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An Accident

An Accident
(April 15 - May 9, 2010)

by Lydia Stryk
directed by Rob Melrose


When a woman is critically injured in an accident, can the same man who almost took her life save her? There are encounters in life that take you somewhere you’ve never been and never meant to go. With violent precision, savage imagery and theatrical vitality, Lydia Stryk writes an extraordinary play about recovery. An Accident is both visceral playground and emotional minefield.

This production contains adult situations and is not appropriate for children.

Read features and reviews of An Accident:

...seamlessly choreographed by director Rob Melrose... The degree to which [Arwen Anderson] makes us feel her physical struggle in our own bodies makes her sinuous progress in a walker our triumph, too. — Robert Hurwitt, San Francisco Chronicle

[Read the full article here]

Arwen displays rugged theatrical discipline as she lies on the bed complaining that she cannot move. Tim ably exhibits a major internal conflict over his regrets about loving the body he wrecked. Their acting techniques and Rob’s direction make this one of the most richly realistic, while sweetly ironic productions Magic has put up since Loretta Greco took over as Artistic Director.  — Albert Goodwyn,

[Read the full article here]

Two outstanding actors...kept me in intense  interest with their remarkable performances. "An Accident"...will keep you at the edge of your seat. ...It's an emotional surprise. — Jerry Friedman, KGO Radio
An Accident takes us on a roller-coaster of emotion. It’s all here: guilt, sorrow, remorse, fear, shame, longing and desire. ...It’s powerful and riveting theater. 
— Clinton Stark, StarkSilverCreek

[Read the full article here]

I know that if I turn left right now it would have consequences. Or right. The moments are different. You know that every move you make can have a certain consequence. You move through the world somewhat differently. You're not as innocent. (Lydia Stryk) 
— Jean Schiffman, San Francisco Arts Monthly

[Read the full article here]

On some level, you have to expect unconventional things from a playwright who hails from the town that gave birth to barbed wire. Imagine the metaphoric wonders that can arise from that. (...)[It's] a gutsy emotional endeavor. 
— Greg Archer,

[Read the full article here]

"I think all of us, at any moment, can become an accident victim or someone who causes an accident," Stryk said. "I expect people will relate to the play based on their own experiences. ...I'd like them to come in and let [the play] overtake them." 
— Maureen Bogues, 96Hours (San Francisco Chronicle)

[Read the full article here]

It is a sharp commentary on modern life, technology and communication. 
— Kedar Adour, For All Events

[Read the full article here]

...Anderson's performance is the kind of tour de force that Bay Area theatregoers won't want to miss. 
— George Heymont, My Cultural Landscape

[Read the full article here]

"Rob and Lydia and Loretta all really wanted to make sure Tim and I were fearless and took it as far in any direction that we needed to," [Arwen Anderson] said. 
— Emily Wilson,

[Read the full article here]

...[a] deftly written script... [Stryk's] portrayal of Libby's experience jabs you right under the solar plexus. 
— Amber Adrian, 7x7

[Read the full article here]

[Arwen Anderson delivers] a subtle and beautiful piece of acting, reminiscent of the actress Billie Whitelaw being physically confined in various plays by Samuel Beckett. I've seen Anderson act in many shows in the past...but this is the first time I have been swept away by her virtuostic talent.
— Chloe Veltman, lies like truth

[Read the full article here]

Arwen y Tim han sido perfectamente elegidos para, con gusto y tacto enviar el mensaje de agonía por parte de la víctima y del victimario, y al final no se sabe bien quien es quien. (Arwen and Tim have been perfectly cast to portray this message with love and precision of agony from the victin and the agressor, in the end you don’t know which is which.) 
— staff writer, San Francisco Tribune

[Read the full article here]

Meet the Playwright

Lydia Stryk (Playwright) was born in DeKalb, Illinois, birthplace of barbed wire. She grew up between DeKalb and London, England, and as a child also lived in Japan where she studied Kabuki and performed on the stage, and in Iran. She later trained to be an actress at the Drama Centre, London--a career she pursued in New York for exactly one year before going back to school to study history, education and later, journalism. While interning at the weekly journal, The Nation, she wrote a play, coming full circle back to the theatre, but this time as a writer. She has a Ph.D. in Theatre from the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York. Her dissertation, "Acting Hysteria: An Analysis of the Actress and her Part" was in part an attempt to understand why her own short-lived experience acting the woman's part on stage felt pathological. She is the author of fifteen full-length plays including Monte Carlo, The House of Lily, The Glamour House, Lady Lay, Safe House, On Clarion, Ghost Mall and American Tet, and a few short ones, which have been seen at festivals across the country and produced at, among others, Denver Center Theatre, Perseverance Theatre, Alaska, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Victory Gardens, The Contemporary American Theatre Festival, and in Germany at Schauspiel Essen, Theaterhaus Stuttgart and the English Theater Berlin. She has been commissioned by Pittsburgh Public Theatre and Geva Theatre, Rochester and is the recipient of a Berrilla Kerr Playwright Award. She lives between Berlin and New York City.

Meet the Cast & Crew

Rob Melrose (Director) is the Artistic Director and co-founder of The Cutting Ball Theater where he has directed The Bald SopranoVictims of Duty, Bone to Pick (world premiere), Endgame, Krapp’s Last Tape, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Hamletmachine, As You Like It, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Mayakovsky: A Tragedy, My Head Was a Sledgehammer, Roberto Zucco, The Vomit Talk of Ghosts (world premiere), The Sandalwood Box, Pickling, Ajax for Instance, Helen of Troy (world premiere) and Drowning Room (world premiere) and has translated No Exit, Woyzeck, Pelléas and Mélisande, The Bald Soprano and Ubu Roi. He has directed at The Guthrie Theater: Happy Days, Pen; The California Shakespeare Theater: Villains, Fools, and Lovers; Black Box Theater: The Creature, Actors’ Collective: Hedda Gabler; Alias Stage: Creditors; Crowded Fire: The Train Play; C.A.F.E.: Chain Reactions; Perishable Theatre: All Spoken by a Shining Creature (world premiere); Yale Summer Cabaret: Endgame, The Shawl; Princeton Summer Theater: Twelfth Night. As assistant director he has worked at The Public Theater / New York Shakespeare Festival: Hamlet (Oskar Eustis, director) Berkeley Repertory Theatre: The Pillowman (Les Waters, director) American Conservatory Theater: Indian Ink (Carey Perloff, director); The Guthrie Theater: Othello (Joe Dowling, director) Yale Repertory Theater: Twelfth Night (Mark Rucker, director) and as directing intern at The McCarter Theatre: The Glass Menagerie (Emily Mann, director). He has an M.F.A. in directing from the Yale School of Drama and a B.A. in English and Theater from Princeton University and is a recipient of the NEA / TCG Career Development Program for Directors. This Spring, he will be the Public Theater’s artist in residence at Stanford University.

Arwen Anderson (Libby) is thrilled to return to Magic where she previously appeared in the world premieres of Mrs. WhitneyExpedition 6, and The Rules of Charity, as well as Theresa Rebeck'sMauritius. Favorite credits include Streetcar Named Desire (Marin Theatre Company); Lobby Hero and The Shape of Things (Aurora Theatre Company); T.I.C. Trenchcoat in Common (Encore Theatre Company); Skin (Climate Theatre & Encore Theatre Company); 4 Adverbs (Word for Word); 43 Plays for 43 Presidents (Rough & Tumble); Nickel & Dimed (TheatreWorks & Brava); I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (Marines Memorial Theatre); Current Nobody (Just Theater); and Midsummer/4 (Central Works). She is also a professional aerialist and recently performed doubles trapeze with San Francisco's own beloved New Pickle Circus. Ms. Anderson graduated with degrees in Theatre and Psychology from Wesleyan University, performs locally as a singer/songwriter, and trains and teaches aerial silk and trapeze at the Circus Center of San Francisco.

Tim Kniffin (Anton) makes his Magic debut with An Accident. His credits include Paul inPermanent Collection and Cantwell in The Best Man (Best Production and Best Ensemble-Bay Area Critics Circle) at Aurora Theatre; Biff in Death Of A Salesman and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing/In The Mood at 6th Street Playhouse; Picasso in Picasso At The Lapin Agile at Knoxville's Clarence Brown Theatre; Brick in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at Theater Schmeater; Mitch in Streetcar Named Desire and John in Betrayal at Pacific Alliance; Gene in Side Man and Elyot in Private Lives at Spokane Interplayers Ensemble; and Antony Wilding in Enchanted April at The Cinnabar Theatre. Mr. Kniffin has also performed at Center Repertory, Marin Theatre Company, Seattle Repertory, Book-It Repertory, Tacoma Actors Guild, Seattle Shakespeare, Dallas Theatre Center, The Kennedy Center, Sonoma County Repertory Theatre, Porchlight, Playground and Drugie Studio (Wroclaw, Poland). He recently directed The Seafarer for Narrow Way Stage Company, and has just finished shooting for NBC's Trauma and the BBC's How To Make Your First Billion. Mr. Kniffin is a San Francisco native, a graduate of Sonoma State University (BA), and S.M.U.'s Meadows School of the Arts (MFA).

Erik Flatmo (Set & Costume Designer) has designed scenery for many Magic productions including the recent premieres ofOedipus El ReyAmerican HwangapEvie’s Waltz and Octopus. Locally, his work has been seen at A.C.T., California Shakespeare Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Theatreworks, and San Jose Repertory Theatre. His regional credits include work at the Asolo Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory, The Play Company, and Rattlestick Playwrights’ Theatre. His work in dance includes collaborations with choreographers Joe Goode, Trajal Harrell, and Robert Moses and has been presented at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, On the Boards (Seattle), many venues in New York City (Danspace Project, The Kitchen and Dance Theatre Workshop), and internationally at festivals in Poland, France, and Mexico. He has also designed scenery for San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and San Jose Opera. Mr. Flatmo is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and teaches set design at Stanford University.

Sara Huddleston (Sound Designer) joined the Magic staff in March ‘07 as their Production Director and Resident Sound Designer. Recent Magic credits include The K of DEvie’s WaltzTough TittyMauritiusGoldfishMrs. Whitney and Octopus(Encore Theatre Company/Magic Theatre). Other select Bay Area sound design credits include In On It and T.I.C. (Encore Theatre Company), The Shaker Chair (Encore Theatre Company/Shotgun Players), Macbeth (Shotgun Players), Volleygirls(A.C.T. Youth Conservatory), Three on a Party (Word for Word), and A Round Heeled Woman (Z Space). Sara is also proud to be the Resident Sound Designer for her friends at Encore Theatre Company.

York Kennedy (Lighting Designer) Mr. Kennedy’s designs have been seen in theatres across America and in Europe including Berkeley Rep, Seattle Repertory, American Conservatory Theatre, The Alley Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Yale Rep, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Goodspeed Musicals, and the Denver Center. Awards for theatrical lighting include the Dramalogue, San Diego Drama Critics Circle, Back Stage West Garland, Arizoni Theatre Award, and the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award. In the dance world, he has designed for Malashock Dance, Brian Webb, and Tracey Rhodes. As an architectural lighting designer he has designed both nationally and internationally numerous themed environments, theme park, residential, retail, restaurant, and museum projects including the Sony Metreon Sendak Playspace in San Francisco, Warner Bros. Movie World in Madrid, Le Centre de Loisirs in Morocco, and The LEGO Racers 4D attraction in Germany, Denmark, England, and the U.S. He is a graduate of the California Institute for the Arts and the Yale School of Drama.

script excerpts

LIBBY: Are you married, Anton? Gay?

ANTON: Divorced.

LIBBY: Oh, I see.

I don’t know what I am.

ANTON: (affirming, awkward) No.

LIBBY: You see, my memory’s a little shaky.

(Anton nods.)

I seem to forget.

ANTON: (trying, helpless) You're not alone in that.

LIBBY: I'm not?

ANTON: (getting himself in deeper) But I have no excuse. For my forgetfulness.

LIBBY: Forget to watch the road sometimes?

(He bows his head.)

So what do you do?

ANTON: I teach history.

LIBBY: I see.

ANTON: The civil war is my, uh, main field of study.

LIBBY: Oh yeah?

(looking him over)

Do you have children?

ANTON: One daughter. She’s in med school now.

LIBBY: You must be very proud of her.


Did you tell her about me?

ANTON: She knows about you.

LIBBY: What did you tell her about the accident?

ANTON: I told her—

LIBBY: What happened.

ANTON: Right.

LIBBY: What happened, Anton?

ANTON: You really?

LIBBY: Tell me. I want to hear it in your words.

(a pause)

ANTON: I bought a few groceries.

LIBBY: What kind?

ANTON: Oh, nothing much. The whole thing. It wasn’t necessary.

LIBBY: You don’t remember what you bought?

ANTON: Yes, I do. As a matter of fact. I bought cherries.

LIBBY: Cherries. Were they good? Were they sweet?

ANTON: They were sweet and good.

LIBBY: A good cherry is hard to find these days.

And then?

ANTON: I pulled out of the lot.

(a pause)

LIBBY: You had to have those cherries, didn’t you, Anton?


LIBBY: Thank you. Now I know.

(She nods.)

Now I know what happened.

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