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The Lion and the Fox opens February 22 at Central Works  (Download PDF)


Jan 14, 2014 – Niccolo Machiavelli and Cesare Borgia face off in Central Works prequel to its hit Machiavelli’s The Prince

Kicking off its 24th season, Central Works premieres The Lion and the Fox, written by Gary Graves and directed by Jan Zvaifler.  In this prequel to the company’s 2009 hit, Machiavelli’s The Prince, Machiavelli faces off against one of the greatest villains in history, Cesare Borgia.  What really happened between the author of the infamous “handbook for tyrants” and the ideal subject of the little book that changed the world?

The year is 1503.  Cesare Borgia is at the gates of Florence.  Only the humble diplomat, Niccolo Machiavelli, stands between the onslaught of the “Borgia Bull” and the jewel of Tuscany.  But the more Machiavelli learns about the tyrant, Cesare, the more he is impressed.  He seems gifted beyond all others; he has limitless wealth; he’s a brilliant military tactician, a magnificent warrior; he’s irresistibly handsome, utterly ruthless—and incredibly lucky. He even has the great Leonardo da Vinci in his service, as the “architect-engineer” of his magnificent war machine, which seems increasingly unstoppable.

But when Machiavelli learns of a plot against the life of Cesare, he must choose: will he be loyal to the sacred homeland of his birth, the Republic of Florence?  Or will he give in to his growing conviction that Cesare Borgia may indeed be “the Son of Fortune,” the one ordained by God Himself to be the “Savior of all Italy”— the ideal Prince?

Written by resident playwright, Gary Graves, and directed by Jan Zvaifler.  Featuring Benjamin Stowe and Lucas Hatton.  Sound design by Gregory Scharpen, costume design by Tammy Berlin, and stage management by Vanessa Ramos.

This spring, a world premiere from the Central Works Writers Workshop: The Crazed.  Based on the acclaimed novel by Ha Jin (winner of the National Book Award and two PEN/Faulkner awards), local playwright Sally Dawidoff details the life of a young scholar coming of age in Communist China on the eve of the Tiananmen Square massacre.  Featuring an all Asian-American cast, The Crazed will run May 17-June 22.

Continuing its mission to develop and produce new works for the theater, Central Works uses its own style of collaborative play development to bring artists together as partners in creative projects. The Lion and the Fox will be the Company’s 41st world premiere.


What: THE LION AND THE FOX: Niccolo Machiavelli and Cesare Borgia

Dates: Feb 22 – Mar 30 (previews Feb 20 & 21)

Shows: Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8 pm & Sunday at 5 pm Post-show talk-backs on Feb 23 & Mar 16.

Where: The Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley.

Who: A Central Works Method Play written by Gary Graves and directed by Jan Zvaifler.  Featuring Lucas Hatton and Benjamin Stowe.  Sound by Gregory Scharpen, costumes by Tammy Berlin and stage management by Vanessa Ramos

Tickets: $28 online at or $28 – $15 sliding scale at the door. Previews and Thursdays are pay-what-you-can at the door.

 Reservations/Info: 510.558.1381 or