The Pear Avenue Theatre proudly presents
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurâ€™s Court by Mark Twain Dramatization by Diane Tasca & Rebecca J. Ennals
Director Rebecca J. Ennals
Producer Diane Tasca
Set Designers Michal Gavish & Norm Beamer
Rebecca J. Ennals.
The Ensemble (in order of speaking) Michael Bates ............................. Mark Twain /Clarence, et al. Steven Salzman .......................... Innkeeper / Merlin, et al. Troy Johnson ............................. The Yankee Lance Fuller ............................... Clerk /King Arthur, et al. Becky M. Kemper ..................... Innkeeper’s Wife/Morgan le Fay, et al. Dekyi Rongé .............................. Innkeeper’s Daughter /Sandy, et al. Matt Lai ...................................... Stable Hand /Sir Lancelot, et al. The play takes place at an inn near Warwick Castle in England in the 1880s—and in the imagination of its inhabitants. There will be a fifteen-minute intermission.
The Production Team Director ...................................... Rebecca J. Ennals Producer ..................................... Diane Tasca Stage Manager............................ Sara Sparks Set Designers ............................. Michal Gavish & Norm Beamer Lighting Designer...................... Michael Sokolsky Costume Designer .................... Patricia Tyler Sound Designer ......................... Rebecca J. Ennals Set Construction........................ Norm Beamer & Diane Tasca Scenic Painting .......................... Michal Gavish Videos ......................................... John Beamer Publicity Directors .................... Jeanie K. Smith & Shannon Stowe Postcard Designer ..................... Patricia Tyler Program Consultant.................. Susan Petit Website Designer ...................... Ray Renati
For invaluable and numerous contributions to this production, the Pear would like to thank the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.
The title character of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is one of Twain’s most endearing and complex creations. He’s confident, ingenious, wickedly funny, and in love with liberty, equality, free enterprise, and the separation of church and state. However, his belief in his inherent superiority and his underlying contempt for the people he is trying to save lead ultimately to disaster. He declares ―Unlimited power is the ideal thing – when it is in safe hands‖ – or when you are on the winning side. Even as we delight in his triumphs over Merlin and the superstitious folks of the 6th century, we have to recognize the hubris of a man whose ideals may be admirable, but whose methods are sometimes questionable. As Diane and I explored ways to tell this sprawling epic, we embraced the novel’s framing device – a young Mark Twain arrives at an inn near Warwick Castle, where he meets a mysterious stranger. In our version, the staff of the inn (who love a good story) assist the Yankee and Twain in bringing the tale to life. As the story goes on, they become more and more immersed… and invite you, the audience, to join in. We hope you will experience both the joy of reading a great book and the thrill of watching it come to life. I have been very lucky in this process to work with a fantastic cast and crew, whose unlimited imaginations have squeezed castles into a 40-seat theatre and made armies of thousands out of 7 actors. I am grateful to them for never saying ―We just can’t do that‖ and for embracing this incredible story with passion and heart. –Rebecca J. Ennals
About Mark Twain and the Connecticut Yankee Mark Twain, the pen name and the public persona of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), is probably the most influential and certainly one of the most enduringly popular of American writers. A partial list of his works includes travel books (The Innocents Abroad, Roughing It), memoirs (Life on the Mississippi), short stories (―The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,‖ ―The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg‖), essays (―Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses‖) juvenile fiction (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper), and social criticism wrapped in humorous adventure narratives (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court), and even a play that debuted on Broadway in 2007 (Is He Dead?). The first book of his three-volume dictated Autobiography of Mark Twain has just been published a century after his death—as he requested. Missouri was a Southern and Western state when Twain grew up in it, and his early works were based on his adventures in Nevada and California, where he had more success as a journalist than a prospector. But he went East, not just to Connecticut and New York State, where he lived with his wife and
three much-loved daughters, but to Europe, where the family lived intermittently and which he wrote about from the position of a baffled outsider. Twain’s idealism made him critical of America as well as of Europe; his 1873 novel The Gilded Age (written with Charles Dudley Warner) gave its name to the 1870s and 1880s, a time of ostentatious displays of wealth by newly-rich industrialists and speculators. In Huckleberry Finn and Pudd’nhead Wilson Twain used his wit to attack racism as well as hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and gullibility. As Twain put it, ―The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow; there is no humor in Heaven.‖ In 1889, when he published A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Twain was increasingly disillusioned, in part because of losses he was suffering from the publishing house he had created and investments in the doomed Paige typesetting machine. Although he finally had to declare bankruptcy, he managed to pay back all of his creditors, mainly through giving humorous lectures and readings around the world, setting the style Hal Holbrook has been imitating for over fifty years. Twain’s view of life was further darkened by the many deaths in his family beginning in the 1890s, including those of two of his daughters and his wife. Yet even then, in the words of his recent biographer Jerome Loving, ―his towering sense of humor and profound empathy seldom failed him for long.‖ Twain did not invent time-traveling fiction, but Connecticut Yankee has entered into public consciousness in a way that other time-bending novels of its period have not, and it has inspired many works, most of which emphasize the humor of the story rather than its criticism of society. The Yankee, a sort of Robinson Crusoe (as he himself thinks), is also a would-be ―nation builder,‖ to use today’s terminology. He tries to establish late nineteenth-century technology and middle-class American values in a sixth-century England seen through the lens of Thomas Mallory’s fifteenth-century Le Morte d’Arthur, which was itself based on medieval legends. The technological side of his reforms is fun— knights on bicycles, fireworks, electricity—but his attempts to reform medieval society are more important, for he tries to fix poverty, illiteracy, slavery, a rigid class system with entrenched privilege, religious fanaticism, and blind allegiance to tradition. If he cannot win the hearts and minds of the English people, his superior technology will not prevail. The end of his adventure implies a lesson for 21st century Americans. —Susan Petit
Who’s Who in This Production Michael Bates (Mark Twain /Clarence [et al]) is extremely excited to be doing a show at the Pear! He is a recent graduate from Santa Clara University (B.A. Theatre Arts & History), and was most recently seen as Nugget in City Lights’ production of Equus. This summer, Michael will be working with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and he will be pursuing an MFA in Acting at the California Institute of the Arts in the fall. Lance Fuller (Clerk /King Arthur [et al]) returns to the Pear for his fifth show this season after playing multiple roles in Angels in America, Our Town, No Good Deed, and Death of a Salesman. He does indeed have a fondness for this place. The challenges and joys of Yankee have been many, but he particularly enjoys the back to essentials of theatre aspects we have explored in creating the world. Creating characters, props, animals, and places in time from what's at hand over grand theatrical effect. It's invigorating. Lance has trained at A.C.T. By day he splits his time between being a photographer, a video shooter/editor/director, and Quality Assurance in the tech industry. Thanks the Pear and to the entire cast and crew of Yankee for being so amazingly supportive and creative. Troy Johnson (The Yankee) is delighted to be part of this fantastic ensemble, and very pleased to be under Rebecca’s direction again. His previous appearances onstage at the Pear have been in No Good Deed (Sean Kineen), Molly Sweeney (Frank), Tales of the Lost Formicans (Jerry), The Psychic Life of Savages (various roles), and Approaching Zanzibar (Randy/Scotty). Troy's recent appearances elsewhere include See How They Run (The Bishop) at Broadway West in Fremont, and Translations (Jimmy Jack) for Stanford Summer Theater. Troy would like to thank both Rebecca and Diane for their invaluable help, Sara for her patience with me, and as always, Troy thanks you for supporting live theatre. Becky M. Kemper (Innkeeper’s Wife /Morgan le Fay [et al]) is an actor, director, and scholar, who is currently the Director of Education Outreach at the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. She holds a BFA from NYU, an MLITT in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature and an MFA in Directing from the American Shakespeare Center. She has served as Producing Artistic Director of the Maryland Shakespeare Festival, an equity company she founded in 1999, Artistic Director of the Metawhateverphor Theater in NYC, Director of Education for Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, and Artistic Committee Chair for the Shakespeare Theater Association. She has
published and presented her research in Shakespeare’s rhetoric at across the country. Matthew Lai (Stable Hand / Sir Lancelot [et al]) appeared in On the Waterfront with San Jose Stage, Penelope’s Odyssey with Central Works, A Few Good Men with Hapgood Theatre, Witness for the Prosecution with Center REP, Incorruptible with California Conservatory Theatre, and Burn This with Dragon Theatre. Off-Broadway, Matt appeared in Friends with Pan Asian Repertory. Other New York credits include Pericles with Kings County Shakespeare, Judy Garland Slept Here with Curan Repertory and A Final Evening with the Illuminati with the Irish American Theatre Company. Matt also appeared alongside Gilbert Gottfried in several commercial bumpers for USA Networks Up All Night movie program. Matt studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Dekyi Rongé (Innkeeper’s Daughter / Sandy [et al]) is thrilled to be making her Pear Ave debut. Recently, she performed in The Lion in Winter with Role Players Ensemble and Anton in Show Business with TheatreFIRST. She holds a B.A. in Theater and Performance Studies from University of California at Berkeley. Steven Salzman (Innkeeper / Merlin [et al]) is thrilled is thrilled to make his debut at the Pear. He studied acting at American Repertory Theatre, with Will Lebow, acting Shakespeare with Guy Roberts. He holds a BA in Drama from University of Texas, and an MFA in Playwriting from San Francisco State. Favorite roles include Randy in Gemini, Demetrius in Midsummer, Lt. Ward in Annie, and Bud in Splendor in the Grass. His scripts have received numerous awards and have been performed in Texas, Illinois, and San Francisco, and at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. He is a member of the Dramatist Guild, Austin ScriptWorks, and Magic’s emerging artists’ lab. Rebecca J. Ennals (Director; Co-Adaptor; Sound Designer) is honored to direct her ninth show for the Pear Avenue Theatre. Past productions for the Pear include The Glass Menagerie, The Way of the World, Northanger Abbey, Arcadia, and The Psychic Life of Savages. Rebecca is the Artistic Director of Education Programs for the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. Bay Area credits include many productions for SF Shakes’ Shakespeare on Tour, Peninsula Youth Theatre, Los Altos Youth Theatre, Shakespeare at Stinson, California Conservatory Theatre, and others. Rebecca holds an MFA from U.C. Davis and a BA from Scripps College. As a playwright and poet, she has been a finalist for the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award and the Midwestern Playwrights Award and a recipient of the Crombie Allen Award for poetry. Many thanks to the cast and crew for
their incredibly hard work and dedication – it has been a joy to create with you. Much love to Adam, the best ship’s cook ever, for keeping us fed on our voyage. Michal Gavish (Set Designer; Scenic Painter) is a Bay Area visual artist represented by the Sandra Lee Gallery in San Francisco. She received her MFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, and she also has a Ph.D. in Chemistry. Her work has been shown nationally and in Europe and South America. Michal also lectures frequently on contemporary world art. Michael Sokolsky (Lighting Designer) is excited to be doing his third show at the Pear Avenue Theatre; he had designed last season’s Pear Slices and The Illusion. He has previously designed lighting for dance, concerts, and theater, mostly in Pittsburgh, PA. Sara Sparks (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be back at The Pear most recently (not) seen as the Stage Manager for Death of a Salesman earlier this season. Some of her other favorite productions include: Production Assistant and Light Board Operator for Every Christmas Story Ever Told, Assistant Lighting Designer for The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Spotlight Operator for Altar Boyz, and Light Board Operator for Always, Patsy Cline at San Jose Stage Company. Diane Tasca (Co-Adaptor; Producer) is Artistic Director of the Pear. She is very gratified to see this project come to fruition, sine her work on A Connecticut Yankee goes back decades to projects in graduate school and in the publishing industry. She thanks Rebecca for her commitment and creativity and is very grateful to the superb cast and company. As ever, love to Norm and John.
Donors to the Pear Root$ : $1000 +
Anonymous * Arts Council Silicon Valley * Evelyn Beamer Norman Beamer & Diane Tasca * The BootStrap Foundation The Carter Family Foundation * Catherine Garber Kathleen Hall & Leslie Murdock * Sharmon Hilfinger & Luis Trabb Pardo * Richard & Anita Inz * Roberta Morris & Phil Buchsbaum * Valerie Pagendarm * Mark & Theresa Rowland * Jan & Don Schmidek * Silicon Valley Community Foundation Abe & Marian Sofaer * Theatre Bay Area Lloyd Watts * Dr. Thomasyne Lightfoote Wilson
Branche$ : $200 - $999
Connie Allen & Doug Grieg * Beverley & Lee Altschuler * Anonymous Carol & Ray Bacchetti * Rhoda Bergen * Martin Billik * Robyn & Paul Braverman * Sandy Cademartori * Jean Colby * Jo Ellen Ellis Diane Ellsworth * Carol & Ken Emmons * Rebecca Ennals & Adam Wisnewski * Nancy Enzminger * Genevieve Firestone Tom & Charlene Giannetti * Sharon Graham * Kurt Gravenhorst Florence Howard * Barbara Ingram * Robin Jeffs * Margy Kahn Terry & Mauri Kearney * William & Peg Kenney * Ann Kuchins Coralia Kuchins * The Phil Kurjian Fund * Joan Little & Marty Ragno Elizabeth Lowenstein * The Lowney Family Fund Margaret Lynch * Rina & Tom Mandey * Elyce Melmon * Robert & Eloise Morgan * Carole & Edward Mullowney * Boaz & Aliza Porat Lindi Press * Jo Ann & Doug Rees * Ray & Katherine Renati Vivian Schatz * Martha Seaver * Edna & Dan Shochat John D. Stephens * Dana St. George & Gerry Gras * Patti & Wally Summers * Gloria Symon * Time-Warner, Inc * Mary Lou Torre * Onnolee & Orlin Trapp * Don & Sylvie Way * Mike Wilber
Pear$: $100 - $199
Creighton Asato * Anne & Greg Avis * Candice Basham * Roslyn & Arthur Bienenstock * Judith Bishop * Tom & Polly Bredt * Louise & Robert Burton * Ariel & Pat Calonne * Mary Carter & Mark Roberts Harve & Sandra Citrin * Joseph Colletti * Susan & Harry Dennis
Charlotte Dickson * Walt Doucett & Sally Hayse * Dave & Ruth Eakin Emily & Par Edsell * Kathy & Bruce Fitzgerald * Frank Friedlander * Victor & Beverly Fuchs * Bennett & Joan Gates * Dr. & Mrs. B.D. Gaynor Adrienne Gillespie * Lynn Gordon & David Simon * Martha & Bob Helselth Gabrielle Higgins & Bill Steinmetz * Charlotte Jacobs * Kevin & Melinda Johnson * Christina & Deepak Kamra * Pat Kapowich * Kay Mahon Terrence McCarthy * Mary & Thomas Nee * Ross & Cate Nelson * Jim & Barbara Newton * Laura Nuhn * Jill Oâ€™Nan * Judy Ousterhout * Natalie & Peter Panfili * Boaz Porat * Alex & Laura Praszker * Frances & Donald Ragno * Jennifer & Donald Ragno * Betty & Joe Renati * Tracy & Cynthia Rogers * Gary Rohloff *Antoinette & Dey Rose Susan Rosenberg * Bill & Sherrean Rundberg * Thomas & Noel Ryan * Elaine Sausotte & Michael Keys Hall * Amy Schenone * Rebecca Schenone * Norma Schleunes * Steve Schumann * Christina & Maurice Sciammas * Lewis Silver Laura Stefanski * Maggie Streets * Carol & Douglas Tanner David & Ondrea Tricaso * Lynne Weber * Robert Wenzlau & Julie Jomo Caryn Huberman Yacowitz
Blossom$: To $99
Josephine Abel * Marlene Anderson * Midori Aogaichi * Shawna Bateman Jane Benson * Mitchell Bolen * Gordon & Sharon Bower * Marina Brodskaya Mr. & Mrs. Frank Carney * Daryl Carr * Harold Chapman * Judy Chiasson Frank & Lorraine Collins * Dorothy Comstock * Caroline Cooper David & Anne-Ly Crump-Garay * Jean Cudlip * Nancy Davidson Allison Davis * Monica Devens * Bill Dodd * Joseph Durand * Deborah Dutton Doris Dyen * Nicole & Donald Ellis * Liz Elms * James & Dorothy Fadiman Oscar & Theda Firschein * Jewel Seehaus Fisher * Ronald Gentile * Jo Gilbert Adrienne Gillespie * Elaine Goldman * Dean Goodman Irene Grenier *Frances Hancock * Toni Heren * Byron Hubbel * Patricia Hughes Christy Jerkovich * Earl Karn * Siobhan Kenney * Lisa LaRocca * Ernest Lieberman Dena McFarland * Kathleen McGeary * Cheryl McNamara * Richard Medugno * Tekla & Eric Nee * Clare Novak * David Payne * Patricia Peterson * Susan Petit Jack & Susan Pines * Christine Wills Price * Toby Reitman * Lester Roberts Steven Rock * Diana Roome * Elaine Rossignol * Robert Rothrock Jean Scandlyn * Janine Schenone * Matt Schenone * Ray Schenone Gerry Schoennaueram * Allegra Seale * Julia Seiff * Barbara & Skip Shapiro Myrna Soper * Verna & Robert Spinrad * Nancy Ginsburg Stern * Burton Sukhov Kevin & Barbara Susco * Beverley Taylor * Elizabeth Truro & James Quinn Patricia Tyler & Ben Marks * Hava & Oskar Vierny * Sherry Waki * Kristin Walter Marilyn Walter * Lisa Wiseman * Vivie Zau * Irene Zubeck
Bill Kenney Remembered Bill Kenney, director, actor, longtime member of the Pear Steering Committee, and all-round gent of the first order passed away on May 4. Bill was a man of the theatre through and through. There are many ways to live a life in the theatre; Bill experienced them all--directing, acting, writing, teaching--and absolutely loved what he did. He directed seven shows at the Pear: We Had a Very Good Time, A Fair Country, The Skin of Our Teeth, Misalliance, Playboy of the Western World, Three Tall Women, and The Circle. It’s a magnificent seven, quite an honor roll--all polished, professional, carefully wrought productions of beloved, ambitious plays. Those of us who acted for or otherwise worked with Bill at the Pear counted ourselves very fortunate indeed. His keen intelligence, warmth, tact, and artistry brought great joy to all of his collaborators. I was also lucky enough to see Bill himself act—just once—stunningly, wittily, unforgettably in The Cherry Orchard, and I always regretted we could never persuade him to take a role in a Pear production (we kept asking, and he kept saying, ―Too many lines.‖) Bill was a member of the Pear Playwrights Guild, and his play ―Nobody’s Bench‖ was part of Pear Slices 2006. His work in other theatres includes directing and acting at Hillbarn, Stump-town Players, Palo Alto Players, Newport (R.I.) Players, and Cañada College. Among many other plays, he directed King Lear, Hamlet, My Fair Lady, and The Heiress, and played Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, Grandpa in You Can’t Take It with You, and Trigorin in The Seagull. Bill also taught English for a number of years at Cañada College. Bill always dedicated his work to his beautiful, charming wife Peg (she of the great, warm laugh--we could always tell when Peg was in the audience), whom he called ―his inspiration and love.‖ We miss you so much, Bill, and we thank you for the many gifts you brought to our lives -- Diane Tasca, May, 2011
NEXT UP AT THE PEAR
A RAISIN IN THE SUN by Lorraine Hansberry 6/24 – 7/10 A family claims their piece of the American Dream: a home of their own. The first play by an African-American woman to be produced on Broadway, this resilient, moving work breathes fire and radiates hope. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------