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Central Works opens its 30th Anniversary Season with THE HUMAN OUNCE by Nicole Parizeau  (Download PDF)

Central Works 30th Anniversary Season begins February 15 and runs through November 15, 2020 featuring 4 new world premieres plays. The Central Works 30th Anniversary Season launches with world premiere #66, from the Central Works Writers Workshop. A new play about art and scandal, The Human Ounce by Nicole Parizeau running Feb 15–Mar 15 (Previews Feb. 13 &14). In The Human Ounce by Nicole Parizeau, aspects of cancel culture from across the ages are explored in this new play about art and scandal.  A fine old painting on the gallery wall is holding pride of place in the museum. The painter? An old master in his own right, admired worldwide, historically important, and an inspiration to thousands. And revealed as a monster.

What now? The art is not the artist; should it pay for the sins of he who painted it?

Directed by Gary Graves; the ensemble cast of The Human Ounce features Champagne Hughes, Kimberly Ridgeway and Don Wood. The production has costume design by Tammy Berlin, lighting design by Gary Graves, prop design by Debbie Shelley and sound design and Gregory Scharpen.

Nicole Parizeau (playwright) has been writing and editing in the Bay Area since arriving from Montreal 30 years ago. She is a long-time member of the Central Works Writers Workshop, and has been a finalist for the Sky Cooper New Play Prize, runner-up for San Francisco Playground and the Disquiet Literary Award, and winner of the Bill Holm Witness Prize. Nicole’s work is also published by Earth in Focus Editions, University of California, and a number of literary and science journals. The Human Ounce is her first fully produced play.

Gary Graves (director) has been a resident playwright and company co-director at Central Works since 1998. He has been a part of developing 65 world premiere productions with the company, many of which he has either written and/or directed. Some of the other recent productions he has directed for the company include The Lady Matador’s Hotel, The Victorian Ladies Detective Collective, King of Cuba, Bamboozled, and Into the Beautiful North. He directed the company’s first collaboratively developed script, Roux, at the City Club in 1997. He teaches playwriting year-round at the Berkeley Rep School of Theater, and leads the Central Works Writers Workshop, an ongoing commissioning program that develops new works and offers a variety of playwriting classes.


Champagne Hughes (Jory) is a Bay Area Artivist, Actor, DJ, and Producer. A Theater Arts graduate from SJSU, her mission is to create social change within the statewide theater communities by constructing and integrating robust diversity initiatives in hopes of building a supportive working environment for all artists and administrators of color. Previous onstage work includes Othello and Macbeth at African American Shakespeare Company, Clybourne Park at Altarena Theater, Romeo and Juliet at Ubuntu Theater. Champagne has also held management roles for The Flight Deck, American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater and Beach Blanket Babylon. w

Kimberly Ridgeway (Biz) has over 70 acting, directing, writing and producing credits in film and theater. Some of her acting credits include Mrs. Muller, Doubt; Sam Stevens, The Gigolo Chronicles; Randa, Savannah Sipping Society; Bernice, The Piano Lesson; and Camae in The Mountaintop for which she won the 2016 BroadwayWorld San Francisco Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play (Local). Kim can be seen next in The Great Society at CCCT.

Don Wood (Dodge) joins Central Works for the second time, the first being Chekhov’s Ward 6. Just before this he was in An Invitation Out by Shualee Cook with Quantum Dragon Theatre Co. Next up: We Are Radios by Chana Porter, a Shotgun Players Champagne Staged Reading at Ashby Stage.  

Central Works

The Central Works Writers Workshop is an ongoing commissioning program established in 2012.  Twice a year, in 12-week sessions, 8 local playwrights are selected to develop projects through informal readings and carefully directed discussions.  Last season, both Cristina García’s The Lady Matador’s Hotel and Patricia Milton’s The Victorian Ladies Detective Collective emerged from this program, and two more Writers Workshop scripts are being produced this season.

Central Works Method plays bring together writer, actors and director at the very outset of the playwriting process. In a supportive workshop environment, group research and collective brainstorming contribute to the entire development of the script.  Playwrights that have worked in the Central Works Method have included Christopher Chen, Lauren Gunderson, Aaron Loeb, Patricia Milton, Geetha Reddy, Ann Galjour, and Brian Thorstenson to name a few. For more information, visit our website:

Central Works the Company: Company co-directors Jan Zvaifler and Gary Graves remain steadfast in their mission to develop and produce new works. “New plays are the lifeblood of the theater,” says Ms. Zvaifler. “We look at current events, politics, classic literature and traditional storytelling to bring our audience face to face with the challenges of our lives everyday, juxtaposed against the reflections of history, both recent and far-reaching. Given our current harrowing times, we all need an opportunity to pause, feel, think and act.” The special intimacy of the Central Works theater offers this in a truly unique package.For three decades now Central Works has filled a special niche for theater artists in the San Francisco Bay Area, producing more new plays by local playwrights than any other company in the region.  “The New Play Theater” utilizes three basic strategies:  some are products of the Central Works Method, some are developed in the Central Works Writers Workshop, and some come to the company fully developed.