Office Hour

Office Hour now playing Office Hour: watch video Join us for a discussion after each performance You can make a difference! Click to learn how to show support for gun violence prevention.

Office Hour

By Julia Cho
Directed by Lisa Peterson
Co-production with Long Wharf Theatre
Limited Season · Peet’s Theatre
February 22–March 25, 2018

Running time: 80 minutes, no intermission

After enthralling audiences with Aubergine, Julia Cho returns to Berkeley Rep with a searing and touching play that tunes into the plight of “the other” in a country steeped in mistrust and intolerance. Hiding in the back of the classroom, Dennis’ sullen presence has his fellow students and professors on edge. But during an office visit, his writing instructor seeks to break through Dennis’ silence and earn his trust—with shocking results. A deeply personal story of empathy and redemption, Office Hour explores otherness and paranoia while revealing our essential human need for connection.

Join us after all performances of Office Hour (excluding March 1) for a post-show discussion with Berkeley Rep staff and community leaders.

Office Hour includes multiple gunshot sound effects. Berkeley Rep offers an advisory about any stage effect of potential concern to patrons’ health. We don’t offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any concerns about content, please contact the box office.


Season sponsors

BARTPeet’s CoffeeWells Fargo

Office Hour calendar

Creative team

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Julia Cho · Playwright

Julia’s plays include Aubergine (commissioned by and premiered at Berkeley Rep), The Language Archive, The Piano Teacher, Durango, The Winchester House, BFE, The Architecture of Loss, and 99 Histories. They have been produced in New York at Playwrights Horizons, Roundabout Theatre Company, The Public Theater, The Vineyard Theatre, and New York Theatre Workshop, and regionally at theatres such as South Coast Repertory, Long Wharf Theatre, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Recent honors include the Will Glickman Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Julia has developed work for HBO and TNT and most recently was a writer/producer on AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. She studied playwriting at Amherst College, New York University, and the Juilliard School and is an alumna of New Dramatists.

Lisa Peterson · Director

Lisa is a two-time Obie Award-winning writer and director whose previous projects at Berkeley Rep include Watch on the Rhine (2017); It Can’t Happen Here (2016); The Madwoman in the Volvo (2016); An Iliad (2012), which Lisa co-wrote with Denis O’Hare and which won Obie and Lortel Awards for Best Solo Performance; Mother Courage (2006); The Fall (2001); and Antony & Cleopatra (1999). Other recent West Coast productions include You Never Can Tell (California Shakespeare Theater), Hamlet (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and Chavez Ravine (Ovation Award for Best Production—Center Theatre Group). She has directed world premieres by many major American writers, including Tony Kushner, Beth Henley, Donald Margulies, José Rivera, David Henry Hwang, Luis Alfaro, Marlane Meyer, Naomi Wallace, Basil Kreimendahl, and many others. She regularly works at the Guthrie Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, and New York Theatre Workshop. Lisa and Denis are working on a new play about faith called The Good Book and a commission for McCarter Theatre Center titled The Song of Rome. Lisa is also writing a new music-theatre piece with Todd Almond called The Idea of Order, co-commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, and Seattle Rep.

Matt Saunders · Scenic Design

Matt designed A Doctor in Spite of Himself at Berkeley Rep. His recent off-Broadway work includes Pipeline (world premiere at Lincoln Center), Venus (Signature Theatre), Futurity (Soho Rep and Ars Nova), Good Person of Szechwan (Foundry and The Public Theater), and The Tempest (The Public/Delacorte). He has over 100 regional credits, including The Guthrie Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Huntington Theatre Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, the Wilma Theater, Arden Theatre Company, Pig Iron Theatre Company, and Philadelphia Theatre Company. His recent opera credits include We Shall Not Be Moved (world premiere, Opera Philadelphia, Apollo Theater) and Angel’s Bone (Prototype Festival). Matt has received two Lucille Lortel nominations, a Drama Desk nomination, a Barrymore Award, and the F. Otto Haas Award. He received his MFA from Yale School of Drama, is a Pew Fellow in the Arts and a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, and is the associate artistic director of New Paradise Laboratories. Matt is assistant professor of design at Swarthmore College. Visit mattsaunders.net.

Maggie Morgan · Costume Design

Maggie is pleased to be making her Berkeley Rep debut. She designed Soul Doctor on Broadway and off Broadway, The Real Thing at Aurora Theatre Company, and It Shoulda Been You and Tenderly at Center Rep. Her other regional credits include Mark Taper Forum, Kirk Douglas Theatre, South Coast Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Arizona Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks, Magic Theatre, Hollywood Bowl, and Yale Repertory Theatre. She also designed Send Me: An Original Web Series on BET.com and Car Dogs starring Patrick J. Adams and George Lopez, and was the assistant designer on many films including Men in Black and Casino. Maggie is on the faculty at University of California, Davis. Visit maggiemorgandesign.com.

Scott Zielinski · Lighting Design

Scott’s Berkeley Rep credits include Head of Passes, An Iliad, Oliver Twist, Our Town, Ghosts, and The Fall. His Broadway credits include Topdog/Underdog and he has worked off Broadway at Atlantic Theatre Company, Classic Stage Company, Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, Theatre for a New Audience, and others. He has worked at most theatres in the U.S. and internationally in Adelaide, Amsterdam, Avignon, Berlin, Bregenz, Edinburgh, Fukuoka, Gennevilliers, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Linz, Ljubljana, London, Lyon, Melbourne, Orleans, Oslo, Ottawa, Paris, Reykjavik, Rouen, St. Gallen, Seoul, Shanghai, Shizuoka, Singapore, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna, Vilnius, and Zurich. Scott’s dance and opera credits include American Ballet Theatre, Bregenzer Festspiele, Boston Ballet, BAM, Canadian Opera Company, CND Paris, English National Ballet, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Kennedy Center, Lithuanian National Opera, National Ballet of Canada, De Nederlandse Opera, NYCO, Royal Opera, San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Opera, Spoleto, Sydney Opera, and others. Visit scottzielinski.com.

Robert Kaplowitz · Original Music / Sound Design

Robert has spent the last 24 years designing sound and composing; he has been honored with an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Sound Design and a Tony Award for Fela! He owes much of his success to the mentorship and belief of James Houghton during his years at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference. Among his 300+ artistic credits are designs for The Poor Itch; Bexley, OH!; and Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, all created for director Lisa Peterson. He also composes musicals, creates museum installations, runs Nine Hostage Arts in Philadelphia, teaches at Princeton, and loves his family more than anything else.

Thomas Schall · Fight Director

Thomas has worked on over 70 Broadway shows, among them: Jitney, The Crucible, The Little Foxes, The Front Page, Blackbird, The Color Purple, Groundhog Day, Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men, War Horse, Death of a Salesman, Venus in Fur, Wicked, and A View from the Bridge. His other New York credits include Hamlet, King Lear, Titus Andronicus, and Mother Courage (The Public Theater); A Free Man of Color and Blood and Gifts (Lincoln Center); Murder Ballad, Ruined, and The Cost of Living (Manhattan Theatre Club); Red Speedo and Othello (New York Theatre Workshop); The Hairy Ape (The Armory); and Nozze di Figaro, Il Trovatore, and Tosca (The Metropolitan Opera).

Amy Potozkin, CSA · Casting

This is Amy’s 28th season at Berkeley Rep. Through the years she has also had the pleasure of casting plays for ACT (Seattle), Arizona Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre Company, B Street Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Marin Theatre Company, the Marsh, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Social Impact Productions Inc., and Traveling Jewish Theatre. Amy cast roles for various independent films, including Conceiving Ada, starring Tilda Swinton; Haiku Tunnel and Love & Taxes, both by Josh Kornbluth; and Beyond Redemption by Britta Sjogren. Amy received her MFA from Brandeis University, where she was also an artist in residence. She has been an audition coach to hundreds of actors and a presentation/communication coach to many businesspeople. Amy taught acting at Mills College and audition technique at Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre, and has led workshops at numerous other venues in the Bay Area. Prior to working at Berkeley Rep, she was an intern at Playwrights Horizons in New York. Amy is a member of CSA, the Casting Society of America, and was nominated for Artios Awards for Excellence in Casting for The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures; One Man, Two Guvnors; and An Octoroon.

Calleri Casting · Casting

Calleri Casting is James Calleri, Paul Davis, and Erica Jensen. Broadway credits include Fool for Love, Hughie, The Elephant Man (also West End), Hedwig and The Angry Inch, The Visit, Of Mice and Men, Venus in Fur, Living on Love, 33 Variations, A Raisin in the Sun, Chicago, and James Joyce’s The Dead. Select off-Broadway credits include Buyer & Cellar, Murder for Two, All in the Timing, Passion, Lobby Hero, Fuerza Bruta, and Silence! The Musical. Casting for Classic Stage Company, Long Wharf Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, The Flea, Keen, Playwrights Realm, Rattlestick, Humana Festival/Actors Theatre of Louisville, Williamstown Theater Festival, Berkeley Rep, City Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Playwrights Horizons (10 seasons). TV: The Path for Hulu, Army Wives, Lipstick Jungle, Monk, Hope & Faith, and Ed. Calleri has cast for lots of film, including Mike Cahill’s Sundance winners Another Earth and I Origins. They were awarded 13 Artios Awards for Outstanding Casting Achievement. Member CSA. Visit callericasting.com.

Chris Waters · Stage Manager

Chris was the assistant stage manager for Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations and Hand to God, and most recently staged managed As You Like It at California Shakespeare Theater. Some of his favorite credits include Othello, King Lear, and Romeo and Juliet (California Shakespeare Theater); Safe House, Talley’s Folly and Rapture, Blister, Burn (Aurora Theatre); James and the Giant Peach (Bay Area Children’s Theater/Shanghai Children’s Art Theatre); Orlando (TheatreFirst); pen/man/ship (Magic Theatre); and A House Tour of the Infamous Porter Family Mansion with Tour Guide Weston Ludlow Londonderry (Z Space), starring Danny Scheie. Chris holds an MA in theatre management from University of California, Santa Cruz and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Long Wharf Theatre

Long Wharf Theatre (Joshua Borenstein, Managing Director), in its 53rd season, is recognized as a leader in American theatre, producing fresh and imaginative revivals of classics and modern plays, rediscoveries of neglected works and a variety of work and American premieres. More than 30 Long Wharf productions have transferred virtually intact to Broadway or off Broadway, some of which include Napoli, Brooklyn; Satchmo at the Waldorf; My Name is Asher Lev; February House; The Glass Menagerie; the Pulitzer Prize-winning plays Wit by Margaret Edson; The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer; and The Gin Game by D.L. Coburn. The theatre is an incubator of new works, including Meteor Shower by Steve Martin and The Most Beautiful Room in New York by David Shire and Adam Gopnik. Long Wharf Theatre has received New York Drama Critics Awards, Obie Awards, the Margo Jefferson Award for Production of New Works, a Special Citation from the Outer Critics Circle and the Tony® Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

Additional credit

Laura Humphrey · Assistant Director

Cast

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Daniel Chung · Dennis

Daniel’s favorite credits include Every 28 Hours and The Ice Cream Sandwich Incident (FaultLine Theater). He has appeared in numerous staged readings at PlayGround and Playwrights Foundation. Daniel studies at Berg Studios and graduated from UCLA.

Daniel Chung

Jackie Chung · Gina

Jackie’s off-Broadway credits include microcrisis and The Children of Vonderly (Ma-Yi Theater Company), Mother Courage and Her Children (The Public Theater/NYSF), and After (Partial Comfort Productions). Her regional credits include Caught (Firefly Theater & Films), Tiger Style! (La Jolla Playhouse), different words for the same thing (Center Theatre Group), brownsville song (b-side for Tray) (Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival), Fast Company (South Coast Repertory), and Macbeth 1969 (Long Wharf Theatre). Film and TV credits include Grey’s Anatomy, Deadbeat, and Someone Else. Jackie is a member of Partial Comfort Productions and the Ensemble Studio Theatre.

Jackie Chung

Jeremy Kahn · David

Jeremy has appeared in peerless (Marin Theatre Company); Another Way Home (Magic Theatre); Peter and the Starcatcher (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley); Tigers Be Still, The Fantasticks, Kimberly Akimbo, and 1 2 3 (San Francisco Playhouse); Tortilla Curtain (San Diego Repertory Theatre); Wittenberg (Aurora Theatre Company); The Liar, Baskerville, It Shoulda Been You, and The Storytelling Ability of a Boy (Center Repertory Company); The Rover (Shotgun Players); Bad Jews (Capital Stage Company); Max Understood (Paul Dresher Ensemble); Moonshiner (Jackalope Theatre Company); Shakespod (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2008); and Would (NYC Fringe Festival 2012). Television and independent film credits include Looking, Unleashed, The Etruscan Smile (2018), Dirt (2018), and After Effect. Jeremy received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Visit actorjeremykahn.com.

Jeremy Kahn

Kerry Warren · Genevieve

Kerry is excited to make her debut at Berkeley Rep in Office Hour. Her New York credits include The River on Broadway with Hugh Jackman (u/s Woman), Good Grief at Intar (Jessica), This Is How It Ends (Anti Christ) in Summer Shorts at 59E59 Theatres, and Much Ado About Nothing (Hero) with the Mobile Unit at The Public directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah. Regionally, she has performed at Dallas Theater Center in Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), at Center Stage in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Cassandra), at Arena Stage in The Originalist (Cat), and at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Twelfth Night (Viola) and The Book of Will (Alice). She is a graduate of the Juilliard School Group 42. Visit kerryawarren.com.

Kerry Warren

The cast and stage manager are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Captivating…Masterful…A teacher, both emboldened and terrified, is attempting to cut through the noise of life in America at this moment—the screaming debates, the toxic politics, the horrifying headlines—and connect with a troubled student who needs help before he does himself or others harm. [Julia] Cho approaches the fraught issue of gun violence in our nation’s schools not with a screed or a polemic but with a writer’s deep and messy sense of exploration and revelation. The play itself operates under the conceit that it is a work-in-progress that attempts to make a connection between Gina and Dennis. As Gina fumbles her way through meetings with Dennis, Cho takes scenes to extreme places or corny places or places of hollow inspiration, and then she wipes the stage with a blackout and starts over. She’s allowing this important conversation to unfold in multiple drafts…Director Lisa Peterson, Berkeley Rep’s associate director, keeps what is essentially a two-person drama as tense and intriguing as possible, with welcome moments of humor and one especially dazzling sequence involving fantasy, violence, and the kind of deft stagecraft you don’t expect in such a straightforward play…This Office Hour finds Cho at her provocative best, searching for compassion and seriously wondering if that’s enough to make a difference.”

TheaterMania

Crisply directed by Lisa Peterson and well executed by the cast and design team, Office Hour succeeds in dramatizing how rational scrutiny of one’s fear (or prejudice) is one effective way to neutralize this crescendo of angst before it claims more innocent lives. It also shows us how difficult that endeavor is in a culture inundated with guns, saturated in violence and awash in close-mindedness.”

New Haven Register

Chilling…[Office Hour] speaks eloquently to the nation’s collective sense of trauma…[Julia] Cho (The Language Archive) lets the often bloodcurdling narrative unfurl in jagged shards, letting us puzzle through alternative scenarios of what happens to this troubled student, what becomes of the firepower that might be carrying in his backpack and whether Gina will make it out of this alive…Both key actors find shades in the spiral of emotions.”

Mercury News / Bay Area News Group

[Julia Cho] has a keen ear for dialogue, and [Lisa] Peterson keeps the pacing brisk and tight. Both Chungs—Jackie Chung as the determined, tightly wound Gina, and Daniel Chung as the angry, damaged Dennis—play their roles to the hilt, and Jeremy Kahn (David) and Kerry Warren (Genevieve) are spot-on as Gina’s frightened colleagues.”

San Francisco Examiner

Timing is everything, and Office Hour is a timely show…I could lay out every moment of this show and you’d still find the performance shocking, surprising, alarming and unnerving…Peterson stages Office Hour with action, fast pacing and bloody abandon, but doesn’t make it come off as sensationalized…There is actual danger being dramatized in this show, but this production of Office Hour also contains what I like to refer to as ‘danger elements.’ These are the unpredictable or tricky moments that can make live theater so exciting…Nobody can write about disenfranchised youth, generational disconnect and the torpor of daily life like Julia Cho. Office Hour proves she’s still socially relevant, uncompromising, thought-provoking and progressive.”

Hartford Courant

Watch now

Office Hour: Teens have the mic

Members of our Teen Council talk about Julia Cho’s play, gun violence, and how art may make a difference.

Official trailer: Office Hour

See why critics call Julia Cho’s play “masterful” and “chilling!”

Behind the scenes: Fight Director Thomas Schall

The fight director for Julia Cho’s Office Hour shares his love of the play—and a few things about how onstage firearms work.

Behind the scenes: Meet and greet

Go behind the scenes at our meet and greet for Julia Cho’s Office Hour, and hear more about the play from director Lisa Peterson.

Behind the scenes: Director Lisa Peterson

The director of Julia Cho’s Office Hour unveils more about this surprising and uncompromising drama.

See photos

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Photos courtesy of Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Photos may not be used for commercial or personal use without written permission from Berkeley Rep, and unauthorized alteration, reproduction, or sale of these images is strictly prohibited. Journalists and other members of the media, please visit our online press room.

Meet our community partners working to prevent gun violence

In response to Office Hour, Berkeley Rep partnered with three locally based organizations, out of the many who do this work locally and nationally to prevent gun violence. Here’s some information on who they are and how you can support their work.

Berkeley Media Studies Group

Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) does research on how mass media, especially the news, affects how people understand topics like violence and what to do about it. BMSG believes violence is a preventable public health problem, but many people don’t know that. That’s partly because much of what we know about violence—beyond what we experience personally—comes to us through the filter of the news, and the news tends to focus on graphic details, crime, and punishment. If we want people to see that violence doesn’t have to happen, an important step is making prevention part of the media narrative. BMSG works with advocates and community leaders to do just that, in California and beyond. To learn more about BMSG’s research and strategic communication trainings please visit bmsg.org.

Hope and Heal Fund

Hope and Heal Fund brings together a diverse group of funders around a common goal: to stop the gun violence epidemic in California. The Fund invests in research, strategic communication, and community-based programs to address the gun violence epidemic. They are committed to addressing all forms of gun violence, including homicide, suicide, and domestic violence, and the socioeconomic conditions that make gun violence more likely. They’re also working to support vulnerable and overlooked communities that are most directly affected by gun violence. Find out more at hopeandhealfund.org.

The Oakland/Alameda County Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Chapter

The Oakland/Alameda County Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Chapter is one of 28 Brady Campaign Chapters in California that educate and mobilize their communities to advocate for sensible and responsible gun laws and public policies at the local, state, and national levels. You can support their work in several ways: become a member of the Chapter, receive their email newsletter with updates on issues and activities, form a new Chapter if there is not one near you, or make a donation to the Brady Campaign. Find out more at bradycampaign.org.

The Brady Campaign also supports Speak for Safety, a campaign to raise awareness of the Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO). The GVRO is a historic, first-of-its-kind tool in California for temporarily removing firearms from loved ones in crisis. Find out more at speakforsafety.org.

Days of action

Thank you to those who participated in the events below.

ENOUGH School Walkout

Date: March 14 · 10am, across every time zone
Lead: Women’s March
Background: 17-minute walkout of schools across the U.S. and also includes walkouts at workplaces and among elected officials. One minute for each person killed in Parkland. You are encouraged to wear orange on the day.
More information: womensmarch.com/empower
Hashtags: #NationalSchoolWalkout #ENOUGH
Facebook: facebook.com/womensmarchonwash

March for Our Lives

Date: March 24
Where: Washington, D.C. and satellite marches encouraged for sites around the country, including San Francisco
Lead: Everytown/Giffords
Background: Student organizers in collaboration with Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
More information: marchforourlives.com
Hashtags: #MarchForOurLives
Twitter: @AMarch4OurLives
Facebook: facebook.com/marchforourlives

National High School Walkout

Date: April 20 · 10am, across every time zone
Lead: Lane Murdock and other students
Background: Lane Murdock is a Connecticut student calling for a national high school walkout on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.
More information: nationalschoolwalkout.net
Hashtags: #NationalSchoolWalkout
Twitter: @schoolwalkoutus

Docent talks and discussions

Pre-show docent talks

Meet us in the Theatre an hour before the show on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings and Sunday matinees for an engrossing presentation about your subscription-season play. Hear about the playwright’s perspective, dive into the historical context, and discover why the script is relevant right now. Each 30-minute talk includes plenty of time for your questions.

Post-show docent-led discussions

Join your fellow audience members after all matinees and share your thoughts on the show.

Interested in becoming a docent? Click here for details. For more information about Berkeley Rep’s docent program, please email docent@berkeleyrep.org.

Teen Night

Teen Night gives local teens the opportunity to meet for dinner and a behind-the-scenes discussion with a member of the artistic team before attending each subscription-season production at an extremely discounted price.

  • Friday, February 23, 2018

Teen Night begins at 6:30pm at the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre. Tickets are $10. Learn more. To reserve your space, call Teen Council at 510 647–2984 or email teencouncil@berkeleyrep.org.

Post-show discussions

Join us after all performances of Office Hour (excluding March 1) for a post-show discussion with Berkeley Rep staff and community leaders.