2020-2021 Season


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BYSTANDERS an audio play
written by Patricia Milton
Produced in: 2020-2021

Listen to The Audio Play of Bystanders

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a new drama by the author of
The Victorian Ladies Detective Collective

From the Central Works Writers Workshop

In the wake of a tragic and senseless act of gun violence, two women strive to connect despite their grief and guilt. One is fed up with clichéd calls for “thoughts and prayers.” She has a secret, daring plan to put an end to the violence once and for all. But will her idea work … or might it create even more trauma? Inside a culture that’s inundated with news of everyday shootings, two citizens struggle to understand their duties as bystanders.

Here’s what folks are saying about the audio play:

“…enthralling, heart-breaking, thought-provoking, engaging. As usual for Central Works — so professionally done — the acting, the sound, the writing, the direction — top notch!!!” -PK

“Absolutely outstanding in every way!” -TW

“What a gut-wrenching, complicated piece.” -CK

“Bystanders is brilliant …enormously powerful and moving.” -MP

“Riveting and provocative and heart-pounding. The acting is marvelous.” -NP

“Bystanders was a very moving play.  It really struck a chord with me and was a visceral experience.  I was completely drawn into the play” -MB

“I ‘saw’ it all!” -LI

“It is very well written with intelligent, thoughtful and authentic positions and deep beliefs clearly presented” BS

“Thank you for sharing BYSTANDERS!” -TR




A note to our valued patrons:


Your health and safety are important to us!

Given the continuing pandemic, we have suspended all live performances until it is safe to gather again in our extremely intimate space. Thank you for your support and your interest in Central Works. We look forward to when we can see  you again at the theater!



Maria Marquis (Hannah) is a Bay Area based theatre and voiceover actor, as well as corporate trainer committed to making work less boring. She is the recipient of Theatre Bay Area’s Best Principal Actress award for her work in the world premiere production of The Awakening with Breadbox Theater, and she has appeared numerous times with Dragon Productions and City Lights Theater Company where she received a nomination for Best Principal Actress in The Merchant of Venice and Silent Sky. You can learn more about Maria at mariagmarquis.com, and find her audiobooks on Audible. Thank you for supporting theatre in the time of COVID!

Kimberly Ridgeway (Zayne) has been working professionally as an Actor, Director, Playwright and Producer in film and theater for over 20 years. Kimberly wrote, produced and directed the stage plays No More Secrets, Prospect Place, Heavy Burdens and The Gigolo Chronicles, and the short film The Confession. Kimberly has directed projects for Bay Area Drama Company, Dragon Productions Theatre Company, Ubuntu Theatre Project, Bay Area Performing Arts Collective, Playwrights Center of San Francisco and TheatreFirst. Some notable acting roles include Mrs. Muller, Doubt, Coretta Scott King/Fannie Lou Hamer, All the Way, Duchess, Wonderland (World Premiere), Biz, The Human Ounce (World Premiere) and Camae in Contra Costa Civic Theatre’s The Mountaintop for which she won the 2016 BroadwayWorld San Francisco Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play (Local).

Patricia Milton (playwright) is a Resident Playwright for Central Works and a long-term member of the Central Works Writers Workshop. Plays written for Central Works include: The Victorian Ladies’ Detective Collective (2019), Bamboozled (2018 Outstanding Production; Ensemble; Finalist, Outstanding World Premiere Play, TBA Awards), Hearts of Palm (2016), Enemies: Foreign and Domestic (2015), and Reduction in Force (2011). She is a recipient of the 2015 Outstanding World Premiere Play by Theatre Bay Area for Enemies: Foreign and Domestic. The Victorian Ladies’ Detective Collective was presented by the International House of Theatre outdoors in Copenhagen in July 2020. Her comedy Believers has enjoyed productions in Monterey and San Francisco, and played for three years in Istanbul, Turkey. Her drama about the death penalty, Without Mercy, was presented at the Newfoundland Women’s Work Festival and was produced in 2017 by Off Broadway West Theatre Company in San Francisco. Upcoming at New Conservatory Theatre is an audio version of her comedy The Law of Attraction, commissioned by NCTC. Ms. Milton has had more than one hundred productions and readings of her plays both locally and internationally, including at 3Girls Theatre, San Francisco Exploratorium, PlayGround SF, Woman’s Will, Women’s Theatre Project, Bay Area One Acts, and City Lights Theatre. She is Northern California Regional Rep for The Dramatists Guild, and produces a monthly podcast for the Central Works Script Club.

Gary Graves (director) has been a resident playwright and company co-director at Central Works since 1998. He has been a part of developing 67 world premiere productions with the company, many of which he has either written and/or directed. Some of the other productions he has directed for the company include The Lady Matador’s Hotel, Bamboozled, King of Cuba, Chekhov’s WARD 6, Into the Beautiful North and Machiavelli’s The Prince. He directed the company’s first collaboratively developed script, Roux, at the Berkeley City Club in 1997. He also leads the Central Works Writers Workshop, an ongoing development and commissioning program, and he teaches playwriting year-round at the Berkeley Rep School of Theater.

Gregory Scharpen (engineer/editor/audio designer) has designed for Central Works since the late 90s, and his work has appeared in productions by Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Shotgun Players, Theatre Rhino, TheatreFIRST, The Breadbox, and many others. His is also a documentary film editor (Have You Heard from Johannesburg; The Whistleblower of My Lai; and an upcoming feature about inventor/curmudgeon Don Buchla); and he helms numerous radio programs on KALX 90.7 fm. Under the moniker Thomas Carnacki, he concocts, records and performs experimental music that has garnered international acclaim. He is the recipient of a SF Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award (for Central Works’ Mesmeric Revelation), a Golden Eagle CINE Award (for Al Helm), and one of the very infrequently bestowed Jolly Trephination Awards for Total Textual Immersion.

Maria Marquis as Hannah

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Kimberly Ridgeway as Zayne

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Patricia Milton, playwright

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About the Audio Play:

“Brilliant. So many social and psychological issues dealt with, with great dramatic tension. It worked perfectly as a radio play…” -J. Motz, KWMR

Listen to the interview and excerpt on KALW:

Begin at 18:00 or listen first to the interview with CW alum, Lauren Gunderson


Watch the trailer:

Learn more about Patricia Milton and her work here.

Here are some links to links to anti-gun violence (local and BIPOC-led) organizations:

  • The Robby Poblete Foundation: Facilitates community gun buybacks, and the melted-down weapons are used by sculptors to create art.  http://robbypobletefoundation.org/about/
  • CeaseFire/Live Free Oakland: Community organization that has worked to reduce gun violence in Oakland by half. The organizations fight to end mass incarceration, stop gun violence, and build economic dignity for the hard to employ. https://www.oaklandcommunity.org/causes/livefree/
  • Lead to Life: An Oakland-rooted (occupied Ohlone territory) & trans-local collective led by black and queer artists, healers & ecologist, it melts down guns into shovels to plant trees, among other works of resistance to violence. https://www.leadtolife.org/