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A Particle of Dread

by Sam Shepard
Directed by Robert Estes
Oct 18 to Nov 10, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Friday & Saturday at 7:30 PM
Sunday at 7 PM

A Co-production with Anton’s Well Theatre Company. Performed at  Old Finnish Hall, 1810 10th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710.

Anton's Well Theater Company and Actors Ensemble of Berkeley are happy to announce auditions for their co-production of the Bay Area Premiere of Sam Shepard’s last play, A PARTICLE OF DREAD: OEDIPUS VARIATIONS, playing at the Old Finnish Hall in Berkeley from October 18-November 10. Directed by Robert Estes. Produced by Jerome Solberg. Assistant Directed and Associate Produced by Rick Razo. Costumes by Paula Dodd Aiello.

In A PARTICLE OF DREAD’s fractured retelling of the Oedipus myth, Sam Shepard takes on the greatest primal father/son/mother myth of them all—which is a perfect last subject for a playwright so concerned with family dynamics throughout his prolific career.


In A Particle of Dread, Sam Shepard takes one of the most famous plays in history—Oedipus Rex—and transforms it into a modern American classic. In this telling, Oedipus, King of Thebes, prophesized to kill his father and marry his mother, alternates between his classical identity and that of contemporary “Otto.” His wife (and true mother), Jocasta, is also called Jocelyn, and his antagonist (and true father) is split into three characters, Laius, Larry, and Langos. Two present-day policemen from the Southwest stand in for the Greek chorus as they investigate the murder case. Dazzlingly inventive, ringing with the timelessness of myth, A Particle of Dread is an unforgettable work that grapples with questions of storytelling and destiny—the narratives that we pass down, and how they shape our lives. It is a play that lingers in the mind long after we finish the last scene.

“Compelling. . . . Filter[s] the Greek myth through the unsettling, maverick mind of Shepard’s open-road Southwest.” —Newsday

“Pure Shepard. . . . A noir thriller with touches of Grand Guignol gore and a sprinkling of surreal humor.” —The New York Post  

“Steeped in blood and horror and passion. . . . There are poetic passages that can chill and excite.” —The Huffington Post

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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