Friday, December 11, 2009

Three Little Words.

Threshold is thrilled to announce it's second contribution to this year's Bay One Acts Festival,

Three Little Words;
Romeo and Juliet,
the Entire Play,
with Four Actors,
in Three-Word Sentences,
Which Can't Be Done.

by Tim Bauer
Directed by Alex Curtis

Produced by Threshold's new sister company Playpen (Theater), founded by core member Alex Curtis, Three Little Words is a production of the Bard's classic tale with a few changes. Three Little Words is a witty, theatrical send up of star-crossed lovers and the actors who play them.

With a full cast of talented, funny actors, Playpen is proud to welcome its new cast:
Nick Dickson,
Jasen Talise,
Megan Briggs,
and Dave Dyson

With two Threshold directors taking stage, casts including Threshold actors Cooper Carlson (Exchange), Brittany Berg (Within the Wall of Sand), and Brant Rhotnem (Ayravana Flies), and even two plays by Threshold talents Sam Leichter (actor: Exchange, Footprints in the Applesauce) and Ben Fisher (playwright: Exchange, Footprints in the Applesauce), BOA 2010 will be a Thresh-Stravaganza not to be missed!

See you there!!!

February 18-March 14, 2010
Boxcar Theatre, San Francisco

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Threshold Audition Notice: Terroristka!

Audition Notice

by Rebecca Bella
Directed by Jessica Holt

Berkeley City Club, Berkeley
Previews: April 30 - May 2, 2010
Opens: May 3 - May 16, 2010

December 16th, 2009
6 pm to 10 pm
Off-Market Theatre, 2nd Floor Rehearsal Room, 965 Mission St. San Francisco

Roles: 3 F (20s), 2M (20s), 1 M (40s), 1F (40s-50s)
Small Stipend.

For more information and audition appointment, please email:
Please attach your headshot and resume in the email.
Please prepare a 1-minute dramatic monologue. Sides will be provided in advance.

Rebecca Bella's searing poem-play contemplates a young woman's passage from youthful innocence to volatile patriotism. The story unravels from both ends; as it does we see how young people become entangled in violence, and how they enable the conflicts that destroy their own lives.

A deeply felt play, TERRORiSTKA is both a lament for the lost, and a lullaby for the future.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Catcher in the Rye (Cancelled)

Threshold is thrilled to announce its next project:

The Catcher in the Rye (Cancelled)
By Jon Brooks
Directed by Jessica Holt

Produced in association with Three Wise Monkeys at
The 9th Annual Bay One Acts Festival (BOA)
February - March 2010
Boxcar Theatre, San Francisco

A hilarious parody of the perils of copyright infringement, fair use and dramatic license. It has the Threshold team tickled.

We were first introduced to the quirky world-view of playwright Jon Brooks last year when BOA and Bindlestiff produced his riotous "Afterlife," which re-examined some of our most deepy cherished beliefs about what the afterlife might look like. In Brook's imagined afterlife, men give birth to men, a Birdman squawks intermittently, and little orange balls randomly pelt those newly birthed men. A piece of pure anarchy, Threshold couldn't stop laughing.

With "Catcher in the Rye" those big, jaw-dropping laughs continue, as a motley crew of copyrighted, trademarked and patented characters goads the playwright as he attempts to apologize to his audience for a show they will never see.

Join us for a raucous, ribald rumination on the price of intellectual property and the cost of artistic freedom.

See you at BOA at Boxcar in February 2010.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Threshold's New Logo!

Hello Theatre Fans!

Threshold is pleased to unveil it's BRAND spankin' new logo. Props to Thresholder Alex Curtis for his artistry here. We love our new symbol and hope you do!

We have some big things brewing for Threshold that will all be revealed in the near, near future. BIG things. Very cool.

In the meantime, we have a LOGO! yay!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


a threshold project

the world premiere of
(a play about an elephant)
by Ben Fisher
directed by Pamela Davis

Tabitha is a bearded lady studying to be a criminal psychologist.
Rollo is a clown who just wants to be taken seriously. And Dudley...

Well, Dudley's dead.

Please join us this Sunday morning, July 26th at the San Francisco Theater Festival for this short comedy about love, death, the circus, and how to properly dispose of an elephant corpse in these trying economic times. Starring Sam Leichter and Maggie McCally.

11:50 am, July 26, 2009
Action Theater
2nd Floor, Metreon
101 4th Street, SF

Admission is so, so, SO free.

Find more festival information, including directions and parking info, here.

--- BONUS ---
Make a day of it at the The San Francisco Theater Festival!


After Footprints in the Applesauce, head over to the Forum at 3:25pm for a Three Wise Monkeys comedy double feature, directed by our very own Jessica Holt. Maybe Tov, penned by Thresholder (and Footprints director) Pamela Davis, features our buddies Cooper Carlson (Exchange) and Joe Scheppers. Crish Barth's hilarious Save The Date shuffles the cards around again, as Pamela joins Cooper and Joe in the cast.

(For more information:

Or check out playwright Ben Fisher and see more of Footprints star Sam Leichter in Aristophanes' classic Greek comedy The Frogs, presented by AtmosTheatre at the Waterfall Stage.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Footprints: "A play about a dead elephant."

Recently, Threshold Company Member Jessica Holt had an electronic conversation with Ben Fisher, playwright of Threshold's next show, Footprints in the Applesause. We thought we would reproduce that conversation, unabridged:

Jessica: Hey Ben! I am looking for a little blurb on Footprints -- you got anything like that? What's a one-liner? Do you have anything else you would like to share with the Threshold blog about why you wrote this play?

Ben: "A play about a dead elephant."? Little uninspired, but factual. I think the title itself is figurative so the description should be a little more literal.

Jessica: That works.

Ben: As for why I wrote the play: I do not generally like to comment on the meaning of my plays – not because I want to be mysterious or self-important, but because I believe that the meaning of any piece of art is determined by the listener. I worry that, by commenting too much, I risk undermining that individualized connection.

I also don’t like to comment on my writing because I can never decipher why I write something until after it’s finished. You (Jessica) asked me to write a play about an elephant – so there’s an elephant in this one – but I also did what I always do, which is to write about what I am afraid of. I’m afraid of being so overcome by the weight of the past and the uncertainty of the future that I am paralyzed. I am also afraid that this paralysis will be hysterical to someone watching.

The play is about the comedy of that paralysis. Dudley, a majestic elephant, is dead before the play starts. Rollo and Tabitha, forced (literally) to pick up the pieces, use his memory and the circumstances of his death as cudgels to batter one another. But the play is not about the past. The wondrousness of Dudley and the circus is gone, or may have never existed. The relative dread or optimism about future is subjective. The characters – a man in clown makeup, a woman with a beard - look back and look forward simply because it’s easier than looking at the present. We find it tragic and funny (I hope), because we have all been made to look ridiculous at such a crossroad.

Jessica: This is awesome. Well-said!

Er, do you have a picture of yourself being, um, er, writerly? I am going to post this to the blog tomorrow. I will make it a "conversation" between you and me...

Ben: That's the closest I get to looking writery:

Ben Fisher being "writerly," .....or is it "writery?"

Jessica: I freakin' love it.

We hope you do too.

Come see Footprints in the Applesause Sunday July 26th at the Yerba Buena Gardens Action Theater at 11:50 am.

It will be tragically funny.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Footprints at the San Francisco Theater Festival!

Threshold will lay down new tracks this summer!

We are thrilled to debut the new short play Footprints in the Applesause by Ben Fisher at the San Francisco Theater Festival. The festival is a one-day theater extravaganza that will take place on Sunday July 26th at the Yerba Buena Gardens. We perform at 11:50 am at The Action Theater.

This is the second collaboration between Threshold and playwright Ben Fisher. We staged his wonderful and creepy morality tale Exchange this past winter at the 8th Annual Bay One Acts.

Threshold Core Company Member Pamela Davis will direct this darkly comic story about two carnival workers mourning the untimely and macabre death of their beloved trained circus elephant. The production features actors Sam Leichter as ""Rollo the Clown" and Maggie McCalley as "Tabitha," a bearded woman. Threshold audiences will remember Sam as the sinister train station "Clerk" in Exchange.

For more complete information about the San Francisco Theater Festival, and directions to the venue location, please visit:

See you at the theater!

Monday, March 30, 2009

TERRORiSTKA: Afterglow

The staged readings of TERRORiSTKA were a great success this past weekend!

Carla Pauli as "Zarema"

We are beyond ecstatic. We accomplished all that we set out to do: we know so much more about this play - what works and what doesn't, more about the historical situation in Chechnya-Russia, more about the staged reading process, and more about ourselves as independent producers!

We had wonderful, smart, inquisitive audiences on both Saturday and Sunday, and the feedback session on Saturday was one of the most informative, insightful talk-backs I have listened to in ages.

Unfortunately, we had to cut Sunday's session short, but in chatting with you at Cafe Royale after the event, we learned so much from what you all had to say. Thank you for continuing to send us emails with your thoughts!

To sum up, some words from Rebecca Bella, our TERRORiSTKA playwright extraordinaire (pictured below!)

It was all too fantastic!
My mind is full of rhyming lines.
And yet, the soaring aspirations!
And pursuing apparitions!

Thank you to our emerging community of artistic partners. We look forward to incorporating your thoughts into the text and eventual full staged performance of TERRORiSTSKA.

Until soon!

Judith Reuter as "Fatima" and Carla Pauli as "Zarema"

A Big Thank You to Kathy Wangh for capturing these great shots!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Terroristka Comes to Life!

Threshold has been in the rehearsal room all week listening to the world of TERRORiSTKA spring to life through the voices of the actors. We look forward to sharing this evocative world with you! See you at the theater.

Sat. March 28, 2009 at 2:00 PM
The Climate Theater
285 9th St. at Folsom
San Francisco

Sun., March 29, 2008 at 4:00 PM
The Shelton Theater
533 Sutter St. at Powell
San Francisco

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Workshopping Terroristka

We are deep into the Caucus mountains this week as we workshop the new play Terroristka by Rebecca Bella. We began rehearsals on Sunday in my drafty dining room of the old Berkeley house I live in. 6 actors, 1 playwright and me all squeezed around a table with scripts, and sliced bread with cheese, almonds, dried cherries, a bit of green to munch on (thanks Rebecca!). We put the coffee on and hunkered down to the work.

I chatted at the group for the first thirty minutes or so. Talking about what the process would be like this week (very fast!), how the play is structured (primary action barrels forward to the crucial moment with Zarema in front of the cafe, with secondary action always commenting/contexutalizing from that post-bomb future), what kind of play it is (poetic drama/expressionism - Lorca, Brecht, A. Kennedy!), and what that means for the way the world works (we are in Jailbird's interior world, she is recreating the events, the future and its verdict always looming over the present action).

Rebecca then spoke a little about the language. It's in verse, but its rhythms are so very American, informed by her own American-ness. We don't need to be too precious. I add in that these people use lots of metaphors and images, they are always speaking in code, and always know what the referent is. Lean into the language and have a rip-roaring good time.

And with that, we read the play. Danny, Pamela, Kyla, Carla, Garth, and Judy chomped into it, and the 90 minutes flew by. Who knew! It's a funny play too! Very serious, but these people need to laugh too.

We took a wee break - more coffee, a smoke, some pow-wows in the kitchen and the backyard porch. It's freezing. We turn on the heat.

We come back, and I show them a slide show of pictures from Chechnya, and the devastation wreaked on Grozny in the last 15 years. It's mind-blowing. It looks like something out of WWII. We can't believe this happend in the recent past. Here are some of the pictures we looked at:

We also took a look at a couple of YouTube videos with haunting pictures of the country, the people, and the material consequences of the two Chechen wars:

All very sobering. The cast has so much to contribute, their own relationship to these pictures, questions that I never thought of. We have a curious group of people assembled, and I am glad for it.

I showed the picture of Zarema. The Russians put their accused behind bars, not just in the prison, but in the courtroom too. That's where Zarema is.

This is the picture that started it all for Rebecca. Zarema's eyes leap out at us. Alternately a plaintive plea, a hollow stare, an open threat.

This week will be an education for us all and will light the way for where we want to go during our next phase.

As the cast filtered out of the house as the sun began to set, Rebecca and I were excited, anticipatory and exhausted. It was a good first day.

Can't wait to dig in tomorrow and learn more about this story.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Join us for our upcoming reading of TERRORiSTKA

a threshold project

a staged reading of
by Rebecca Bella
directed by Jessica Holt

Based on a true-life story, TERRORiSTKA tells the story of a young female suicide bomber from Chechnya who walked away from her bomb in front of a crowded
Russian cafe.

Rebecca Bella's searing poem-play contemplates a young woman's passage from youthful innocence to volatile patriotism. The story unravels from both ends; as it does we see how young people become entangled in violence, and how they enable the conflicts that destroy their own lives.

A deeply felt play, TERRORiSTKA is both a lament for the lost, and a lullaby for the future.

Join Threshold for two staged readings of this beautiful play.
There will be a talk-back after each reading.

2pm, March 28, 2009
Climate Theater,
285 9th Street, SF

4pm, March 29, 2009
The Shelton Theatre,
533 Sutter Street, SF

Suggested Donation $10

About the Artists:
Rebecca Bella is a poet, playwright and translator. She began writing this play in early 2004 when she discovered the image and testimony of a female Chechen suicide bomber in a Russian newspaper. At the time, she was working on a Fulbright Fellowship—a project in poetry translation—in St. Petersburg, Russia. The image of this young woman compelled Rebecca to research and write her story. The result is Terroristka.

Director Jessica Holt is a founding member of Threshold, and has directed for Threshold, UC Berkeley, Three Wise Monkeys, and SF Young Playwrights Festival, and assistant directed at TheatreWorks with Robert Kelley and at Shotgun Players with Mark Jackson. She is the new Artistic Director of the Three Wise Monkeys Theater Company, and holds a Master's degree in Theater and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley. Jessica is a member The Magic Theatre's Artist Lab.

Jessica and Rebecca met a year ago in a workshop class offered by Playwrights Foundation. A studio for directors and playwrights learning to work together in "staging the developing play," Rebecca and Jessica are delighted to be putting the theory into practice.

Poster Design by Melissa Fall

The World of Exchange

We have pictures from Exchange! Thanks to Mike Ricca for shooting, and to the cast for looking so bad-ass!


For more of the pictures from the show, and for a peek at the other shows we shared the staged with at The Eureka, go to:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No refunds on EXCHANGE

Threshold has been delighted with the warm response audiences have given to its most recent production: Exchange. Last night, after a week and a half hiatus, the Exchange cast was back on the stage at The Eureka, spinning their comic and chilling ghost-story of tale. Playwright Ben Fisher was in the house. It was a great audience, and we were thrilled with the turn-out. Thanks to Lucille, Linda, Catherine, John, Meg and Robert for showing Threshold some love.

The show has two more performances at The Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street at Battery in San Francisco: Saturday, March 7th at 8 pm, and Sunday March 8th at 2 pm.

You can buy your tickets at, or at the door. If you are a TBA member, a student or senior, come to the door to buy $12 rush tickets.

See you at the theatre!

Monday, February 23, 2009

"A quirky little piece"

Threshold has received its first review!

The Exchange team was given accolades by Contra Costa Times reviewer, Pat Craig.

The performances of the cast were described as "charming," Ben Fisher's writing is "quick and funny," and the play is the "most well-developed piece" of the evening.

Craig goes on to say that EXCHANGE is "one of those stories that keeps popping up in your thoughts for hours after the show is over."

See the entire review, here:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Exchange plays The Bay One-Acts.

EXCHANGE. A new short play written by Ben Fisher and directed by Jessica Holt.

One of nine new plays featured at the 8th Annual Bay One Acts at the Eureka Theatre in San Francisco.

A New York City Train Platform. Underground. It is the last night of November. It’s freezing outside, but sweltering in the station. Four, tired travelers are waiting for the last train of the day. Unbeknownst to them, they all share the same destination. The same fate. A fate decided through their actions.

Join Threshold for this comic and chilling contemporary allegory that forces us to ask: Is change possible?

Featuring Cooper Carlson, Tom Cokenias, Pamela Davis, Mallory Gross, and Sam Leichter.

Note: Performance days and times are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm. Sundays at 2pm.

The show runs from Feb 19 to Feb 22, and Mar 4, 7 and 8

Eureka Theatre, San Francisco - 215 Jackson (@ Battery) - S.F.

For Tickets, call (415) 776-7427 or Buy Online at

Tickets: $20 Thu, $22 Fri, Sat, Sun
Rush Discounts for Seniors, Students and TBA - $12. At door subject to availability

Buy a Festival Pass - Any two performances for $35

The Bay One Acts, is produced by Three Wise Monkeys, and is a theatre festival devoted to the cultivation of local playwrighting talent. Nine local producing companies get involved to give new plays full productions.

Companies include:
Three Wise Monkeys Theatre Company
Ragged Wing Ensemble
Cassandra's Call Productions
Bindlestiff Studios
Second Wind Productions
Asian American Theatre Company
Bella Union Theatre Company

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

About Us

Alex Curtis

Alex Curtis is an actor, director, improviser, and a founding member of Threshold. He originated the role of the well-meaning but materialistic tramp Milton in Within the Wall of Sand, directed by Jessica Holt for the SF Young Playwrights Festival, starred in a staged reading of the one-man show The Hunger Room, by Christopher Chen, and will appear as the Chechen separatist Rustan in Threshold's first full-length production, TERRORiSTKA by poet/playwright Rebecca Bella. Other notable Bay Area acting credits include the world premier of Yellowjackets at Berkeley Repertory Theater’s, written by Itamar Moses and directed by Tony Taccone, Twelfth Night at the Marin Shakespeare Festival, and Zombie Town: a documentary play at Sleepwalkers Theatre.

As a director, Alex recently staged his original adaptation The Dentist: A Tragic Commedia dell’Arte in One Act, at the University of California, Berkeley, as part of the Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies Department's workshop season. Next up, he will direct a short play entitled Three Little Words; Or, Romeo and Juliet, the Entire Play, with Four Actors, in Three Word Sentences, Which Can't Be Done by local playwright/theater blogger Tim Bauer for this year's annual Bay One Acts Festival.

Alex is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley where he completed simultaneous degrees in Business Administration, and Theater and Performance Studies. His thesis “Commedia dell’Arte: Training the Contemporary Actor” was completed in 2008 under the supervision of commedia scholar Mel Gordon. While there, he taught courses on improvisation and commedia dell'arte through the Berkeley DeCal Program. He is the recipient of the David and Diana Menn Prize for Outstanding Creative talent in the Performing Arts, and the Sara Huntsman Sturgess Memorial Prize for Outstanding Artistic Accomplishment.

Alex Curtis has also taught for the Main Shakespeare Company Young Company, where he taught both Shakespearean performance and improvisation.

In addition to Threshold, Alex is a member of the Un-Scripted Theater Company (voted Best Theater Company, 2008 by the SF Bay Guardian), where he improvises throughout the year.


Pamela Davis is a 2007 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and a founding member of Threshold. Under the Threshold banner, Pamela has appeared opposite Alex Curtis as Jane, the poor little hobo in Within the Wall of Sand, directed by Jessica Holt for the SF Young Playwrights Festival, and as the cutthroat day trader Vera Shapiro in Exchange, also directed by Jessica and produced at this year’s Bay One Acts festival. Other Bay Area acting credits include the children’s show The BFG at Berkeley Playhouse directed by Jon Tracy, ISHI: Last of the Yahi and Boston Marriage at Theatre Rhinoceros, Steven Yockey’s Sleepy at Impact Theatre, and Gary Graves’ Achilles and Patroklos at Central Works, as well as staged readings with the Playwrights’ Center, Boxcar Theater, Three Wise Monkeys, Playhouse West, the Oakland Public Theater, and Subterranean Shakespeare. Favorite roles as an undergraduate at Berkeley include Irina in Three Sisters and Malvolio in Twelfth Night.

Pamela is also a playwright and director. Her short play “Maybe Tov,” a mini-comedy, was read at Three Wise Monkey’s Short Leaps last year, and The Lost And Found, a meditation on faith and loss, was chosen as part of UC Berkeley’s Recommendations showcase in 2006. Pamela directed The Lost And Found and excerpts from The Swan at UC Berkeley. She has been awarded the Mask and Dagger Prize as well as the Mark Goodson Prize for Distinguished Theatrical Talent, and holds a minor in Theatre and Performance Studies from Berkeley. She has taken workshops in voice, movement, and stage combat at foolsFURY (with Deb√≥rah Eliezer) and Arroyo Repertory Theater (with Louis Roth), and is currently developing a physical performance piece as part of the CUSP workshop with Performers Under Stress.


Jessica Holt is the Artistic Director and founding member of Threshold. She holds a Masters degree in Theater and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley. She has directed the full production of TERRORiSTKA by Rebecca Bella, as well as the Threshold shows "Three Little Dumplings Go Bananas," “The Catcher in the Rye Cancelled” by Jon Brooks, “Exchange” by Ben Fisher, “The Hunger Room” by Christopher Chen, “Ayravana Flies, or A Pretty Dish” by Sheila Callaghan and “Within the Wall of Sand” by Benson Ma and Kalson Chan.

A Bay Area director and theatre teacher, she is also the Artistic Director of The Bay One Acts Festival. She is also a busy freelance director, and has directed for Magic Theatre, Boxcar Playhouse, Cutting Ball Theatre, Magic Theatre, Playwrights Center San Francisco, Ross Valley Players, Masquers Playhouse, New Conservatory Theatre Center, and UC Berkeley. Her 2011 production of “Loot” for the Masquers Playhouse received a BATCC nomination for Best Director and Best Ensemble.

Jessica is a member of the Magic Theatre Artists Lab and sits on Cutting Ball Theatre’s Literary Committeee. She currently teache Beginning Acting and Theatre Appreciation at West Valley College. She has also taught Acting and Theatre at UC Berkeley, Marin Theatre Company, Evergreen Valley College, Academy of Art University, the New Conservatory Theatre Center, and Stanford University.