★★★★★ “Profoundly transforming ... inventively unexpected” —Sam Hurwitt, Marin IJ 

★★★★★ “Fascinating” —Kedar Adour, For All Events

“Startling, surprising and excellently executed ... a solid hit. ” —Steve Murray, Broadway World

★★★★ “One of the most engaging plays I've ever seen. Do not miss Wink.” —Doug Konecky, SF Theatre

“Beautifully written ... bursting with dark humor” —Patrick Thomas, Talkin’ Broadway

“Preposterous but fascinating.”  —Judy Richter, Daily Journal 

Sofie is an unhappy housewife. Gregor is her breadwinning husband. Dr. Frans is their strange psychiatrist. Wink is the cat*. And Wink has just gone missing. Secret desires, domestic anarchy, and feline vengeance at any cost make Wink an absurd, dark comedy about the thin, thin line between savagery and civilization.

*The role of Wink will be played by John William Watkins - get to know him and the whole Wink cast HERE!

Run time is approximately 75 minutes with no intermission. 

Special effects advisories: Strobe lights and haze will be used during this production. 

MTC provides advisories for each production regarding special effects that may affect patron health and physical sensitivities. MTC does not provide advisories relating to content, because content sensitivities vary from patron to patron. If you have questions about content, please contact the box office prior to purchasing your tickets as we do not offer refunds to patrons who choose not to see a show based on subject matter. 

The Generous support for Wink provided by The Shubert Foundation and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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Performance Schedule

Press Opening Night 

Tuesday, June 18, 7:30pm. 
Opening nights are not available for sale online. Seating is extremely limited.   

Questions? Please contact the Box Office directly: 
(415) 388-5208 | boxoffice@marintheatre.org 

Evenings

Tue - Sat 7:30pm  
Sunday June 23, 7:30pm

Matinees 

Sunday (Preview) June 16, 4pm    
Thursday (Perspectives) June 27, 1pm    
Saturdays, June 15, 22 & 29, July 6, 2pm    
Sundays June 23, 30, July 7, 2pm 


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Ticket Prices

Performance Center
seating
Side
seating
Previews (June 13 – 16) $39 $39
Sat Eve & Weekend Matinees $60 $55
Tue*, Wed, Thu, Fri & Sun Eve $52 $47
Perspectives Matinee $52 $47
Best Deal (see info below) $25 $25

Prices subject to change. 

Phone orders subject to a $10 per order fee; online orders subject to a $3 per order fee.

Tickets are subject to resale starting 5 minutes before curtain. Late seating is based on available seats.

Disabled seating is currently only available through the MTC Box Office (415.388.5208 or in person). We apologize for any inconvenience.

Discounts

  • BEST DEAL: $25 tickets in select seats available for all performances beginning one week before opening night. Available online. Questions? Call the box office at 415-388-5208
  • GROUPS: Bring eight or more people to receive a $7 discount on tickets. The group discount is automatically applied online. Questions? Call the box office at 415-388-5208.
  • SENIORS (65+): $4 off single tickets to all performances, available online.
  • UNDER 30: $25, all performances, available online.
  • TEENS: $10, all performances, available online.
  • MILITARY: $6 off all performances. Thank you for your service! Please call the box office to reserve at (415) 388-5208.
  • EDUCATOR: $12, all performances (limit 2). Must teach at a Marin County School. Call the box office to reserve at (415) 388-5208.

Promo Codes distributed for online redemption subject to availability.    
Only ONE (1) Promo Code will be valid per order.    
Promo Codes do not apply to Best Deal ($25) tickets.
Promo Codes do not apply to already discounted tickets (including Senior, Under 30, Teen, and Best Deal).


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Select a Performance

To begin your ticket purchase, select a performance from the calendar below:

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MTC Engaged Special Events

WINDOW ON THE WORK

WINDOW ON THE WORK

Thurs., June 6 | 7:00 PM

Window on the Works series focuses on our production; design, casting and rehearsal process. Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley.

PRIDE NIGHT

PRIDE NIGHT

Weds., June 19 | 6:45 PM

Join us here at MTC on Wednesday, June 19th at 6:45 PM for a complimentary pre-show networking reception and PRIDE celebration followed by the 7:30 PM performance of Wink! All tickets are Pay What You Can on the day-of, to the evening's performance, starting at 12:00 PM on 6/19 when the MTC Box Office opens. 

AFTER WORDS

AFTER WORDS

Post-Show

Post-show question and answer sessions, led by a member of our artistic staff, immediately following most performances (except on Opening and Closing Nights and Saturdays).

Wednesday Pre-Show Talk

Wednesday Pre-Show Talk

Every Wednesday | 7:10 PM

Join us in the theatre—with a beverage!—for a pre-show talk with a member of our artistic staff prior to every Wednesday evening performance.

Perspectives Matinee

Perspectives Matinee

Thurs., June 27 | 12:00 PM

Topical lecture one hour prior to the 1:00 PM open-captioned performance.

Cast

  • Kevin R. Free*

    Kevin R. Free*

    Dr. Frans

    Kevin R. Free (Dr. Frans) Selected Credits: Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind and The Infinite Wrench; From My Hometown; CasablancaBox; Night of the Living N-Word!! (Playwright/Performer, FringeNYC 2016 - Overall Excellence in Playwriting Award).REGIONAL: DAVE (Arena Stage); DOT (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Clybourne Park (Portland Center Stage); The Parchman Hour (Guthrie).FILM/TV/WEB:Eighth Grade; Murphy Brown; Law & Order:SVU. Gemma & The Bear! (Also writer/producer); BECKYS THROUGH HISTORY (Co-Writer). Podcasts: EPIC FAIL; Moth Radio Hour; Welcome to Night Vale. Narrator of 300 audiobooks. Former Producing Artistic Director of Obie Award-Winning Fire This Time Festival. Twitter/IG: @kevinrfree; Director/Playwright/Producer credits at www.kevinrfree.com

    + Show more
  • Seann Gallagher*

    Seann Gallagher*

    Gregor

    Seann Gallagher is delighted to be returning to Marin Theatre Company after playing Jake in last season’s production of STRAIGHT WHITE MEN. Other recent credits include SEASCAPE with American Conservatory Theater, THE REAL THING with Aurora Theatre Company, FROST/NIXON & THE VERTICAL HOUR with Neptune Theatre Company, HAMLET with Soulpepper Theatre Company, THE GLASS MENAGERIE with Canadian Stage Company, and LOVE’S LABOURS LOST with Repercussion Theatre. He also recently appeared on TV/film in BEAUTIFUL BOY, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, GOOD WITCH, ROGUE, and HANNIBAL among others. Seann is a graduate of the National Theatre School Of Canada and studied under Uta Hagen at Herbert Berghof Studios in New York.

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  • Liz Sklar*

    Liz Sklar*

    Sofie

    Liz Sklar is thrilled to be back at Marin Theater Company where she last played Soccer Mom in The Wolves. Most recently she was seen at A.C.T. in Men on Boats as Major Powell.  Other bay area credits include Annie in The Real Thing at Aurora Theatre Company, Desdemona in Othello at CalShakes, Trouble Cometh and Becky Shaw at San Francisco Playhouse, Care of Trees at Shotgun Players and Anne Boleyn, The Whale, Failure: A Love Story, Lasso of Truth, Othello, Seagull and Bellwether all at Marin Theater Company. Sklar holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from Brown University and an M.F.A. in Acting from A.C.T.

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  • ​John William Watkins*

    ​John William Watkins*

    Wink

    John William Watkins is making his Marin Theatre Company debut in Wink. He has recently been seen in the New York City immersive production of Sleep No More (Punchdrunk), God’s Fool (Martha Clarke) and The Threepenny Opera (Atlantic Theatre Company). Other Theatre credits include Worse Than Tigers (ACT/Seattle) and Guys On Ice (Riverside Theatre/Iowa City). His Television credits include Gotham (FOX), The Blacklist (NBC) and The Enemy Within (NBC). He is also a singer/songwriter who performs throughout the New York City club circuit. John would like to express love and gratitude to Mike, Jen and the cast and crew of Wink, and to his friends and family in New York City, Iowa and beyond.

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Creative Team

  • Jen Silverman

    Jen Silverman

    Playwright

    Jen Silverman is a New York-based playwright and writer. Born in the U.S., she was raised across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Her theatre work includes work includes: The Roommate (Humana Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Steppenwolf, South Coast Rep, among others); Collective Rage: A Play In 5 Betties (Woolly Mammoth, Southwark Playhouse in London, MCC Theatre, NYT Critic's Pick); The Moors (Yale Rep, The Playwrights Realm, Red Stitch in Melbourne, Seymour Center in Sydney); Dangerous House (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Witch (Writers Theatre, upcoming at The Geffen), and Wink (Marin Theatre Company). Jen is a member of New Dramatists, an affiliated artist with The Playwrights Center, New Georges, and SPACE on Ryder Farm, and has developed work with the O’Neill, The Ground Floor Residency at Berkeley Rep, and the Royal Court in London, among other places. She’s a two-time MacDowell fellow, recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Fellowship, the Yale Drama Series Award, the Helen Merrill Award, and a Lilly Award. She was the 2016-2017 Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellow at the Lark. Random House recently published her first book, The Island Dwellers, a collection of interlinked stories; her first novel is forthcoming with them. Jen also writes for TV and film, most recently on Netflix’s Tales of the City. Education: Brown, Iowa Playwrights Workshop, Juilliard. More info: www.jensilverman.com

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  • Mike Donahue^

    Mike Donahue^

    Director

    Mike Donahue is a New York-based director. NYC credits include: world premieres of Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride (MCC, The Geffen and Denver Center, Joe A. Callaway Award, Outer Critics Circle Nomination, Ovation Award Nomination); Jen Silverman’s Collective Rage (MCC, Woolly Mammoth, Drama League Nomination), The Moors (Playwrights Realm – NYC premiere), Phoebe in Winter (Clubbed Thumb) and The Hunters (Cherry Lane Mentor Project); Jordan Seavey’s Homos, Or Everyone In America (Labyrinth); and Ethan Lipton’s Red-Handed Otter (Playwrights Realm). Regionally: world premieres of Jen Silverman’s The Roommate(Humana, Williamstown, Long Wharf); Rachel Bonds’ Curve of Departure (South Coast Rep, Studio Theatre), The Wolfe Twins (Studio Theatre D.C.) and Swimmers (Marin); Matthew Lopez’s Zoey’s Perfect Wedding and Lauren Feldman’s Grace, or The Art of Climbing (Denver Center); and Shostakovich’s Moscow, Cheryomushki in a new libretto by Meg Miroshnik (Chicago Opera Theatre). Additionally regionally, Annie Baker’s adaptation ofUncle Vanya (Weston); Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles (Actors Theatre); Antony & Cleopatra (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis); and Assassins, Henry IV & V (co-directed with Joe Haj) and A Number (Playmakers Rep, 2011/12 Distinguished Guest Artist). Select readings/workshops: MTC, Roundabout Underground, NYTW, Soho Rep (Writer/Director Lab), McCarter, The O’Neill, Berkley Rep Ground Floor, South Coast Rep’s Pacific Playwrights Festival, New Dramatists, The Lark, Ars Nova, Primary Stages, Chautauqua, Cape Cod Theatre Project and Studio 42. Mike is recipient of a Fulbright to Berlin, the Dramaleague Fall Fellowship, The Boris Sagal Fellowship at Williamstown, winner of the Inaugural Opera America Director-Designer Showcase Award, and was the artistic director of the Yale Summer Cabaret for two seasons.  Mike is a graduate of Harvard University and the Yale School of Drama. Upcoming: world premieres of Jen Silverman's Wink and Kate Cortesi's Love (Marin) and Euripides The Bacchae (Baltimore Center Stage).  

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  • Dane Laffrey+

    Dane Laffrey+

    Scenic Designer/Costume Designer

    Dane Laffrey Broadway: set for Once On This Island (Tony, Drama Desk, Henry Hewes award nominations), set & costumes for Deaf West’s Spring Awakening, set for Fool For Love. Select off-Broadway: Collective Rage (MCC), Apologia (Roundabout), Dying City (Second Stage), Strange Interlude (Transport Group), Rancho Viejo (Playwrights Horizons), The Harvest (Lincoln Center), Summer and Smoke (CSC), Cloud 9 (Atlantic). Regional work at major theatres across the US including Center Theatre Group, Arena Stage, Geffen Playhouse, Williamstown, The Old Globe, and many others. 2017 Obie Award for sustained excellence. 

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  • Jen Schreiver+

    Jen Schreiver+

    Lighting Designer

    Jen Schriever  Bay Area: Angels In America, What the Constition Means to Me, Chinglish (Berkely Rep). Broadway: What The Constitution Means to Me, The Lifespan of a Fact, Eclipsed, Ghetto Klown. Off-Broadway: Superhero (Playwrights Horizons), A Strange Loop  (2ST); What the Constitution Means to Me (NYTW); Thom Pain, Night is a Room (Signature); Collective Rage, School Girls…. (MCC); Usual Girls, Bobbie Clearly, On The Exhale (Roundabout); Dan Cody’s Yacht, In the Body of the World (MTC); Strange Interlude (Transport Group); Opera: Die Fledermaus (Metropolitan Opera); The Pearl Fishers (English National Opera, London). www.jenschriever.com

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  • Jake Rodriguez+

    Jake Rodriguez+

    Sound Designer

    Jake Rodriguez is a sound designer and composer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His recent credits include Oedipus el Rey (Magic Theatre); The Great LeapHer PortmanteauSweat and Vietgone (A.C.T.); Women Laughing Alone with Salad and The Events (Shotgun Players); Everybody (California Shakespeare Theatre); Angels in America and An Octoroon (Berkeley Repertory Theatre); we, the invisibles (Actors Theatre of Louisville); A Thousand Splendid Suns (A.C.T., Theatre Calgary, Grand Theater, The Old Globe); The Christians (Playwrights Horizons, the Mark Taper Forum); Girlfriend (Kirk Douglas Theatre); and Mr. Burns, a post-electric play (A.C.T., the Guthrie Theater). Rodriguez is the recipient of a 2004 Princess Grace Award.

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  • Daniel Kluger

    Daniel Kluger

    composer (Roland’s Song)

    Daniel Kluger Broadway: Daniel Fish’s Oklahoma!, (new arrangements & orchestrations), revival of Marvin’s Room, world premiere of Significant Other. Off Broadway: premieres of I Was Most Alive With You, Animal, The Village Bike, Man From Nebraska, Tribes, and Women or Nothing. Kluger has produced dozens of other scores for Off Broadway theaters including Lincoln Center, Roundabout Theatre Company, The Atlantic, Second Stage, Playwrights Horizons, and Vineyard Theater, as well as some of the country’s premier regional theaters: The Mark Taper Forum, The Ford's Theater, Yale Repertory Theater. www.danielkluger.com

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  • Betsy Norton*

    Betsy Norton*

    Stage Manager

    Betsy Norton most recently stage managed Oslo after four seasons (and over 15 shows!) as Production Assistant for the company. Other works include: stage managing Mike Birbiglia: The New One (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), PAing Monsoon Wedding (Berkeley Repertory Theatre) and Amélie: A New Musical (Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Center Theatre Group), and stage managing for the MTC summer camps. Betsy is a proud new member of Actors' Equity.

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  • Dave Maier

    Dave Maier

    Fight Director

    Dave Maier returns to Marin Theatre Co. after directing fights for Shakespeare In Love. Other Marin Theatre Co. credits include peerlessThe Convertand Othello.  He is the resident fight director at San Francisco Opera and California Shakespeare Theatre. His work has been seen at many bay area theatres including ACT, Berkeley Rep, SF Playhouse, Center Rep, Aurora Theatre, Magic Theatre, and Shotgun Players.  He is recognized as a Master Fight Director and Senior Instructor by Dueling Arts International and has won several awards including the 2018 Theatre Bay Area Award for Outstanding Fight Choreography for his work on Quixote Nuevoat Cal Shakes. Mr. Maier teaches combat related courses at Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, Studio ACT, St. Mary’s College of California, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

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  • Assistant Costume Designer

    Assistant Costume Designer

    Katherine Nowacki

    Katherine is a Bay Area based costume designer and stylist. Previously at MTC she designed costumes for The WolvesShakespeare in Love, and Gem of the Ocean. Recent work includes Pandora's Gift at Z Space with musical group VOLTI, Xtigone at African-American Shakespeare Company, A Raisin in the Sun and A Winter's Tale at California Shakespeare Theater, and Death of a Salesman at Theatreworks Colorado Springs. Her designs have been seen throughout California, Colorado, Oregon, and Texas. She holds an MFA from Southern Methodist University, a BFA from Southern Oregon University, and studied dance/ performance art/ and multi-media design as part of a graduate workshop at the renowned artist residence and laboratory Les Subsistances in Lyon, FR. A long admirer of August Wilson's work she is thrilled to be returning to Marin Theatre Company to be a part of How I Learned What I Learned.

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  • ​Laura Brueckner

    ​Laura Brueckner

    Literary Manager/Production Dramaturg

    Laura Brueckner has been supporting productions and playwrights with her dramaturgical work for over 20 years, with an emphasis on digital dramaturgy, world premieres, and commissions. During this time, she has been proud to count among her collaborators stellar artists such as MTC Playwright in Residence Lauren Gunderson, Christopher Chen, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Mina Morita, Marissa Wolf, Idris Goodwin, Lachlan Philpott, and Dominique Serrand, as well as groundbreaking companies Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Crowded Fire Theater, The New Harmony Project, Playwrights Foundation, and, now, Marin Theatre Company. As an artist, she is committed to theatre as a path of social action, critical inquiry, discovery, and delight. Her journalistic writing on artistic process and audience engagement has been published by HowlRound and Theatre Bay Area; her dramaturgical writing has been published by Berkeley Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, and Crowded Fire. A current member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, she holds a B.A. in English dramatic literature (magna cum laude) from U.C. Berkeley and a Ph.D. in dramaturgy from U.C. San Diego.

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  • Dori Jacob

    Dori Jacob

    Casting Director

    Dori Jacob joined Marin Theatre Company as the casting director in May 2015. For the previous four seasons, she served as the director of new play development for Magic Theatre in San Francisco, and dramaturged its world premieres of Octavio Solis’ Se Llama Cristina, Linda McLean’s Every Five Minutes, Christina Anderson’s PEN/MAN/SHIP, and John Kolvenbach’s Sister Play. As resident producer for Magic Theatre’s developmental programming, Ms. Jacob’s credits include 2011-2015 Virgin Play Series, the 2012 Asian Explosion Reading Series, and the 2013 Costume Shop Festival. Further Bay Area dramaturgy/producing/casting credits include: Assassins at Shotgun Players, Marilee Talkington’s The Creative Process at SOMArts, Laura Schellhardt’s The Comparables, and Elizabeth Hersh’s Shelter in Place at Playwrights Foundation. Ms. Jacob previously served on the executive board and literary committee for the National New Play Network, is a current member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and is a graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz and N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of the Arts.

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  • Trevor Scott Floyd

    Trevor Scott Floyd

    Artistic Producer

    Trevor (he/him/his) started as an Artistic Direction intern with MTC in 2015 and, prior to his current role as Artistic Producer, spent two seasons as Director of Ticketing, Artistic Associate, and Company Manager. As Artistic Producer, Trevor serves as MTC's local Casting Director. Originally from the beaches of South Carolina, he graduated with a dual major in Theatre and Political Science from Clemson University before trading in the Palmetto trees for the Redwoods. In addition to his role at MTC he is a freelance director and writer. You can read his latest work on the New Play Exchange.

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  • Julia Formanek

    Julia Formanek

    Production Assistant/Assistant Stage Manager

    Julia is excited to return to Marin Theatre Company where her previous productions include The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, Oslo, Marjorie Prime, and Shakespeare in Love. Other regional credits include: EverbodyAs You Like it (California Shakespeare Theater), Widower’s Houses (Aurora), The Obligation (Potrero Stage), and Measure for Measure (Santa Cruz Shakespeare.) She is a graduate of Beloit College.

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  • ​Whitney Stone

    ​Whitney Stone

    Assistant Director

    Whitney Stone is a stage director and choreographer recently relocated from New York City. She is thoroughly enjoying her time as an Artistic Direction Intern with MTC, and recently served as the assistant choreographer on Jazz. Whitney holds a BFA in Theatre Arts Performance and a Dance minor from Hofstra University. Her recent directing credits include The Lion...The Wardrobe (Nueva School for the Arts), Something’s Afoot (Maggie’s Little Theater), and the Off-Broadway premiere of Francine Pellegrino’s Molasses in January. She has directed and choreographed for numerous university programs, summer stock houses, and new and short play festivals in NYC. She is a proud alumna of Director’s Lab West, and an associate member of SDC.

    + Show more


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

Reviews

  • “Wink” is bursting with dark humor

    Sofie is unhappy. Her cat Wink has gone missing, and it's tearing her apart. Her husband Gregor is unconcerned, suggesting Wink went on a little walkabout, the way cats sometimes do. "He's an indoor cat," she hisses at him, and asks Gregor to say the cat's name, because "I can hear in your voice how much you hate him." If Sofie knew just how much Gregor hates the cat (or hates loving the cat, or loves hating the cat) and how he has expressed his antipathy toward his wife's prized pet, she would jump out of her skin. And she already has a hard time keeping in it as it is.

    In Jen Silverman's play, also called Wink, now its world premiere production at Marin Theatre Company, everything and everyone is decidedly off-kilter, yet for the most part, no one treats the strange goings-on as anything out of the ordinary. When Sofie, in a fit of grief, virtually destroys the house where she and Gregor live (nicely designed by Dane Laffrey to look like it was furnished entirely from Living Spaces and Petco), overturning furniture and flinging boxes full of cat toys (and worse) everywhere, it's left that way for the rest of the play, and is never commented upon. They all just soldier on, ignoring the detritus and destruction.

    Sofie and Gregor (played by Liz Sklar and Seann Gallagher, respectively) have a relationship that is just as messy, which is why both individually visit the same therapist, Dr. Frans (Kevin R. Free, in a show-stealing performance). This is generally frowned upon by the psychiatric community, but not as frowned upon as the rest of his treatment approach, which sometimes consists of suggesting to his clients that, when a difficult or challenging emotion arises, they should "slam it down!," or blithely repeating how "normal" Sofie's and Gregor's behaviors and innermost thoughts are—even when they are decidedly not. Kevin R. Free has a marvelous time with this role. Although his character is the quietest and most reserved, he plays it perfectly, with slow burns that build comic tension and an air of confident cluelessness.

    Without spoiling one of the show's best surprises, John William Watkins appears as a fourth character with a physicality and attitude that matches the role Silverman has written beautifully.

    Wink is the winner of Marin Theatre's 2018 Sky Cooper New American Play Prize, and it's bursting with dark humor and a furious insight into the ways we humans relate to each other. It also has something to say about how we don't relate to each other, but instead pursue our own interests, our own desires, and our own kinks, even at the cost of our relationships—or our own sanity. Wink is confusing at times, with a vaguely unsatisfying conclusion, but there's so much humor and creativity on display here, you owe it to yourself to be among the first to experience the world Jen Silverman and the team at Marin Theatre Company have put on stage for you.

    — Patrick Thomas, Talkin’ Broadway Read full review
  • Skinning the cat is just for starters in wild ‘Wink’ at MTC

    Pets have been having a hard time at the theater lately. At some point last week I had the disturbing realization that two of the last four plays I’d seen had a comedic scene about one of the characters having just intentionally killed a dog or a cat. It’s the stuff of which content warnings are made. There’s a crowdsourced “emotional spoilers” website literally titled doesthedogdie.com, and just a few weeks ago the New York Times ran an article headlined, “Does Anything Awful Happen to the Cat in the Play?”

    Something awful does indeed happen to the cat in “Wink,” the world premiere by playwright Jen Silverman (who also wrote SF Playhouse’s recent “The Roommate”) now playing at Marin Theatre Company, and we know it pretty much right away.

    Anxious and distraught, her wringing hands clutched to her chest, Sofie (Marin native and MTC regular Liz Sklar, entertainingly and sympathetically agitated) opens the play asking her husband what happened to her missing cat, saying she knows he always hated the cat and all but accusing him of having done away with it.

    Emotionally distant husband Gregor (amusingly restrained Seann Gallagher, recently seen at MTC in “Straight White Men”) denies knowing anything about the cat’s disappearance, but in such a bland and offhand way that we don’t believe him any more than she does. And indeed, in the next scene he’s talking matter-of-factly to his psychotherapist about having skinned the cat.

    Kevin R. Free is hilariously upbeat and untroubled about the whole thing as Dr. Frans, a deeply repressed and prim shrink with an endearingly dandyish personal style (costumes by Dane Laffrey, who also did the scenic design) and consistently terrible advice.

    As grotesque as the cat thing is — and it gets worse — here it’s far from a gratuitous gag. It sets the pace for the perverse emotional and psychological words of the play, which only gets more depraved from there. At the same time it becomes more touching, because as the characters spiral they’re also stripped more emotionally bare.

    It helps, of course, that the cat still hangs around as a character in the play. Embodying feline characteristics in his body language without any cat costume per se, John William Watkins is wonderfully lithe and preening as Wink, charismatic and eloquent in his expression of pure libertine id.

    The cast is pitch-perfect throughout the beautifully escalating staging by director Mike Donahue, a frequent collaborator with Silverman who’s directed a number of her plays elsewhere. (At Marin, Donahue directed Rachel Bonds’ “Swimmers” in 2017 and will also be helming the world premiere of Kate Cortesi’s “Love” next March.)

    Anyone with a cat allergy might start sneezing at the sight of Laffrey’s set, a spacious living room sparely furnished for humans but cluttered with cat beds, climbing structures and other feline accessories. Serving interchangeably as the couple’s house and the doctor’s home base, the set gets radically transformed in a phenomenal tour-de-force display of grief by Sklar’s Sofie.

    It’s a play in which even talking about the first few minutes feels like a spoiler, but there are many, many delightfully disturbing surprises to come in its tight 75 minutes without intermission. All the characters have their own obsessions that become more and more extreme as the play goes on, driving them apart, bringing them together and profoundly transforming them in inventively unexpected ways. It just goes to show, if your play really does have to skin a cat, there certainly is more than one way to do it.

    — Sam Hurwitt, Marin IJ Read full review
  • Wink fascinates at Marin

    Wink is a cat and it is well established that it is impossible to “own” a cat since their innate personalities would not allow it. However the person who is allowed, by the cat, to provide food and shelter can and does become emotionally attached that borders on psychiatric obsession. Those are primary premises of Jen Silverman’s “off the wall” (That quotation will be discussed later) play that exploded on the Marin Theatre’s stage on Tuesday night.

    It’s not that simple in a Jen Silverman play. She prides herself on being a “queer writer” and this play that has been seven years in the making sort of proves it. She cleverly throws in Dr. Franz (Kevin R. Free) a psychiatrist who gives bad personal advice plus a husband Gregor (Sean Gallagher) and a wife Sofie (Liz Sklar) who have marital problems. Wink, the anthropomorphized cat who invests the “body” of Wink without a skin is played by scene stealing John William Watkins.

    When the curtain rises and since there is no curtain, when the lights come up on the modern set there is no doubt who owns the roost since human furniture is limited with a plethora of cat paraphernalia completely lining the walls. Sofie is vacuuming the floor aggressively with her face screwed up in anger. Wink is missing and she knows that Gregor is responsible. Literally and actually all hell breaks loose and Scenic Designer, Dane Laffrey’s set is thrashed and remains that way for the remainder of the play.

    Gregor admits to Dr. Franz that he has skinned Wink and buried him in the garden. He is advised to dig up Wink as a first step in controlling guilt feelings. That is bad, bad advice and the skinned Wink bounces over the back wall wearing only a brief jock strap and as any cat worth its salt usually does takes over the action allowing the others to share the stage.

    Both Gregor and Sofie get their time on Dr. Frans’ couch and both receive questionable advice. When it is Wink’s turn on the couch he verbally seduces Dr. Franz and they form a “relationship.”  It is one of the hilarious scenes in the play.

    Playwright Silverman is a master at creating diverse interpersonal relationships for the stage. Her two-hander The Roomate that was given a superb outing by San Francisco playhouse was a perfect example that ability. Although that play showed a quieter side of Silverman’s nature, Wink allows her to blatantly challenge the audience with obvious yet hidden philosophical reflections on what is under the skin and the problems with investing yourself in the skin of others.

    The play races along at a break-neck pace and each actor has given Mike Donahue’s  intricate direction an added boost to this hilarious problematic play that earns a solid “should see” rating in 85 minutes or less. While you are absorbed with the action loaded with nuance playing out on stage there is almost perfect final scene when Sofie is ready to “climb the wall” and there is no physical wall to climb!

    — —Kedar Adour, For All Events Read full review
  • Company explores the thin line between savagery and civilization.

    A dead skinned cat is the impetus for momentous personality shifts in Jen Silverman's brilliant season finale for Marin Theatre Company. Boldly creative, smartly crafted and very, very darkly comic, Wink follows a very unhappy couple, housewife Sophie and her husband Gregor, as they work through their most recent marital impasse with a seriously flawed therapist. When Sophie's beloved cat Wink disappears, all hell breaks loose, and everyone's lives are forever altered. In examining the complexities of this relationship gone awry, Silverman expands the scope to include an indictment of gender expectations and "the thin line between savagery and civilization."

    When we first meet Sophie (Liz Sklar) and Gregor (Seann Gallagher) in their neatly appointed brown and beige mid-century modern living room, you can tell they aren't on the same page. Sophie's deeply upset about Wink, almost unnaturally so, but Gregor blithely shrugs it off. Blackout to the therapist's office where Gregor tells Doctor Frans that he killed, skinned and buried Wink in a rage that both bewilders and excites him. He's kept the skin in a hidden box as a trophy. Doctor Frans questions Gregor about this non-consensual skinning", the killing of his wife's male pet, and declares that the root cause is 'latent homosexual tendencies' that he must "press them down". Gregor questions this and asks whether it might not be homosexual tendencies, but deep inner rage and violent thoughts.

    Sophie, likewise, gets an unorthodox diagnosis from the Doctor. She's murderously sad about the missing Wink, so what's her cure? Housework! "There's no joy in spontaneity" he tells her, mundane, predictable depressing hobbies like making placemats are the answer. Its Silverman's not so subtle satire of warped psychobabble that illustrates the confusion and alienation rampant in today's culture. Sophie's housework therapy takes a turn for the worse when her vacuuming becomes a full blown rage attack and she litters the room with Wink's toys, kitty litter and a bottle of Rosè before taking a bat to the walls. Liz Sklar is amazingly vacuous and empty at first. She's lost both her husband and her replacement love Wink. As her fantasies grow to include rape (an extreme replacement for sexual longing), Sklar's eyes become dangerous with excitement, her mannerisms tough and confident.

    When Gregor comes home from his monotonous, thankless job, Sophie concocts a ridiculous tale of being assaulted by a burglar who eventually morphs into a terrorist named Roland who sexually assaulted her. It's the beginning of her disassociation from herself. Gregor will also make a startling transformation - wearing the fur skin as underwear and desiring more murderous acts. There's no repairing their relationship as they both are reborn into raw, amoral creatures. Seann Gallagher plays Gregor as the meek, lost male. Full of repressed aggression that he's forced to sublimate, he becomes sociopathic. When he's seen relishing his hidden trophy, toy can feel the misplaced lust of a man caught in a loveless marriage and a mind-numbing career.

    So, what's going on with Doctor Frans (Kevin R. Free) you may ask. Well the very buttoned up doc is visited by Wink (John William Watkins), skinned, buried but certainly not dead. Wink moves right in, demanding to be fed, sleeping in the doctor's bed and plotting his revenge against Gregor. The roles flip, and Wink performs therapy on Frans, changing his posture and stance, making him remove his shoes and socks. It's liberation for Frans and a strange love affair begins. Their new mantra is "lift it up", but Wink cannot be happy being the object of another person's love. He can't allow himself to be skinned twice.

    Free is sadly comic as the unorthodox therapist who needs a thorough overall himself. Free becomes sympathetic when he falls for wink and allows him self to change. John William Watkins is a scene stealer, transforming himself into a cat with uncanny feline mannerisms. It's both creepy and mesmerizing. His vengeance-fueled confrontation with Gregor is explosive and emotional, as is Gregor and Sophie's funeral for the dead and skinned old Sophie.

    Director Mike Donahue has taken Silverman's biting script and somehow captured the emotional turmoil on the stage. The actors become dysfunctional, the action moves swiftly though the 75 minutes and the amorphized Wink is startling, surprising and excellently executed. Once the neatly appointed set, designed by Dane Laffrey, is ravaged, the chaos of the characters is palpable through the set and the incredible, demonic red and orange dramatic lighting of Jen Schreiver.

    Celebrating its most successful season ever, MTC has a solid hit with Silverman's unique vision and the high level of excellence from director, cast and crew.

    — Steve Murray, Broadway World Read full review
  • BANG!

    Let's not beat around the bush: Jen Silverman's "Wink" is one of the most engaging plays I've ever seen. Wink is a cat, played by a muscly actor (John William Watkins) in the skimpiest of loin cloths. (Clearly, this cat has never been neutered.) He is beloved by his owner, Sophie (Liz Sklar), a frustrated stay-at-home housewife, and despised by Liz's husband Gregor (Seann Gallagher). Kevin R. Free plays Dr. Frans, a shrink who is counseling not only Liz and Gregor but the cat, Wink.  What happens next is audacious, innovative, completely surprising and jaw-dropping.

    At one point Gregor strips off his clothing to reveal -- well, that was one of the longest, deepest, choking belly laughs I've heard in years in the theater.The scene were Wink and the Shrink are both on the floor, facing each other on their knees, moving in for the inevitable kiss, closer, closer -- is a tour de force. Director Mike Donahue lets nature take its slow and steady course and the result is purringly beautiful.At the curtain, the actors take their bows at the front of a stage littered with strewn cat toys and busted-in walls, from Sophie's remarkable stage-destruction scene at the beginning.

    To think she gets to do this eight times a week!Each actor has a shining moment: Jen's set destruction, Gregor's soliloquy which takes his life backwards in five year intervals, The Doctor's realization that love comes when we do not expect it, and, of course, Wink's reaction to humans, followed by his understanding about the irreversability of fate.

    Do not look for spectacular reviews. If you are trying to tie A to B to C, you aren't going to get anywhere. Silverman's point is that we all eventually return to our true natures. We can't avoid it and no stage can hold us in.Please. 

    Do not Miss "Wink."

    — —Doug Konecky, SF Theatre Read full review
  • Marin Theatre stages premiere of dark, funny ‘Wink’

    A missing cat leads to the undoing of the three human characters in Jen Silverman’s “Wink,” a world premiere presented by Marin Theatre Company.

    The cat, Wink, was loved by Sofie (Liz Sklar) and despised by her husband, Gregor (Seann Gallagher). Both are separately seeing a psychiatrist, Dr. Frans (Kevin R. Free), about their troubled marriage.

    Gregor tells Dr. Frans that, unbeknownst to Sofie, he killed the cat by skinning it and burying it in the garden. However, he saved the skin and keeps it in a box.

    As advised by Dr. Frans, Sofie numbly does housework until one day, while vacuuming, she goes berserk.

    She strews boxes of cat toys onto the floor and upends the cat perches and even the furniture. For the coup de grâce, she pounds holes in the walls.

    When Gregor returns from work, she says an attacker made the mess. In her mind, she calls him Roland and attributes all sorts of disasters to him.

    Next, Wink (John William Watkins), wearing nothing but a flesh-colored thong and smeared with dirt, vaults onto the wall.

    Soon he moves in on Dr. Frans in a relationship that has homoerotic overtones.

    By the play’s end, all three humans are in bad shape, but Wink leaves to go about his cat ways. As directed by Mike Donahue, the four actors are superb, but special note needs to be made of Watkins’ ability to mimic a cat’s movements even though the character is weird.

    The set, which doubles as Sofie and Gregor’s home and as Dr. Frans’ office, is by Dane Laffrey, who also designed the costumes.

    Lighting is by Jen Schreiver, sound by Jake Rodriguez and fight choreography by Dave Maier. Daniel Kluger wrote the song that Sofie sings.

    Laced with dark humor, “Wink” is preposterous but fascinating.

    — —Judy Richter, San Mateo Daily Journal Read full review

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