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ORIGINAL AUDIO DRAMA

Episode One of Aurora's World Premiere Audio Drama THE FLATS will be available on demand starting at 5 p.m. on October 23rd. Episodes Two and Three will be available at 5 p.m. on October 30th and November 6th respectively, and will be available online for the 2020 season

Top Bay Area playwrights Lauren Gunderson, Cleavon Smith, and Jonathan Spector team up to create an original audio drama for Aurora Theatre Company. Aurora Artistic Director Josh Costello directs actors Lauren English, Anthony Fusco, and Khary L. Moye in this new story that speaks directly to our present moment in all its complexity.

THE STORY

The residents of a Berkeley triplex are thrown together by a shelter-in-place order due to a mysterious threat. Brooke is a Black man navigating the white world of supposedly liberal Berkeley. Harmony is a white suburban mom away from her kids for the first time in years. Leonard is an aging hippie with a theory that might change everything. When the old system is thrown into chaos, how do we build a new world together?
Artistic Director Josh Costello invites you to listen to THE FLATS. Josh commissioned our three playwrights to respond to our current moment, using the audio drama format to tell a story we can share online while preserving the intimacy and nuance of the work on Aurora's stage.

AURORA CONNECTS SEASON 1: EPISODE 13

On June 12th Josh and Dawn were joined by Bay Area playwrights Lauren Gunderson, Cleavon Smith, and Jonathan Spector to discuss their new project, THE FLATS, a brand new Aurora commission with a story set in Berkeley and a theme that addresses this new world we’re building moving forward.

PLAYWRIGHTS

Lauren Gunderson

Lauren Gunderson has been one of the most produced playwrights in America since 2015 topping the list twice including 2019/20. She is a two-time winner of the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for I and You and The Book of Will, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s Residency with Marin Theatre Company. She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University, and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. She co-authored the Miss Bennet plays with Margot Melcon, and her play The Half-Life of Marie Curie is available on Audible.com. Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You; Exit Pursued By A Bear; The Taming and Toil And Trouble), Dramatists Play Service (The Revolutionists; The Book of Will; Silent Sky; Bauer, Natural Shocks, The Wickhams and Miss Bennet) and Samuel French (Emilie). Her picture book Dr Wonderful: Blast Off to the Moon is available from Two Lions/Amazon. LaurenGunderson.com

Jonathan Spector

Jonathan Spector’s play Eureka Day was commissioned by and premiered at Aurora Theater, and received all of the Bay Area’s new play awards: Glickman Award, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, Theatre Bay Area Award & Rella Lossy Award. It later had a sold out run in New York City with Colt Coeur, where it was New York Times “Critics’ Pick.” Other plays include This Much I Know (PlayPenn, New Harmony, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor), Good. Better. Best. Bested. (Custom Made Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival), What Comes Next (Portland Stage’s Little Festival of the Unexpected), Siesta Key (Bay Area Playwrights Festival) and In From The Cold (Just Theater, Aurora Theatre’s Global Age Prize). His work has also been developed and produced with Roundabout Theatre Company, South Coast Rep, Mosaic Theater, InterAct, Mugwumpin, San Francisco Playhouse, Crowded Fire, and Theatre of NOTE. He is a recipient of South Coast Rep’s Elizabeth George Commission, has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Resident Playwright at Playwrights Foundation, and is currently a Core Writer at The Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. Jonathan is also the Co-Artistic Director of Just Theater.

Cleavon Smith

Cleavon Smith is an award-winning playwright who has recently been recognized as a playwright to watch in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lives.  The upcoming premiere of The Flats is his first commissioned work with Aurora Theatre Company where he has been named a 2021 commissioned artist for Aurora’s Originate and Generate New Works Initiative. As Playwright in Residence at Berkeley’s reputable TheatreFIRST (T1) for the past three years, he has written and produced five new works.  T1’s production of his critically acclaimed full-length work, The Last Sermon of Sister Imani was nominated for a 2018 Theatre Bay Area (TBA) Best Production award, and his short play Just One Day was included in T1’s TBA Best Anthology award-winning production Between Us. Also premiering this fall is Affinity, a mini-series of short videos filmed via Zoom and produced by TheatreFIRST.   Additionally in 2020 Cleavon has had a multitude of short plays produced and/or read by theatres in Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. Cleavon teaches English at Berkeley City College and in the winter will be working on new commissions for the Aurora Theatre Company, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, and Oakland’s renowned Skyline High School Drama Department.
Looking forward,Cleavon Smith is an award-winning playwright who has recently been recognized as a playwright to watch in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lives.  The upcoming premiere of The Flats is his first commissioned work with Aurora Theatre Company where he has been named a 2021 commissioned artist for Aurora’s Originate and Generate New Works Initiative. As Playwright in Residence at Berkeley’s reputable TheatreFIRST (T1) for the past three years, he has written and produced five new works.  T1’s production of his critically acclaimed full-length work, The Last Sermon of Sister Imani was nominated for a 2018 Theatre Bay Area (TBA) Best Production award, and his short play Just One Day was included in T1’s TBA Best Anthology award-winning production Between Us. Also premiering this fall is Affinity, a mini-series of short videos filmed via Zoom and produced by TheatreFIRST.   Additionally in 2020 Cleavon has had a multitude of short plays produced and/or read by theatres in Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. Cleavon teaches English at Berkeley City College and in the winter will be working on new commissions for the Aurora Theatre Company, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, and Oakland’s renowned Skyline High School Drama Department.
Looking forward,

CAST

Lauren English (Harmony)

Lauren English (She/Her/Hers)  was most recently seen playing the title role in Gloria at A.C.T. directed by Eric Ting. Other elected local credits include: Cry It Out with Just Theatre, Nassim, The Baltimore Waltz and Why We Have a Body at The Magic Theatre, Henry IV & V, A Mid Summer Night’s Dream at Cal Shakes, Talley’s Folly at Aurora Theatre Company, Lasso of Truth at Marin Theatre Company.  She has worked extensively with San Francisco Playhouse where she is a founding company member and Artistic Associate. Favorite onstage SF Playhouse credits include: reasons to be pretty, Seminar, The Glory of Living and Our Town. In New York she worked with The Actors Company Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The Public Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, Lark Theatre and Playwrights Realm. Lauren holds an MFA from NYU’s Graduate Acting Program.

Anthony Fusco (Leonard)

Anthony Fusco (he/him) a professional actor since 1983, Anthony moved to San Francisco in 1999, and has been fortunate to be one of the Bay Area’s busiest actors ever since. He was a member of the “Core Company” at A.C.T. where he has appeared in more than 40 productions including A Christmas Carol (for 16 years) Love and Information, The Three Sisters, The Homecoming, November, At Home at The Zoo, Napoli!, and Hedda Gabler. Other local credits include: 14 productions at Cal Shakes, most recently Good Person of Szechwan; The Christians and Born Yesterday for SF Playhouse; Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike and The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures at Berkeley Rep, Marjorie Prime at Marin Theatre Company, and most recently They Promised Her The Moon at TheartreWorks Silicon Valley. Anthony’s New York credits include two shows on Broadway (The Real Thing, The Real Inspector Hound), as well as several off- and off-off- Broadway. He’s performed at many of America’s major regional theaters as well. He trained at The Juilliard School and with The Barrow Group. www.anthonyfusco.actor

Khary L. Moye (Brooke)

Khary L. Moye was last seen understudying the roles of Stretch, King and Woody for the production of Toni Stone at  A.C.T. Other Bay Area Credits include A Streetcar Named Desire with African American Shakespeare Company, Clybourne Park at Altarena Playhouse, and Six Degrees Of Separation at Custom Made Theatre. Film and Television credits include The Dave Chappelle Show and Sense 8. He is pleased to be making his debut with Aurora Theatre as well as his first Audio Drama! He is honored to be working with such esteemed playwrights Cleavon Smith, Jonathan Spector and Lauren Gunderson! Blessings to all during these trying times and thank you for supporting the arts!! Instagram: KharyLMoye

Rebecca Schweitzer (Officer/Voice)

Rebecca Schweitzer is thrilled to be back at the Aurora.  She has also appeared at Center Rep, SF Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, PCPA, Playhouse West. Favorite roles include Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, Bull in a China Shop, Rapture Blister Burn, Book Club Play, Tigers be Still, Coronado, The Story, the West Coast Premiere of Craig Lucas’s Small Tragedy, as well as the world premieres of The First Grade and Love.  Her voice can be heard on various video games (The Walking Dead, Back to the Future, World of Warcraft: Legion, League of Legends, Rift, SimsCity, CSI Hard Evidence, CSI Deadly Intent) TV and radio commercials, corporate videos, and reservation hotlines (CSAA, Disney). This, along with all endeavors, is dedicated to her mother and grandfather whose love and support have been the foundation for her success. 

Elton Bradman (Music and Sound Design)

Everett Elton Bradman’s recent composer/sound designer credits include UC Berkeley’s radio play Snowflakes, Or Rare White People; Shotgun Players’ Kill Move Paradise; Marin Theatre Company’s How I Learned What I Learned and The Who & The What; African-American Shakespeare Company’s productions of Black Eagles, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Richard III; ACT’s Medea and TiJean and His Brothers; Bay Area Children’s Theater’s production of A Year with Frog & Toad; Santa Cruz Shakespeare productions of Comedy of Errors and Pride & Prejudice; Faultline Theater Company’s Where the Boys Are; and Skeleton Crew at Geffen Playhouse.
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