The Ruler

A ruler, a rebel, and a stranger play a three-way game of cat and mouse in a mythical province reminiscent of our own world. In a rapidly changing political landscape, are these players engaged in a friendly chat or a dangerous power struggle? Are they sliding down a slippery slope into fascism, or is this all a game? Who is telling the truth? Known for his plays that probe the layers of reality, Obie Award-winning local playwright Christopher Chen (Caught, Shotgun Players; You Mean To Do Me Harm; SF Playhouse) asks us to question our beliefs about power and authority in this new play specially commissioned by Aurora.

"Local playwright Chen is a talent to keep an eye on." — SF Chronicle

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Subscribe Today for the 2020/2021 Season

From love and parenting to a Greek tragedy in a South African prison, from Toni Morrison's first novel to Edward Albee's masterpiece, these brilliant plays each speak powerfully to our world in different ways, but each features characters facing up to a challenging new reality -- and deciding what they're going to do about it.


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Dear Friends, On March 13 -- which seems like several years ago at this point -- we announced the cancellation of Joe Orton’s LOOT. At the time, the shelter-in-place had not yet begun, and we had high hopes that life in the Bay Area would return to normal within a few weeks. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. And we still haven’t reached the peak. We’ve been following the news, searching for reasons to hope that we’ll be able to open our doors again sooner rather than later. But it has become clear that this is going to last a while longer, that people in our community and across the world are suffering, and that the responsible thing is to accept that the rest of our 2019/2020 Season isn’t going to happen as we had planned. So, with a heavy heart, I am announcing the cancellation of Christopher Chen’s THE RULER, and Laura Eason’s SEX WITH STRANGERS. These are wonderful plays, and I’m especially disappointed that the artists who had been preparing for these productions will be put out of work -- and that we won’t be able to share their work with all of you. That said, THE RULER is an Aurora Originate+Generate commission, a new play that we’ve been developing with Chris Chen and director Becca Wolff for two years. Is it our intention and our hope to produce the world premiere of THE RULER at a future date. On the brighter side, we have announced our 2020/2021 Season and we’re very much looking forward to the day when we can open our doors and welcome you all back inside. And in the meantime, we hope you’ll join us online each Friday at 4pm for Aurora Connects, our livestreamed virtual salon featuring Aurora artists, staff, and special guests. If you missed our first episode last Friday featuring Danny Scheie, Susan Lynskey, and Dean Linnard from the cast of LOOT, we’ll leave the link below. As you can imagine, the cancellation of half of our 2019-2020 Season is causing severe financial hardship, for the artists who are losing their gigs, our staff members who have had to reduce their hours and salaries, and for our organization overall. We are so grateful for the support we’ve received in the last weeks, including the many patrons who donated their tickets to LOOT back to us instead of requesting refunds. If you are able to do the same for THE RULER and SEX WITH STRANGERS, it would go a long way towards helping Aurora continue to remain a vital part of our community. Additional donations are also very much appreciated and will help make it possible for us to look forward with optimism to next season and beyond. Ticket Holders, please send an email with your donation or refund preference to You can also leave our box office a voicemail at 510.843.4822 but it may take a few days to get back to you. If we have not heard from you in the next three weeks we will contact you to confirm your preference. Thank you so much for your understanding and your support. Our thoughts are with you, our Aurora family. We hope you are staying safe and healthy, and that we will see you soon -- both at our virtual gatherings and in the theatre next season. Warm Regards, Josh Costello Artistic Director LINKS: - Aurora’s 2020/2021 Season: - Aurora Connects Webpage: - WATCH Aurora Connects Episode 1: DONATE to Aurora:

We're live! Join us for #AURORACONNECTS!
#AURORACONNECTS starts in 20 minutes! Join Josh & Dawn as they chat with actors Danny Scheie, Susan Lynskey, and Dean Linnard.

@AuroraTheatreCo “Sometimes someone will have to shift or change, and the person who has the most power should be the one who does that” -@claudiaalick with @seansanjova and @leighleeful talking about leaning into the discomfort of cultural and community change theatres in #welcometoourspace

@AuroraTheatreCo “Your intention is trying to hear and understand Shakespeare. And what I received is that I am less than the person who gave that glare.”– @leighleeful in reference to the intention vs. impact of tone policing in theatre space #welcometoourspace with @claudiaalick & @seansanjova

@AuroraTheatreCo "A microagression is someone telling me that I have to do something that no one else has to do."- @seansanjova as a part of examining what microagressions in theatre can look like in #welcometoourspace with @leighleeful and @claudiaalick