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by Eric Coble
Directed by Mary Guzmán

Previews March 21 and March 22, 8 PM
Opens March 23, 8 PM
Runs Thursdays through Sundays
at 8 PM through April 23

Bright Ideas has been extended until April 30th!




“You’ve got to ask yourself… how much do I love my child?”

Just how far are you willing to go to have your child succeed? Eric Coble’s wickedly humorous play combines MacBeth, pesto and choosing a pre-school to hilarious and disturbing results. Getting your child into the perfect preschool can be murder. But isn’t your child worth it? Bright Ideas previews on Tuesday, March 21 st & Wednesday, March 22 nd, Opens Thursday, March 23 rd and runs Thursday - Sunday at 8pm until April 23 rd, at The Ashby Stage in Berkeley.

Parents who project their own insecurities and dreams of success onto their children are no new story. But these days, the determination of modern parents to provide every possible advantage seems unconstrained by cost or even moral implication. Playwright Eric Coble has formed his career on biting political and societal farce, and Bright Ideas is a prime example, targeting the privately obsessive world of parenting. He transforms one of the main questions of MacBeth – “What is a real man?” into the modern version: “What is a real parent?”

Bright Ideas begs the question—Which is more important, being good, or getting ahead? Getting the best? Is the modern American model of success so out of whack with what most people can actually afford that the only way to stay on top is to become evil and conniving?

Just a few generations ago, parents worried about whether their child would get an education at all.  Now parents are concerned about the right education. Good schooling will save your child from a life of hard work and unfulfilled promises. 

But will your youngster ever get to Harvard without the right preparation?  In the mind of a fixated parent, the whole game could be won or lost in preschool. One misstep at the earliest stage could doom the kid to a life of misery. The right school could set your child's future. What would you be willing do to secure the perfect education?

Bright Ideas is a story in which people actualize the impossible dream— even if it means ruining their lives. Propelled by the darkest of parenting fears, one couple confuses family values with cutthroat competition, ultimately loosing control.

Eric Coble has seen his plays produced on four continents and throughout the United States, including the recent off-Broadway production of Bright Ideas at Manhattan Class Company. Mr. Coble is a member of the Cleveland Play House Playwrights Unit, and his awards include the AT&T Onstage Award and National Theatre Conference Playwriting Award.

Mary Guzmán is the creator of the award winning feature film Desi's Looking for a New Girl and directed the award-winning documentary Mind if I Call You Sir. In theatre she was the director of Erika Lopez’s (Flaming Iguanas) one-woman show, Nothing Left But the Smell. She has worked with Theater Rhino, Shotgun Players and must recently directed Enrique Urueta’s Learn to Be Latina for Golden Thread.

Shotgun Players production of Bright Ideas will be directed by Mary Guzmán. The cast features Melanie Case, Calum Grant, Anna Ishida, Rami Margron, and Ben Ortega. Shotgun Company members Valera Coble (The Miser, The Death of Meyerhold) will design costumes, and Chris Paulina (The Just, EAT) will design sound. Robert Anderson (Arabian Night, The Just, Death of Meyerhold) will design the lighting, and James Jay Felton will design the set.





SF Weekly>>
"No Kidding"

SF Gate>>
"Perform–Only the Best Will Do"

"…stark black comedy,"

SF Tribune>>

Berkeley Daily Planet >>
"…a brisk, funny comedy of gestures, expressions and quick interplay between
cast members."

SF Bay Guardian>>
"…savvy direction and first-rate
comedic performances…"

East Bay Express>>
"Nasty fun…"

SF Chronicle >>
"Wickedly pointed dark comedy"

Oakland Tribune >>
"Murder, blackmail, embezzlement...a satisfying romp"

San Francisco Bay Times >>
"Attack of the Killer Day Care Moms!"


Anna Ishida and Ben Ortega are Genevra and Joshua Bradley in Shotgun Players' production of Bright Ideas

Photo Credits: Fachin Photography

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Melanie Case
Calum Grant
Anna Ishida
Rami Margron
Ben Ortega

Valera Coble
  Costume Design
Chris Paulina
  Sound Design
Robert Anderson
  Lighting Design
James Jay Felton
  Set Design




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