Category Archive for: ‘Judy Richter’

‘Temple’ offers inside look at Occupy London

When Occupy London settled in front of St. Pau’s Cathedral in October 2011, its dean faced difficult legal and moral choices.

His dilemma is detailed in “Temple,” a fictional account by Steve Waters, being given its U.S. premiere by Aurora Theatre Company.

The dean (Paul Whitworth) had taken the unprecedented action of closing the church in the interest of safety. Now he wants to reopen it for a service.

His decision to close the church was opposed by the Canon Chancellor (Mike Ryan), who supported the occupiers and who decided to resign.

Also having their say are the virger (Sharon Lockwood), who wants to resign, too; the bishop of London (J. Michael Flynn); and the City of London lawyer (Leontyne Mbele-Mbong). She wants the dean to support the city in its eviction action against the occupiers.

Much of the discussion is witnessed by Lizzie, (Sylvia Burboeck), the young woman who’s serving as the dean’s new personal assistant.

The playwright gives strong weight to all sides of the issue, and Whitworth, who’s onstage the entire time, reflects the dean’s difficult position.

One of the more amusing scenes was probably unintended by the playwright, but it raised its shares of knowing laughs as Lizzie read a series of the canon chancellor’s tweets after his resignation. The dean reacted with dismay that someone could send out tweets willy-nilly, perhaps without thinking about their portent. Surely this audience was thinking of President Trump’s penchant for tweeting, perhaps before thinking.

Director Tom Ross has assembled a strong cast and directed them well except for Burboeck as Lizzie, whose nervousness needs to diminish as the play continues. In addition, her accent is hard to understand. That’s a drawback because sometimes her character makes some cogent observations or suggestions.

Design elements contribute to the play’s enjoyment with the set by Richard Olmsted, lighting by Jeff Rowlings, costumes by Callie Floor, and sound and music by Chris Houston.

Running about 95 minutes without intermission, “Temple” is thought-provoking without being preachy.

It continues through May 14 at Aurora Theatre Company, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley. For tickets and information, call (510) 843-4822 or visit


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