A.C.T. Kicks off 50th Anniversary with Two Special Events

By Shannon Stockwell

Annette Bening and Mark Harelik in Dear Liar 2016. Photo by Stefan Cohen.
October has certainly gotten off to an exciting start at A.C.T.—you can really tell that our 50th anniversary is in full swing. In the span of two days, the Geary stage was graced by actors Annette Bening and Mark Harelik, playwright Tom Stoppard, and neuroscientist Linda Wilbrecht.

On Sunday, October 2, Bening and Harelik joined up for a staged reading of Dear Liar, Jerome Kilty’s witty two-person play based on the letters between playwright George Bernard Shaw and his muse, Mrs. Patrick Campbell. The two actors have a long history with A.C.T.: Bening graduated from the Advanced Training Program (precursor to the M.F.A. Program) in 1983, and Mark Harelik was a company member in the ’80s. A.C.T. was thrilled to welcome them back for this reading, directed by Nancy Carlin, which they performed with a strong sense of sass in a performance that was free and open to our donors.

A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff and Playwright Tom Stoppard.
The Geary was bustling the following evening, as well; in a free event open to the public, A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff was joined by UC Berkeley neuroscientist Linda Wilbrecht and playwright Tom Stoppard, author of The Hard Problem (which begins at The Geary on October 19). Any conversation between Stoppard and a scientist is bound to be fascinating; the discussion traveled from the playwright’s long history with A.C.T. to the idea of “hacking” the brain’s value system to the nature of consciousness. The audience was equally charmed by Stoppard’s humble intelligence and fascinated by Wilbrecht’s stories from the field. Now, Stoppard will join Perloff and the Hard Problem cast for the last few weeks of rehearsals.

We at A.C.T. want to express our sincerest gratitude to you, our audience, for coming to these events and for making our first two 50th-anniversary celebratory events a resounding success. We hope you’ll join us for more! For further information about upcoming special events, visit our website.

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