Press Release – Talking Heads

Spare Stage, c/o Stephen Drewes
2201 Broderick Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Download the PDF here press_talkingHeads

Press Release


Talking Heads. Alan Bennett‘s brilliant monologues. Presented by Spare Stage. Directed by Stephen Drewes, with Susan Maeder, Annie Larson, and Laylah Muran de Assereto. Three weekends only, Opens at Royce Gallery Fri., March 11, 2016 at 8PM.
An award-winning series of solo pieces, classics of contemporary drama, hailed for their razor-sharp wit and deeply felt humanity.

“These extraordinary portraits of ordinary people confirm Alan Bennett‘s place as one of the most gifted, versatile, and important writers in the English language.”

“Few write sharper dialogue or probe more tellingly into the frailties and occasional strengths of the human psyche than Alan Bennett.” – William Trevor

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 28 2016. Spare Stage, the award-winning San Francisco theatre company, presents Alan Bennett’s brilliant monologues TALKING HEADS for three weekends, March 11-27, at The Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa Street, in San Francisco. The production features Susan Maeder (Bed Among the Lentils), Annie Larson (Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet), and Laylah Muran de Assereto (The Hand of God), and is directed by Stephen Drewes.

Alan Bennett is a renowned British essayist, storywriter, actor, and playwright (The Madness of King George, The History Boys, and The Habit of Art). His first great success was as a member and coauthor of the legendary satirical revue Beyond the Fringe. Over his long and illustrious career, he has won more than 35 distinguished honors, including the Tony, the Olivier, Drama Desk, and NYC Critics Circle Awards as well as numerous British Academy Awards. His screenplay for The Madness of King George was nominated for an Academy Award.

The film version of his famous memoir The Lady in the Van, starring Maggie Smith, will be released in 2016.

Written for film, TALKING HEADS was first produced for BBC Television in 1988, starring a roster of England’s best-known actors, including Penelope Wilton, Eileen Atkins, Maggie Smith, and the playwright himself. Selections of the monologues appeared on the West End stage in 1992, in Los Angeles in 2002, and in New York City in 2003. The Spare Stage production will be the first staging in the Bay Area.


STEPHEN DREWES (Director), a fifth-generation San Franciscan, accepted his first directing assignment in 1975 for The People’s Theatre in Cambridge, MA. He has since directed more than 85 productions in every genre from children’s theatre to grand opera. He has been a member of the faculty at Middlebury College, Boston University, and Colgate, and taught at CCSF for twenty years. He was Artistic Director of the Publick Theatre in Cambridge MA, where three of his productions won Boston Critics Awards for Direction. He was also resident stage Director for Pocket Opera. He co-founded Spare Stage in 2008, and won a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for his direction of The Unexpected Man in 2009.

SUSAN MAEDER (Susan in Bed Among the Lentils)  last appeared in the Bay Area alongside renowned veteran actor Ken Ruta in the revival of Spare Stage’s award-winning production of The Unexpected Man. Before that, she shared the stage in another Spare Stage two-hander, The Breath of Life. Over a thirty-year career, she has played queens (Gertrude in Hamlet and Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter), scholars (Vivian Bearing in Wit, and Ruth Steiner in Collected Stories) and nuns (Sister Aloysius in Doubt), and looks forward to adding a Vicar’s wife to her repertory this time around.

ANNIE LARSON (Miss Fozzard in Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet) has performed in the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally for more than 30 years. Favorite roles include those performed in Here(for Spare Stage), The Mariner, Speakeasy, Angels in America, Gypsy, Holes, Absolutely Fabulous, The Archbishop’s Ceiling, Hot Greeks, The Bride of Death, Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma, and Pearls Over Shanghai. Other credits: Up Your Ass (Off-Off Broadway), Mini Supreme, Iberia, and I’ll Be Seeing You (film). She has written and performed three shows for the San Francisco Fringe Festival, receiving Best Musical Comedy Awards, which include her solo piece, Flying Home. Annie began her career as a founding member of the “Over Our Heads” improv troupe, who recently celebrated 25 years together.

LAYLAH MURAN DE ASSERETO (Celia in The Hand of God) is a San Francisco area playwright, actor, director, and producer. From 2008-2014 she produced the annual short play festival “Sheherezade,” which received a TBA nomination for Outstanding Anthology. In 2015 she was one of the contributing playwrights to Wily West Production’s I Saw It. Her play Fortress Found was part of the 2015 SF Olympians Festival. Her short plays, Anonymous Me, Jain, and Cash For Capes were included in Wily West’s TBA Outstanding Anthology-nominated Superheroes. She has directed for Scheherazade, PCSFs Reading Series, Southern Railroad Theatre’s “I Do Declare” series, and “Repro Rights! Women @ Risk.”

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