Arts Listings

Around the East Bay: Central Works Reprises Graves' "every Inch A King"

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Tuesday October 16, 2007

“What do you do with an old king?” queries Central Works Theater Ensemble with their current revival of co-founder Gary Graves’ comedy Every Inch a King, which takes the primal scene, the family tragedy from King Lear, updates it, takes a peek at the three sisters conferring with the old man in the other room and makes it dark, offbeat and too funny. 

The show’s in the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave., where the company’s been in residence, making plays, for a good deal of the past dozen years. Central Works always makes superb theatrical use of the intimate salon space in the venerable old Julia Morgan-designed structure, and this time the author directs, while co-founder Jan Zvaifler, who helmed the first run, is onstage as one of the sisters. 

Rica Anderson and Sandra Schlechter, two of the original cast of three, play her siblings. Do they “sell the home? Or do as the old man says? ... What if your old man has been a real son-of-a-bitch all his life? What if it’s all a scam?” A sensitive, all-too-common issue—stiffened by Shakespearean tragic thunder, served up as a contemporary comedy ... the old age and “downfall” of Reggie Leroy, rubber stamp monarch and millionaire—and the dilemma of his daughters, the troika they try to become to handle him, constitute one of the more celebrated Berkeley originals of the stage in recent years, now happily revived—a fitting close to their 2007 season, following the premieres of two new plays.  

Thurs.-Sun., through Nov. 18, $9-25 sliding scale, with Thursdays pay-what-you-will. 558-1381 or