Those Women Productions presents a staged reading of Unquestioned Integrity by Mame Hunt, directed by Erin Merritt, on Tuesday, December 11 at the Live Oak Theater in Berkeley. This electrifying docudrama deploys verbatim quotations from the testimony given by Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991. Unquestioned Integrity premiered at the Magic Theatre of San Francisco in early 1993. Now, in the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings, Hunt’s play feels more significant than ever.
When the Me Too movement began last year, some of my friends asked if I was going to write another play, but I decided not to. I did decide, though, that I would revise the ending of the play in a very brief and oblique way. After the Kavanaugh nightmare, friends again asked me if I was going to write another play about these hearings. Sadly, much of the play I wrote in ’92 was echoed in the Kavanaugh hearing. Both men lied. Both expressed themselves with uncanny rage. Both women were dignified, articulate and credible. In both cases, the corroborating witnesses were prevented from testifying. Deja vu, I suppose. ~ Mame Hunt
This performance of Unquestioned Integrity will be the first to include the new epilogue Hunt wrote in 2018. The cast includes Velina Brown* as Anita Hill, Dorian Lockett* as Clarence Thomas, and Gene Thompson as “The Senator.”
*Member, Actors’ Equity Association
About the playwright:
Mame Hunt has been a dramaturg specializing in New Play Development for over 30 years and has worked with such organizations as the Sundance Theatre Program, Intiman Theatre, Magic Theatre (Artistic Director 1993-98), Bay Area Playwrights Festival (Artistic Director 1991-97), Berkeley Rep, Los Angeles Theatre Center, and many others. She has worked with some of the finest playwrights in the country, including Nilo Cruz, Marlane Meyer, Roger Guenveur Smith, Darrah Cloud, Julie Hebert, Mallery Avidon and Jose Rivera.
About the director:
Erin Merritt is an award-winning theater maker who specializes in political and female-forward work. She made her mark as the founding Artistic Director of the Bay Area’s all-female Shakespeare company, Woman’s Will (1998 – 2011), where she directed 13 productions, including two “Top Ten Shows of the Year.” She now focuses on new work—recently directing premieres by Joan Holden, Susan-Jane Harrison, Toni Press-Coffman, and Aditi Brennan Kapil. She also produced the 2013 and 2014 Bay Area Playwrights Festivals and the 2017 and 2018 TBA Awards, and is proud to be part of the consortium putting together the 2020 Women’s Theatre Festival, Bay Area. erinmerritt.com.
About the cast:
Velina Brown [Anita Hill] is an award winning actress, singer/songwriter, and director whose artistic home for over 20 years has been the San Francisco Mime Troupe. You may have also seen her at the American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, The Magic, TheatreWorks, Shotgun Players, SF Playhouse, among many others. Film and television appearances include Party of Five, Nash Bridges, Trauma, Final Witness, Bee Season, Maladaptive, One Way to Valhalla, Play it Cool, and Milk.
Dorian Lockett [Clarence Thomas]: Dorian Lockett is honored to be invited to have fun with Those Women Productions. You might’ve seen him on stage in Hughie with the Eugene O’Neill Foundation or Topdog/Underdog with Ubuntu Theater Project or even as Coach Patrick in 13 Reasons Why. If you play video games and watch anime talk to him afterwards! Have fun and enjoy the show!!
Gene Thompson [The Senator]: has performed in New York and Bay Area theatres for over 40 years, most recently as the blind prophet Tiresias in Sophocles’ Antigone at Theater of Others. Other local favorites include Ira in Arrivals/Departures (by Daniele Nathanson and Tania Katan), Dukes Frederick and Senior in As You Like It (Shakespeare), Chebutykin in The Three Sisters (Chekhov), and Bob in the award-winning Swimming in the Shallows (by Adam Bock), all at Shotgun Players; and Houdini in Rosabelle-Answer-Tell (by Ellen Koivisto) at Theatre Artists’ Conspiracy. But his signature role in the Bay Area will always be Senator Bob Packwood in John Warren’s Groping for Justice, the Bob Packwood Story (Unconditional Theatre).
Thank you to TheatreFIRST for hosting us in the Live Oak Theater for this event and to the City of Berkeley and the Berkeley Civic Arts Grants program for supporting our work.
Net proceeds from this event will go to programs empowering individual women and fueling systemic change.