater Mine for this exciting opportunity! More info at bryangsmith.com.
DANIEL SULLIVAN’s recent works include podcast pieces for John Steppling's Aesthetic Resistance, a commissioned translation of “Lorca Al Vacio” for Spanish director-writer Sonia Sebastian, and a new translation of Sophocles’ “Antigone” developed with Teatr Zar at The Grotowski Institute in Poland and performed at Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco. Other pieces have been performed at Aurora Theatre’s Global Age Project (GAP), Cal Arts (radio play), Great Plains Theater Conference, SF Playwrights Festival and Augustino Dance Theater in Oakland, California.
ROSS TRAVIS is an award-winning actor/creator, bouffon, physical comedian and circus performer (specializing in Chinese pole), who has studied with world renowned master pedagogues, including Dodi DiSanto, Giovanni Fusetti, Ronlin Foreman, Stephen Buescher, Dominik Wyss and Master Lu Yi. Ross’ lineage of training and experience allows him to create provocative performances that combine circus and bouffon to develop extreme characters and tell stories from the fringes, igniting dialogue and change around ignored or taboo social issues. Over the last six years, Ross’ work has satirically skewered humankind's exploitative relationship with nature. His primary modus operandi is a traditional, grotesque, satirical form of physical theatre called bouffon, which was codified from many traditions (including the medieval Feast of Fools celebration, the satyr plays of the ancient Greeks and the shamans of Native American tribes) by the French theater provocateur Jacques Lecoq in the Fifties and Sixties. RossTravis.com
JOHN TRENT was peacefully working at a Bay Area Subway last week when Gigi Benson entered and they hit it off. He had just made her a particularly good-looking (for Subway) tuna salad sub and she said, “Be an actor for me!” John replied, “Okay. …That’ll be $5.74.” He has since made lovely tuna salad subs for people like Tom, Dick and Harry — without much fanfare. He also travelled to Canada once for skiing. As the saying goes, it was all that and a bag of chips (comped).
MATTHEW VIRE is artistic director of The Theatre Mine, of which he is a co-founder. He completed a BA in Theatre from the University of Maine, where he graduated co-valedictorian in 1999, and an MFA in Acting from the University of Iowa in 2003. Matthew taught college courses in acting and theater history, has worked as a professional actor in regional theaters, and now serves as Creative Director for his husband, motivational comedian and professional speaker Kevin Wanzer. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.
LINDA WALLS is an Oakland-raised, Berkeley-dwelling, long-time secretary now long-haul retiree who misses every last good part of working as much as savoring every drop and morsel of rest, revelry and rejuvenation. Being a day-tripper and road wanderer with her husband Kirk, and a member of the Anything Goes Chorus and regular storyteller get-togethers — along with the focus and fun of belonging to the Brookside Writers Workshop — all makes Linda pleased as punch, deadlines notwithstanding.
CARL WEINTRAUB has performed on such stages as the the Mark Taper Forum, LATC, The Odyssey, the Cast, the Fremont Center Theatre, The Hudson and TheatreWorks in Silicon Valley, plus in numerous television shows and a few movies. Carl studied with the venerable Lou Palter and began his acting career at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 1973. He is the founder and artistic director of WE TELL STORIES traveling theater for young audiences that has reached nearly 7 million children since 1981. As a traveling storyteller, Carl was the first to perform on the stages of the Skirball Museum, the Getty Villa and the Getty Center. He currently produces “BackStory,” a bi-monthly storytelling event at the Victory Theatre in Burbank.
SUSANNAH WOOD has performed and directed often in the Bay Area. Founding director of an award-winning educational arts company, she recently played the role of Lena in Caryl Churchill’s “Escaped Alone” with Anton’s Well Theater and directed Poulenc’s “Dialogues des Carmelites” with Berkeley Chamber Opera. She also has performed frequently at the Brookside Writers' staged readings.