June 8, 2011 Volume 7, Issue 16
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In this issue:

Announcing our 2011 - 2012 Season

A message from Rob Melrose, Artistic Director:

I couldn't be more enthusiastic about our upcoming season. My new translation of Pelleas and Melisande will feature original music by Cliff Caruthers, choreography by Laura Arrington, and the theater will be transformed into one giant video installation for the production. Directors Paige Rogers and Annie Paladino and choreographer Laura Arrington have been working with our resident playwright Eugenie Chan and a company of actor/singer/dancers on an ensemble-based theater piece called Tontlawald, inspired by their work with the acclaimed Polish theater company Teatr ZAR. Documentary theater-maker Annie Elias moves us from the realm of fantasy to reality, working with a company of actors on a piece about the people and places of the Tenderloin, a play about Cutting Ball's neighborhood that I am thrilled to have commissioned.

We are also devoting much of our Hidden Classics series and RISK IS THIS... to the celebration of August Strindberg's centennial; I am so grateful to the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation for their generous grant which allows us to spend a dedicated amount of time on this profoundly important artist. Our work on Strindberg will culminate in a full production of all five of his Chamber Plays in the following season. Meanwhile, this season, Hidden Classics and RISK IS THIS... will allow our audience to become more familiar with all aspects of his work. In addition to Paul Walsh's Strindberg translations, we will hold staged readings of new works from playwrights Anthony Clarvoe and Christopher Chen. This will indeed be a very full and a very exciting season!


By Maurice Maeterlinck
in a new translation by Rob Melrose
Directed by Rob Melrose
Original music by Cliff Caruthers
Choreography by Laura Arrington
October 21 - November 27, 2011

Cutting Ball Theater opens its 12th season with Maeterlinck's seminal avant-garde play PELLEAS AND MELISANDE, in a new translation by Cutting Ball Artistic Director Rob Melrose. In this mysterious fairytale of a play, which inspired musical works by Claude Debussy, Arnold Schoenberg, Gabriel Faure, and Jean Sibelius, a beautiful young woman is found in the woods by a hunter who also happens to be a prince. He takes her to his castle and marries her, but the honeymoon ends when she falls in love with his younger brother. When the love triangle explodes, she wants to return to her own world, but can she?


(World Premiere, Cutting Ball Commission)
By Eugenie Chan
Directed by Paige Rogers and Annie Paladino
Choreography by Laura Arrington
February 17 - March 11, 2012

Cutting Ball Theater continues its 12th season with the World Premiere of TONTLAWALD. This original ensemble-based piece weaves evocative a capella harmonies and visceral movement into a multilayered retelling of an ancient Estonian tale. Part concert, part dance, part fairytale, and inspired by the work of Poland's famed Teatr ZAR, TONTLAWALD follows a mistreated girl who flees her tormentors and unexpectedly finds a safe home in the mysterious, forbidden Tontlawald - the ghost forest. Written by Cutting Ball's resident playwright Eugenie Chan and directed by Associate Artistic Director Paige Rogers and Annie Paladino, with choreography by Laura Arrington, TONTLAWALD was workshopped during Cutting Ball's 2011 RISK IS THIS... festival.


(World Premiere, Cutting Ball Commission)
Written by Annie Elias with Tristan Cunningham, Siobhan Doherty, Rebecca Frank, Michael Kelly, Leigh Shaw, David Sinaiko, and David Westley Skillman
Directed by Annie Elias
April 27 - May 27, 2012

Annie Elias brings her years of experience in documentary theater to Cutting Ball with the World Premiere of TENDERLOIN, an unforgettable piece about the people and places in Cutting Ball Theater's neighborhood. Using transcripts of interviews conducted by Elias and her group of actors, TENDERLOIN strives not only to bring Cutting Ball fully into its community, but literally brings the neighborhood into the theater. Seven actors portray the subjects they interview, creating living portraits from which a portrait of the Tenderloin itself emerges. A powerful and confirming experience, TENDERLOIN honors the essence of the Tenderloin through the stories of the everyday people that make up this historic downtown San Francisco district.


June 8 - July 14, 2012

Risk is This...The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival is one of the only play festivals in America solely dedicated to experimental works for the stage. This year's festival features two new works and five new translations in staged readings that push the boundaries of what theater can be.

By Christopher Chen
June 8 - 9, 2012

By Anthony Clarvoe
June 15 - 16, 2012

Risk Translations

Workshops of August Strindberg's Chamber Plays in new translations by Paul Walsh

June 29 - 30, 2012

July 6 - 7, 2012

July 13 - 14, 2012



This season, Cutting Ball's Hidden Classics Reading Series explores and celebrates the work of August Strindberg. The series offers a profound look at one of the greatest authors ever to write for the stage in a program that continues to be one of San Francisco's best-kept secrets.

By Friedrich Dürrenmatt
November 6, 2011, 1pm

By Tennessee Williams
December 4, 2011, 1pm

Strindberg Centennial:

By August Strindberg
Seminar: Two Radical Visions of Theater
January 29, 2012, 3pm (Swedish dinner between shows)

By August Strindberg
Seminar: Strindberg and Painting
April 8, 2012, 1pm

By August Strindberg
Seminar: Strindberg and the Occult
May 6, 2012, 1pm

By August Strindberg
Seminar: Strindberg and Expressionism
May 20, 2012, 1pm

Next up in RISK IS THIS: Ozma of Oz and Tenderloin

There are only two more plays left in RISK IS THIS... The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival! Don't miss Rob Melrose and Z.O.N.K.'s new trip-hop musical or Annie Elias' documentary play about Cutting Ball's neighborhood.

RISK IS THIS... is one of the only play festivals in America solely dedicated to experimental works for the stage. This year's festival features five staged readings of new plays that push the boundaries of what theater can be.

All performances are FREE and open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. Seats are reserved by $20 donation; or donate $50 for a five-play reserved seating festival pass.


Cutting Ball Commission
Adapted from the novel by L. Frank Baum
Rob Melrose (book and lyrics)
Z.O.N.K. (music)
Directed by Rob Melrose
June 10-11, 2011
Friday and Saturday at 8pm at The Cutting Ball Theater in residence at EXIT on Taylor.


Cutting Ball Artistic director Rob Melrose collaborates with the San Francisco-based electro-rock group Z.O.N.K. to create Cutting Ball's first musical, a trip-hop fantasy that captures L. Frank Baum's American breed of surrealism with a hint of the post-modern. In Ozma of Oz, Dorothy is transported to the land of Ev with a talking chicken named Billina. Together, they plot to overthrow the evil Nome King, but they cannot succeed with out the help of a mysterious princess. This reading will feature live musical performances by Z.O.N.K. and the cast.



TenderLoinCutting Ball Commission
By Annie Elias
Directed by Annie Elias
June 24 & 25, 2011
Friday and Saturday at 8pm at The Cutting Ball Theater in residence at EXIT on Taylor.

Click here to make a reservation.

Annie Elias brings her years of experience in documentary theater to the Tenderloin, creating an unforgettable piece about the people and places in Cutting Ball's neighborhood.

Hidden Classics Reading Series: The Insect Play

Enjoy a cup of coffee and a cookie while hearing a rarely produced classic in an intimate and up close setting. Each reading is followed by a talk-back with the director and cast.

InsectPlayThe Insect Play
By Josef and Karel Capek
Directed by Bennett Fisher
June 12, 2011
Sunday at 1pm
at EXIT on Taylor
277 Taylor Street, San Francisco

One of the last plays from renowned Czech dramatist Karel Capek and his brother Josef, THE INSECT PLAY constructs an impish satire of human relationships, using butterflies and beetles to explore human vices.

No Risk... No Reward

Without risk there can be no reward. We take this old adage quite seriously at The Cutting Ball Theater. For over a decade of producing new plays and reimagined classics, our greatest rewards have come from taking significant risks. By joining us at the theater this season, you have played an important role in our success to date by taking a risk and supporting our work; thank you!

We hope that you will continue your commitment to risk taking work at Cutting Ball by supporting RISK IS THIS... We rely on donations to make up the difference between our ticket prices and the full cost of our work. Please consider making a tax-deductible gift of $25, $100, or $500 - any amount goes a long way. As an added incentive to make your gift now, a generous Cutting Ball board member has offered to match all contributions up to $75,000, by June 30.

You can make your gift online now at

Unlike other financial risks, the rewards of making a contribution to are easily measured.

$100 Provides a workshop stipend to one actor
$250 Sponsors one director for a staged reading
$500 Flies a playwright out to San Francisco
$1000 Pays for a demo recording of our new electro-rock musical Ozma of Oz
$5000 Commissions a new play


Thank you in advance for your generous gift!


More Great Bay Area Theater!

If you're enjoying RISK IS THIS...


Join Playwrights Foundation for the 34th annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival, as emerging playwrights from around the world work with a local team of directors, dramaturgs and actors to develop and shape their new plays!

This year's festival features seven new plays in two weeks, with work by Clarence Coo, Dan Dietz, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Lauren Gunderson, Amelia Roper, Chinaka Hodge, and Kate E. Ryan.

Click here for more information.

In addition to readings, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival includes the New Play Institute, talk-backs, a Playwrights Panel, and other special events.


By William Shakespeare
Directed by Joel Sass
June 1-26

For the first time in its 38-year history, Cal Shakes presents Titus Andronicus, the young Shakespeare's virtuosic spin on the revenge tragedies popular in his day, with James Carpenter in the title role.

Friends of Cutting Ball get $10 off the adult ticket price for select performances; use the promo code "GOTH" when ordering online or by phone. (Not valid in conjunction with other discounts.)

Please note: This play contains graphic violence and is recommended for mature audiences only.

More info and tickets here