Transcend Cast

Transcend Cast

Meet the Cast of How to Transcend a Happy Marriage


Fenner (PIP) is an actor, director and producer living in West Oakland. Trained in ensemble devising processes, clown, Suzuki and ancient Japanese theater, past collaborators have been Theater of Yugen, FoolsFury, Ragged Wing Ensemble and Naked Empire Bouffon. Producing credits include ‘Desire Caught by the Tail’ by Pablo Picasso, and most recently the collaboratively written piece ‘The Boy Who Cried Naked’. Around and in between and sometimes with theater they are also an adventure cyclist, musician and casual host with the most. Fenner is thrilled to be working with Custom Made Theater Co. for the first time! 

Hilary Hesse

Hilary Hesse (JANE) is excited to be performing again at Custom Made, where she played Stevie last season in Edward Albee’s “The Goat,” for which she won a BATCC Award. Previously she played Blanche in “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Shelton Theater, for which she received a nomination for a TBA Award. Hilary continues to do film, theater and the occasional musical. Favorite roles include Crystal in “The Women” and Serenity in “Lovesick: The Cat Allergy Musical.”

Celeste Kamiya

Celeste Kamiya (JENNA) is a theatre artist from San Francisco. She earned her degree in theater from The New School in New York City, and studied acting with Fiona Shaw, Derek Jacoby, and Pippa Nixon for a year at the British American Drama Academy in London. Her recent Bay Area credits include Macbeth on tour with San Francisco Shakespeare Festival (Lady Macbeth/Witch 1), Allegiance at Contra Costa Civic Theatre, and Next to Normal with YMTC+ (Natalie). Also a stage manager and teaching artist, Celeste has worked with Ubuntu Theatre Project, West Edge Opera, and is the resident stage manager at Youth Musical Theater Company. Much love to her family, and gratitude that she’s never had to witness them partake in group sex!

Karen Offereins

Karen Offereins (GEORGE) is happy to be returning to CMTC after appearing in The Pain and the Itch and M. Butterfly.  She was last seen in Elevada at Shotgun Players, where she also performed in The Mousetrap, Top Girls, and Our TownPast credits include Two Mile Hollow (Ferocious Lotus), Phèdre (Cutting Ball Theater), The Potrero Nuevo Project (PlayGround), and The Rules (SF Playhouse).  A founding member and Artistic Director of AtmosTheatre, her credits there include Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Big Funk, and No ExitAdditionally, she has performed with Word for Word, Playwrights Foundation, SF Theater Pub (where she also produced and directed new works), and Theatreworks.

Malcolm Rodgers

Malcolm Rodgers (MICHAEL) was most recently seen at CMTC as the Public Speaker/Greg/Male Doctor in “Middletown” (2016) and Gene Dinkel in “How the World Began” (2014). Recent roles elsewhere include Malvolio in “Twelfth Night”, and Grossman in “These Shining Lives” at Ross Valley Players; Iago in “Othello” and Polixines in “Winter’s Tale” at Livermore Shakespeare; and George in “The Speakeasy” at Box Car Theater. Malcolm has also worked at CCCT, Arabian Shakespeare, Napa Valley Shakespeare, and the SF Shakespeare Festival. Malcolm studied theater performance and design at SFSU, and received his conservatory training at PCPA. 

Nick Trengove

Nick Trengove (DAVID) is a professional actor with strong artistic roots in the Bay Area. From 2006 – 2015, he lived, studied, and worked in the Bay Area, performing in a multitude of professional productions, workshops, and new works. In 2015, he relocated to Chicago to attend The Theatre School at DePaul University’s MFA program in Acting. He performed in mainstage productions, including Tarell Alvin McCraney’s drag extravaganza Wig Out!, and devised and performed a thesis production on the nonviolent movements of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. After graduating in 2018, he performed for a short time in Chicago’s incredible storefront theater scene. In 2019, he returned to the Bay Area and, bolstered by his training and experience, is thrilled to return to the Custom Made stage and to this incredible community of artists and storytellers.

Louel Senores
Louel Senores (FREDDY) is delighted to be working with Custom Made for the first time! Recent acting credits include “The Importance of Being Earnest“ (Aurora Theatre), “Ward 6” (Central Works), “Universal Robots” (Quantum Dragon Theatre), “The Human Ear” (Anton’s Well), and “Hedge” (PlayGround). Recent stage management credits include: “Ageless” (Quantum Dragon Theatre), “Abominable” (Symmetry Theatre), and “Best of PlayGround 20” (PlayGround). Louel also works with Berkeley Interactive Theater (for 10 years and counting!) as an actor and playwright to help bring impactful workshops about issues of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to universities and organizations all over California. When he’s not doing theatre, he LARPs, plays Smash, catches Pokémon, and manages As You Wish Frozen Yogurt in Albany. For more info, visit:


Matt Weimer

Matt (PAUL) is delighted to return to The Custom Made Theatre Company, having previously appeared in their productions of The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and Six Degrees of Separation. Performing in the Bay Area since 1991, his recent work has been with such companies as New Conservatory Theatre Center, Theatre Rhinoceros, Left Coast Theatre Co., Indra’s Net Theater, and Exit Theatre.   He has toured with children’s theater, performed improv and sketch comedy, appeared in independent films and video games, and written for the stage.  TBA Award finalist (featured actor) for his performance in The Homosexuals at NCTC.

The history of The Lion in Winter

The history of The Lion in Winter

The Events Leading up to The Lion in Winter

A history by director Stuart Bousel

The tombs of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine

The European Middle Ages began around 500 AD following the collapse of Roman infrastructure and the withdrawal of Roman troops from northern Europe, and was marked by a period of invasions from the Vikings and the Huns that reduced a once unified continent to a myriad of small kingdoms which wouldn’t know national cohesion again until King Charles of the Franks was crowned Charlemagne of France in 800. In 1066 the Duke of Normandy, a vast region on the north coast of France, crossed the English Channel and defeated the English king, Harold Godwinson, at the Battle of Hastings, just 3 weeks after he had defeated the Norwegian king, Harold Hadrada, effectively ending the era of Viking power. The victor crowned himself William the 1st of England and Normandy, thus ushering in the High Middle Ages (1066-1300) and laying the groundworks for the power struggle at the root of The Lion In Winter. 

The battle of Hastings

William’s son William Rufus succeeded him as king, but died childless in 1100, and the throne passed to his younger brother, Henry the First. Henry’s only legitimate son (William Adelin) drown in a shipwreck in 1120 while attempting to save his half-sister, and so the crown passed to Henry’s daughter, Matilda. Though many people, royal and common, accepted Matilda, a rebellion lead by her cousin, Stephen, resulted in a period of civil partisanship known as The Anarchy, during which England was split into two kingdoms: Matilda’s in the northwest, and Stephen’s in the southeast. Eventually the two sides agreed that Stephen would reign as King, Matilda would reign as “Lady of England” (a title never held again), and her son by Count Geoffrey of Anjou would succeed Stephen upon his death. On October 25, 1154 the son in question, nicknamed Curtmantle, took the throne as Henry II, King of England. Through his marriage in 1152 to Eleanor, the Duchess of Aquitaine (the largest, richest county in France), and his inherited titles of Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou, Henry was the ruler of more of France than the King of France himself, Louis VII, who was, incidentally, Eleanor’s first husband, before she divorced him in 1152.

Eleanor of Aquitaine

]Eleanor and Henry would have 8 children. The first, William, died as an infant, but the remaining 7- Henry, Matilda, Richard, Geoffrey, Eleanor, Joanna, and John- survived to adulthood and through their marriages and deeds Henry became the most powerful man in Europe. At the time of Lion in Winter, his empire included parts of Germany and Spain, the islands of Sicily and Ireland, and more of France, namely the county of Brittany through his son Geoffrey’s marriage. Under Henry’s leadership Europe achieved a stability that resulted in the flourishing of major cosmopolitan centers like London and Paris, and cultural advancements in international trade (particularly of English wool and French wine), romantic poetry (Marie de France composed the most popular version of the King Arthur legends during this time), and gothic architecture (work began on Notre-Dame in 1163). Determined to see the world he created last, Henry crowned his eldest son in 1170.

Henry the Young King

The crowning of Henry the Young King so enraged his mother and brothers (who saw it as an attempt to cut them out of the legacy) that they revolted in an Eleanor helmed uprising that ended in her imprisonment in Salisbury Castle for the rest of Henry Senior’s reign. Attempting to keep his sons in line, Henry brokered a potential marriage between Richard (who was his mother’s favorite) and Alais of Vexin, the daughter of Louis VII by his second wife, and half sister to Phillip Augustus, who would succeed his father as King of France in 1180. However, by the time Henry the Young King died of dysentery in 1183, Alais and Richard had still not married (though Henry Senior had set up a military presence in her homeland), nor had a new heir to the English throne been declared. Though the Christmas court of 1183 that is the setting of Lion in Winter never actually happened, all of the people in the play, and the various alliances at stake, were real, and would continue to affect life in Europe for the 200 years to follow.



This is a big weekend for the Bright Room cast. It’s our first run through! It’s going to be a “rough draft” if you will, but I’m very excited to see how it’s all shaping up.

This is actually going to be the first time I’ve seen some of the other actors in rehearsal since the reading in January. Because of the way this play is set up, the rehearsal process has basically been broken down into three groups (and please note that these are the names that I have given these groups to help explain them): the “modern day” group, which consists of Zillah and all the people she interacts with in modern day Berlin. There’s the “new friends” group, which includes the people Agnes knows through her political ties as well as Die Alte (I’m not going to say too much about her because I feel it’s important for you to see her for yourself) and finally there’s the “old friends” group, which is the one my character Paulinka is part of.  This group has known each other for a while (probably years) and we are trying to help each other get through the bad times. Of course what ties everyone in the play together is Agnes and her apartment. She is the home base, the nurturer who we all seek out to comfort us. For my my character, she has become somewhat of a moral compass, someone whose opinion Paulinka values very highly and whom she runs to for comfort when things don’t go well.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing what the other actors have discovered through their respective rehearsals. It’s going to be nice to get a feel for the play as a whole rather than thinking in terms of smaller pieces.

Welcome to Germany!

Welcome to Germany!

It’s great to be back! Back at Custom Made Theater Company (last time I was here we were performing at the Off-Market Theater), back working on another fabulous Tony Kushner play, and back to the Berlin featured in “A Bright Room Called Day.” I had the pleasure of doing this show back in college and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to get the chance to perform it again. I’m looking forward to seeing what new things I will be able to discover as Paulinka, and how some additional life experience will change the way I see her.

Something that has already struck me in the first few rehearsals is the political climate at this time in history. Post WWI, Germany is in financial ruin, there are rallies and feuding political parties everywhere, and yet Berlin is a creative and artistic hub. Still, somehow the Nazis are able to take control and lead the world into another war, and with this play we see it happen bit by bit. Kushner has a way of taking what is a complex and difficult vortex of events and breaking it down into smaller digestible pieces by showing us how it effects each and every one of his characters. Even the selfish and vain actress Paulinka has her moments of triumph in difficult situations within the context of this play.

I won’t say too much more, only that I am thrilled to be back on this journey. Welcome to Germany my friends, soon to be playing at a San Francisco theater near you!