2016 Season

Hearts of Palm

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Written by Patricia Milton
Directed by Gary Graves
Produced in: 2016

Extended through August 21:
Extra performances on 8/18, 19, & 20 at 8pm and 8/21 at 5pm!
We are fully reserved for the rest of the run; call 510.558.1381 for information about the waiting list.

World premiere #52: from the Central Works Writers Workshop

A very serious very funny new play from the writer of last season’s award-winning hit, Enemies: Foreign and Domestic.

Did you know that palm oil can be found in more than half of all processed goods worldwide?

A small Southeast Asian island is invaded visited by a gang of land grabbers a team of corporate negotiators intent on expanding a palm oil plantation. When a company rep goes rogue and joins the local rebel resistance, Viola Wells takes charge as Lead Negotiator. While fending off the unwanted advances of a corporate teammate, “Vi” must come to terms with the true nature of her employer: multi-national conglomerate, Empire Holdings, Ltd.

Unrequited love meets unregulated capitalism in Hearts of Palm.


Production Sponsor: Erica Nietfeld
Production Sponsors:
Linda & Will Schieber

This production is also made possible with the generous support of the Actors Equity Foundation, City of Berkeley Civic Arts Grants Program, RHE Foundation, and Wilder Green Art Fund.

This play is available for licensing! Please contact us for details.

Political/Romantic comedy, 4W/1M

Frieda de Lackner
John Patrick Moore*
Erin Mei-Ling Stuart
Michelle Talgarow
Jan Zvaifler

Costume design: Tammy Berlin
Lighting design: Gary Graves
Prop design: Debbie Shelley
Sound design: Gregory Scharpen
Stage manager: Vanessa Ramos

*member AEA


Patricia Milton’s plays include Enemies: Foreign and Domestic (Central Works, “Outstanding World Premiere Play,” TBA Awards) and Reduction in Force (Central Works; 2011 BroadwayWorld Award for “Best Local Play”); Believers, which was produced recently in Istanbul, Turkey; and Solving Sunflowers, a winner at the Eudora Welty New Play Festival and EMCT New Mexico play competition. 3Girls Theatre recently premiered Moments of Truth, her musical co-written with Caroline Altman. She is co-author with Andrew Black of It’s Murder, Mary! (New Conservatory Theatre Center), and two other plays. She is proud to be resident playwright at Central Works. patricia-milton.com.


Empire Holdings negotiator, Viola Wells (Freida
de Lackner), wants to make a “clean deal,” and she
will stop at nothing to get it in Central Works’
production, Hearts of Palm by Patricia Milton.

Photo by J. Norrena

Strap (John Patrick Moore*, r), is carrying a torch for
his colleague, “Vi” (Frieda de Lackner, l), and hopes she
will have a change of heart in Hearts of Palm by Patricia Milton.

Photo by J. Norrena

The Empire team must negotiate with the Marititu
governement official, Ni Bethu (Michelle Talgarow) –
does she have something up her sleeve?

Photo by J. Norrena

*member AEA

All photos: ACT OUT Photography by Jim Norrena

When Empire Holdings negotiator, Brittany Matal
(Erin Mei-Ling Stuart) goes rogue and joins the
“Marititu Rebel Militia,” negotiations get tough
and the stakes get high.

Photo by J. Norrena

“Milton leaves no would-be white savior unquestioned — or unscathed.” – L. Janiak, SFGate

Kim Cohen of Theatre Bay Area calls Hearts of Palm “a must see show!”

“Hearts of Palm is a winner!” -T. Grove, The Urban Hiker

“…there’s a sinister sweet spot between the darkly comic and the genuinely frightening” -A. Brinklow, Edge Media

“[A] wildly funny satire…surprisinly sophisticated nevertheless.” -C. Kruger, The Rumpus

“…engaging, well-performed by the cast and solidly directed…And if it inspires anyone in the audience to pay more attention to domestic companies’ shady practices abroad, so much the better.” S. Hurwitt, SJ Mercury News

“Patricia Milton’s world premiere melds sharp political insights with comic personal exposure…A touch of soap opera, a lot of political satire, and a dash of silly romantic comedy” -B. Horwitz, Theatrius

Read how the Girl Scouts took on Kellog to make their cookies with only deforestation-free palm oil – and won!

More fascinating information about the Palm Oil industry on Patricia Milton’s Tumblr page

Want to learn more?  Further resources for information about palm oil:
Survival International
Friends of the Earth

Deforestation Free Funds

Rainforest Action Network