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The flagship play upon which Aurora Theatre Company was built, Dear Master by prize-winning Berkeley author Dorothy Bryant was originally produced at the Berkeley City Club in 1991. A dialogue in letters between the two great 19th-century French novelists, George Sand and Gustave Flaubert, Dear Master is an elegantly orchestrated play, providing flesh-and-blood portraits of these famed intellectual writers and revealing their fears, desires, heated opinions and friendship during an era marked by violence and political polarization.

“[Dear Master] shimmers with relevant and touching insights into politics, art and life.” SF Bay Guardian 

Runtime: approximately 90 minutes with no intermission

Member of *Actors' Equity Association, +Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, **United Scenic Artists

KIMBERLY KING* - George Sand
MICHAEL RAY WISELY* - Gustave Flaubert

JOY CARLIN+ - Director

ANNIE SMART** - Set Designer
ANNA OLIVER** - Costume Designer
KENT DORSEY** - Lighting Designer
CHRIS HOUSTON - Sound Designer
KEVIN JOHNSON* - Stage Manager

KIMBERLY KING* Kimberly has worked in theatres coast to coast for decades. Last fall she appeared at TheatreWorks with The Country House. At Seattle Rep she played Aoife in Outside Mullingar directed by Wilson Milam. For the Aurora she played the title role in Candida,  appeared with husband Ken Grantham in Intimate Exchanges and as Agnes and Tobias in A Delicate Balance. She was a leading resident ensemble member with The Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, Hartford Stage, and the Alley Theatre in Houston. She created the role of Becky in Steven Dietz's Becky's New Car at ACT Seattle, the role of Dolores in Craig Lucas's A Prayer for My Enemy at the Intiman, the role of Agatha in Amy Weissman's Hold, Please at South Coast Rep, and Miss Minchin for Susan Schulman's Little Princess.  She was Mary Tyrone in San Jose Rep's critically acclaimed production of Long Days Journey in to Night. Kimberly is a mezzo soprano with an opera, jazz, and musical theatre repertoire. She and Ken make their home in Poulsbo, Washington. www.greencatbb.com
MICHAEL RAY WISELY* Michael Ray Wisely is honored to be opening the 25 season at the Aurora having appeared in The Letters, The Arsonists, Trouble in Mind, The Devil’s Disciple, and The Birthday Party. Michael Ray recently returned from the Off-Broadway premiere of Ideation, by Aaron Loeb, directed by Aurora’s artistic associate, Josh Costello. Other recent roles include: Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at CenterRepertory, Buckingham in Richard III at Marin Shakespeare and the title role in Macbeth for the SF Shakespeare festival. Other Credits: TheatreWorks (Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird), Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Heartbreak House), Magic Theatre (The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, The American in Me) CenterRepertory Co. (Arms and the Man), Marin Theatre Co. (Seagull, Misalliance, Fugitive Kind), as well as many appearances with American Musical Theatre, San Jose Repertory, San Jose Stage Co., Shotgun Players, and others. Michael Ray has also starred and guest-starred in film, television and on the radio. Find out more at www.michaelraywisely.com
Member of *Actors' Equity Association, +Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, **United Scenic Artists

Kimberly King: Looking Forward, Looking Back

A recollection by Kimberly King on her first encounters with Aurora and Dear Master



Sand and Flaubert

by Josh Costello, Literary Manager & Artistic Associate

sandGeorge Sand is the pseudonym taken by novelist and memoirist Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin (1804-1876). Sand was raised on a country estate before being placed in a convent in Paris and then in an unhappy marriage; neither lasted. Returning to Paris in 1831, Sand soon gained fame as a writer of articles and novels, including Lélia (1833). She wrote propaganda for the February Revolution of 1848, but supported Versailles against the Paris Commune in 1871. Her friendships and romantic entanglements with various male and female luminaries included a long affair with Frédéric Chopin. Later in life, Sand returned to the countryside and her family, where she continued to write romantic novels and an extraordinary amount of correspondence.

flaubertGustave Flaubert (1821-1880) is known as the founder of literary realism. Madame Bovary (1857), his best-known work, inspired a trial against him for immorality; he was not convicted. Flaubert lived in Paris as a young law student, but retired to his family's estate near Rouen following an illness, without completing his studies. He traveled to the Middle East and wrote about his experiences -- including his dalliances with male and female prostitutes. Flaubert never married, though he carried on a long affair with the poet Louise Colet. His other works include Salammbô (1862), Sentimental Education (1869), The Temptation of St Anthony (1874), and Three Tales (1877). Flaubert's style inspired and influenced generations of writers, including Zola, Kafka, and Sartre.




1804 - George Sand born. Napoleon becomes Emperor of France.

1814 - Louis XVIII crowned King of France; monarchy re-established.

1821 - Flaubert born

1833 - Sand publishes Lélia, a novel about an independent woman.

1846 - Giving up on his law studies, Flaubert leaves Paris following his father's death.

1848 - February Revolution ushers in the French Second Republic; Sand writes leftist Revolutionary bulletins. Napoleon's nephew (later Napoleon III) elected President.

1849-50 - Flaubert travels to Middle East

1852 - Napoleon III suspends elected assembly, forms Second French Empire.

1857 - Flaubert publishes Madame Bovary, his first and most famous novel.

1869 - death and funeral of literary critic Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve. A major French literary critic, as well as a poet, professor, historian, and senator, Sainte-Beuve is mentioned frequently in Flaubert and Sand's correspondence.

June 1870 - death in exile of revolutionary hero Armand Barbès, a leading figure in various conspiracies, secret societies, coups, and  revolutions over multiple decades.

July 1870 - France declares war on Prussia (Germany); Prussia invades France.

September & October, 1870 - Leftist protesters in Paris demand a new government.

January 1871 - National Government negotiates armistice with Prussia; eventually agrees to pay 5 billion Francs in exchange for Prussian withdrawal.

March 1871 - Paris Commune, a revolutionary government restricted to Paris, established after clashes with National Government forces.

April/May 1871 - heavy violence in and around Paris between the National Guard (in theory, all able-bodied men of Paris, fighting for the Commune) and the regular army, invading Paris from Versailles in the name of the National Government. The National Guard is defeated amidst many executions and massacres on both sides. Perhaps as many as 20,000 killed during "The Bloody Week".

1874 - Flaubert publishes the final version of The Temptation of St Anthony.

1876 - Sand dies age 71 following an illness.

1880 - Flaubert dies of a stroke at age 58.

production photos
Photos by David Allen
*Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers
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