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Central Works Season 28 continues with Gary Graves comic thriller, PALACE WRECKERS  (Download PDF)

Central Works 28th Season of New Work Continues With Palace Wreckers, written & directed by Gary Graves
New Comedy – with a vengeance!

May 12 – June 10 (previews May 10 & 11) at the Berkeley City Club

Central Works 2018 season’s spring production Palace Wreckers written and directed by Gary Graves, plays May 12 – June 10. A “comic thriller,” this Central Works Method play was described by the press at its opening as a journey where the “road to happiness is paved with laughter” and “the actors play everything in deadly earnest, with outsized emotions.” Based on a Greek tragedy and turned into a contemporary comedy with the Central Works Method which brings 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.

Palace Wreckers, Central Works 59th world premiere, is a “comic thriller.” Based on the Oresteia by Aeschylus, the play that Hamlet echoes, in a way—but funny. An old house, once a stately mansion, stands out in the high deserts of Nevada. The old place is surrounded by a huge junkyard, a family owned auto-wrecking yard called Palace Wreckers. Oresteez, a prodigal son of sorts, returns home with his sister, Elektra. Their father has died, and the two estranged siblings want to reunite with their bereft mother. But there’s a new man in the house. And Elektra soon begins to suspect it was foul play that put her beloved father in the grave. Elektra wants revenge! What’s our prodigal son to do?  Palace Wreckers features a cast that includes John Patrick Moore (member AEA), Regina Morones, Khary Moye and Jan Zvaifler. The production has stage management by Vanessa Ramos, costumes by Tammy Berlin, sound by Gregory Scharpen, and props by Debbie Shelley.

“We place a premium on comedy at Central Works. We know our audience craves comedy. Who wouldn’t with things as they are these days?” says playwright and company Co-director, Graves. “We had a successful experience with last year’s Edward King, a comedy based on Sophocles’ masterpiece, Oedipus Rex, recasting the story in contemporary terms and finding the comedy in the horrific implications of that story. So I went back to the Greeks in an effort to follow-up that effort with an inquiry into another one of the oldest plays in the Western tradition, Aeschylus’ Oresteia, the story of Orestes, and the awful cycle of revenge killings that play tells within a very troubled family. It’s ‘revenge comedy,’ or maybe more of a ‘comic thriller.’ That seemed right up our alley at Central Works.”

Gary Graves (playwright/director) has been a resident playwright and company co-director at Central Works since 1998. He has been a part of developing 58 world premiere productions with the company, many of which he has either written and/or directed. Some of the other productions he has both written and directed for the company include Edward King, Machiavelli’s The Prince, An Anonymous Story by Anton Chekhov, Lola Montez, Enemy Combatant, The Mysterious Mr. Looney, Misanthrope, Mata Hari, and Pyrate Story.  He directed the company’s first collaboratively developed script, Roux, at the City Club in 1997. He also leads the Central Works Playwriting Program, and he teaches playwriting regularly at the Berkeley Rep School of Theater.

John Patrick Moore* (actor) is thrilled to be involved with Palace Wreckers. As an Artistic Associate with Central Works, he has directed or acted in over 14 world premieres including: Edward King, Winter, Hearts of Palm, Project Ahab, The Red Virgin, Richard the First, Reduction in Force, Midsummer/4, Shadow Crossing & The Duel. John’s NY credits include: Emma the Musical (NYMF), Edward III (Hope Theatre), Richard II and As You Like It (Expanded Art’s Free Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot). In the Bay Area, he has worked with Marin Theatre Company, The Magic Theatre, 42nd Street Moon, CenterRep, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Alter Theater and SF Playground. Member of Equity.

Regina Morones (actor) is a native Bay Area actor, singer, teaching artist, a member of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Resident Artist Company and a company member at Ubuntu Theater Project. She is thrilled to be back at Central Works Theatre Company as Elektra in Palace Wreckers Inc. Most recently she was seen as Lucy in Central Works’ Method play Strange Ladies. Morones has a BA in Theatre Arts from Clark Atlanta University and an MFA in Acting from the University of Iowa.

Khary L. Moye (actor) started performing Off-Broadway in New York City, before moving to the West Coast. Since then he has worked with multiple theater companies in the area. Some recent projects are HeLa ( TheatreFirst), Zenith ( SF Playhouse Sandbox Series)  A Civil War Christmas (Town Hall Theater) and most recently, A Streetcar Named Desire (African American Shakespeare Company).

Jan Zvaifler (actor) is Co-director of Central Works along with Gary Graves. A founding member of the company, she has participated as an actor, designer, director and/or producer for the past 27 seasons. Most recently for Central Works, she performed in Edward King and Hearts Of Palm and directed Strange Ladies and RLS: Jekyll and Hyde. She has also worked with many local theater companies including the Berkeley Rep, Berkeley Shakespeare Festival, Marin Theater Company, San Francisco Playwrights Foundation, and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.

For over 27 years 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 developed in the Central Works Writers Workshop, some are products of the Central Works Method, and some come to the company fully developed.

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.

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. For more information, visit our website:

Central Works is also a member of the National New Play Network (NNPN), and has participated in two Rolling World Premieres over the past two seasons.