On Stage

M. Butterfly

The Tony Award-winning play by David Henry Hwang

Now Extended Until April 30th!

M. Butterfly is intended for mature audiences. No minors will be admitted without an adult guardian.

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Directed Stuart Bousel

Xanadu Bruggers, Sean Fenton, Rik Lopes, Kai Morrison, Karen Offereins, Kira Shaw and
Paul Stout

Scenic Design - Sarah Phykitt
Stage Management -  Carrie Barnes
Costume Design - Jen Pokas
Lighting Design - Brendan Aanes
Sound Design - Dan Brandon
Properties Design - Shay Henley
Dramaturge - Perry Aliado

butterfly poster

Custom Made presents a dynamic new staging of Hwang’s modern classic.

Can love be so blinding that we see only what we want to see in the object of our obsession, choosing illusion over reality?    And is the distortion between East and West so seductive that even gender can be blurred by our desires?

Twenty-five years ago, David Henry Hwang heard about a newspaper report about a French diplomat who carried on a two decades’ long affair with a Chinese opera singer, who turned out to be both a man and a spy.   From this simple story, he weaved a modern classic that wonders how such an event could happen.  How could this Western man be so blinded by love (or was it obsession?) that he would willingly give away state secrets, and not even know the sex of his partner?   What is it in all of us that thinks of the people of Asia as submissive, feminine, and in awe of the Western world? 

Hwang’s tale is as relevant as when first written, perhaps even more so as the Western world attempts to understand the rise of modern China.  As our new realities take hold, with China poised to be the largest economy in the world in as little as 20 years, what illusions do we still live under?

This dynamic new staging by Stuart Bousel (Ruth and the Sea, The Giant Bones) emphasizes a more timeless aesthetic for the show than the iconic Broadway production, concentrating less on the historical elements of the story and more on the universal themes of obsession, deception, delusion and vanity. Though race and politics still play their part, they will be presented as a facet of the core problem that, when it comes to love, we often see what we want to see rather than see the truth about the object of our affection.

Sarah Phykitt’s (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell) stark, elegant set and Jen Pokas’s (The Giant Bones) minimalistic costumes will emphasize the Chinese design of reds and blacks, which will work to bring out the plays’ meta-theatricality in director Bousel’s staging.

Custom Made is thrilled to present this new look at a modern classic.

tickets at http://www.custommade.org/ tickets

at The Gough Street Playhouse (formerly The Next Stage), attached to the historic Trinity Church, 1620 Gough Street (at Bush), San Francisco

Production Photos

M. Butterfly production photos. Click on the thumbnails below for a high-resolution version ; Photos: Jay Yamada, 2011

Sean Fenton
Sean Fenton, Rik Lopes

Kai Morrison, Rik Lopes

Rik Lopes, Kira Shaw

Xanadu Bruggers

Paul Shaw, Karen Offereins (center), Xanadu Bruggers

Paul Stout

Rik Lopes, Sean Fenton

Cast and Crew

Brendan Aanes (Lighting Design) has designed light and sound for a wide variety of performances including Angels in America at the Pear in Mountain View, the Bay One Acts Festival (vol. X) and Lunatique Fantastique’s EO9066 at the Marsh. He also creates lighting and video art which has illuminated public spaces in Union Square and elsewhere. Current projects include Caliban Dreams with Berkeley Opera and All I Wanted To Say, a multimedia dance performance at The Garage

Carrie Barnes (Stage Manager) is very excited to be working with Custom Made on M. Butterfly.  This is her first show with the company and her second show in the Bay area.  Having just moved from Wilmington, North Carolina, she appreciates being involved with this production.  She has recently worked with Actor's Ensemble of Berkeley as the stage manager for Heartbreak House.  Along with stage management, Carrie is a scenic artist, set designer, and lighting designer.  Previous show credits include, A Day in Hollywood A Night in the Ukraine (lighting design) with Thalian Association, Lost Highway (set design) with Citystage, Stop Kiss (set design) with Big Dawg Productions, Santaland Diaries (set design) with Citystage, Rent (stage management) with Citystage and many more.  Carrie would like to thank all of the cast and crew for their hard work and for making this a fantastic experience.

Stuart Bousel (Director) is a director, writer, actor, producer and film dabbler whose most recent credits include directing Ruth and the Sea for Wily West Productions, adapting and directing Peter S. Beagle's book Giant Bones for No Nude Men, and authoring Housebroken and Speak Roughly for the Bay One Acts Festival 2010 and 2011, respectively. Upcoming Bay Area projects include writing/directing Edenites for No Nude Men, directing Twelfth Night for Atmostheatre Inc., acting in The Boar's Head at San Francisco Theater Pub and having his play Juno en Victoria produced by Wily West Productions. He is the executive producer of the San Francisco Olympians Festival (www.sfolympians.com), co-wrote the award winning short film Insomnia and the Hostelling International mocu-drama Wish U Were Here, and has published one novelDry Country. This is his first time working with Custom Made. Learn more at www.horrorunspeakable.com.

Dan Brandon (Sound Design) leads a varied career in audio and event production. Dan has designed shows for the Marin Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre, New Pickle Circus and others.  He has produced and engineered CDs for a variety of music artists, including Mary Wilson of the Supremes (Up Close at the Plush Room), Ann Dyer (Revolver - A New Spin) and Sophis and Kalbass Kreyol (currently in production).  Other projects have included work as Technical Director for the Stern Grove Festival and Production Manager for SFJAZZ.  Dan is happy to be working with Custom Made Theatre for the first time.

Xanadu Bruggers (Helga) is making her Custom Made debut! She has appeared in several shows in Seattle and the Bay Area like Cal Shakes, Renegade Theatre Experiment, SF Theatre Pub, Town Hall Theatre of Lafayette and many more. You can see her next in Edonites at the Exit Theatre for NNM Theatre. She would like to thank her friends and family for all their support in pursuing her dreams. Also, thank you to Stuart, the cast and crew of M. Butterfly for making this an incredible experience.

Sean Fenton (Song Liling) made his theatrical debut at Stanford University in the Asian American Theater Project, which was founded, coincidentally, by M. Butterfly playwright, David Henry Hwang.  Bay Area theatre credits since then include You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Linus) at the Willows Theatre Company; A Little Night Music at TheatreWorks andthe Post Street Theatre; Smokey Joe’s Café at California Conservatory Theatre; Jesus Christ Superstar (Peter) at Alameda Civic Light Opera; Guys and Dolls (Benny Southstreet) at ACLO; Honk! (The Cat) at Contra Costa Christian Theatre; Forever Plaid (Smudge) at Bus Barn Stage Company, Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre, and ACLO; Plaid Tidings (Smudge) at Tri-Valley Rep; and two seasons in Wigged Out!, the East Bay's longest-running comedy cabaret.  Sean has served as a director and music director for Bay Area Children's Theatre for five years, most recently supervising the music for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 national tours of Strega Nona.  He dedicates this performance to his family and mentors. 

Shay Henley (Properties Manager) works freelance as a Theater Carpenter and Set Designer. She started working in Theater as a stage manager in Ashland Oregon and moved into scenic design and construction after relocating back to the Bay. She has been most recently working as a carpenter at California Shakespeare Theater, A.C.T.’s Conservatory and The Jewish Theater SF.

David Henry Hwang (Playwright) is the author of M. Butterfly (1988 Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Awards, Pulitzer finalist), Golden Child (1998 Tony nomination, 1997 OBIE Award), FOB (1981 OBIE Award), The Dance and the Railroad (Drama Desk nomination), Family Devotions (Drama Desk Nomination), Sound and Beauty, and Bondage. His newest play, Yellow Face, which premiered at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum and New York's Public Theatre, won a 2008 OBIE Award and was a Finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. He wrote the scripts for the Broadway musicals Elton John & Tim Rice's Aida (co-author), Rodgers & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song(2002 revival, 2003 Tony nomination), and Disney's Tarzan. His opera libretti include three works for composer Philip Glass, 1000 Airplanes on the RoofThe Voyage (Metropolitan Opera), and The Sound of a Voice; as well as Bright Sheng's The Silver River, Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar (two 2007 Grammy Awards) and Unsuk Chin's Alice In Wonderland (Opernwelt's 2007 "World Premiere of the Year"). Hwang penned the feature films M. ButterflyGolden Gate, and Possession (co-writer), and also co-wrote the song "Solo" with Prince. A native of Los Angeles, Hwang serves on the Council of the Dramatists Guild. He attended Stanford University and Yale Drama School, and was appointed by President Clinton to the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Rik Lopes (Rene Gallimard) is thrilled to be making his Custom Made Theatre debut with M. Butterfly. He is co-founder and co-artistic director of the production company HurLyBurLy (with creative partner Mikka Bonel), and was last seen in the titular role of their 2010 production CALIGARI. Other favorite roles have included Dardis in Giant Bones, Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Thomas in the world premiere of Fishing by David J. Duman, Nick inWho's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, Louisiana Morales in Stale Magnolias, Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, and as director of HurLyBurLy's maiden production of Cat's-Paw. Currently, he is exploring post-apocalyptic community dynamics for an impending HurLyBurLy stagework. He is a graduate of San Francisco State University and studied improvisation with Bay Area Theatre Sports. He is most grateful to Stuart Bousel for another unforgettable ride.

Kai Morrison (Marc) is an actor, singer, songwriter, musician, and fight director, with the occasional dabbling in playwrighting. He has performed locally with SF Theatre Pub, Thunderbird Theatre Co. (resident fight director), CalShakes, TheatreWorks, and SF Opera (as a combatant). He is composing original music for Theatre Pub's October musical, a modern adaptation of Faust, and can be seen as Hugo in No Nude Men's production of The Edenites this June. Some of his favorite past roles include Valmont (Les Liaisons Dangereuses), El Gallo (The Fantasticks), Bobby (Company), and Orsino in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Heartfelt gratitude to my Moms, Dads, and Alex.

Karen Offereins (Chin) is excited to perform in her first Custom Made Theatre Company production.  Past credits include Sonja (US)/Kurogo in Red for TheatreWorks, Estelle in No Exit for AtmosTheatre, Lily in Woman in Armor for BOA, Jill in The Big Funk and Titania/Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream for AtmosTheatre, Joy in Keep the Yuletide Gay for Theatre Q, and most recently as the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland for AtmosTheatre.  She holds a B.A. from UC Santa Cruz, studied at Studio A.C.T., performed in staged readings for SF Theater Pub and No Nude Men, directed Time Flies and Freedomland for AtmosTheatre, and is Creative Director for Public Displays of Musical Affection.  She can next be seen as Olivia in Twelfth Night for AtmosTheatre this summer at Theatre in the Woods.

Jen Pokas (Costume Design) For years, Jen Pokas has conjured costumes for dance troupes, rock shows and countless San Francisco festivals. She is still relatively new to SF theatre, having made her debut in last year's stand-out production of Giant Bones. She feels very fortunate to have this opportunity to further hone her skills and to work on such a classic play with such a talented cast and crew.

Sarah Phykitt  (Scneic Design) Our Body Remembers (Scenic and Lighting Designer) withLevy Dance, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Scenic Design and Production Manager) with Custom Made Theatre, The Jewish Theatre San Francisco (Production Manager), the Duke on 42nd Street (Technical Manager).  Other recent  SF productions include Sketchfest 2010, Stateless: A Hip Hop Vaudeville Experience, The Sisters Rosensweig, and The Floating Light Bulb, NYC productions include Black Nativity, My Dead Mother Is Funnier than You, Altar Boyz, Slava’s Snow Show, Anton: Scenes from the Family Life of Anton Chekhov, Trailerville, and several pieces for the Central Park Zoo’s Wildlife Theater.   

Kira Shaw (Renee) was born and raised in San Luis Obispo, California. She graduated from UCSC in 2009 and has been living in San Francisco for about two years. A UCSC graduate, she majored in theatre with an emphasis in acting and playwriting; playing Miss Petowker in Nickolas Nickelby, Emma in Fefu and her Friends, as well as starring in numerous original works, and writing her first play Bombshells, which was produced in the same term. At UCSC, Kira was privileged enough to work and train with people such as Jim Beirman, Danny Scheie, and Kimberley Jannarone. Last year she worked with Wily West Productions acting and costuming both San Francisco Stories and Ruth and the Sea. She would like to thank her friends and family first and foremost for their love and support, for believing in her talents, forgiving her faults, and being the underlying characters in her life.

Paul Stout (Toulon) M Butterfly marks this Chico native’s first appearance with Custom Made. Since his move to San Francisco two years ago, he has appeared with Marin Shakespeare Company, Boxcar Theatre, Virago Theatre, Subterreanean Shakespeare, TheaterPub, Renegade Theatre Experiment (San Jose) and in the BOA (Bay Area One-Act)  Festival.  He also recently has appeared with Western Stage in Salinas in The Foreigner, Rabbit Hole and A Clean House.   Prior to his relocation to the Bay in 2009, he acted and directed in well over a hundred productions in the Chico (Ca.) area.  Among the other highlights of a lifetime in theatre are five years of college summer stock and two national children’s theater tours. When not in a production, he spends as much time as he can in Golden Gate Park or at AT&T Park.


coming soon