Monday, September 10, 2018

Watson: Meet the Playwright

Madeleine George grew up in Amherst, Massachussets and began writing plays as a high school student at Ameherst Regional High School. She participated in the Young Playwrights Festival at the Playwright’s Horizon and The Public Theatre as a teenager. Ms. George then attended Cornell University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1996. She then obtained an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts. 

Since then, Ms. George’s plays have been produced at Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, Shotgun Players, and Perseverance Theater, among other venues. She has been the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, the Princess Grace Playwriting Award, the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, and the Jane Chambers Award. A resident playwright at New Dramatists, George was also a founding member of the collective 13P (Thirteen Playwrights, Inc.), which won an Obie Award. Her play The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2014. She also won the Whiting Award for Drama in 2016 for the same play. 

For seven years, George was the director of the Bard College satellite campus at Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan. She is originally from Amherst, Massachusetts, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Watson: Meet the Crew

Doll Piccotto (Director) Doll is thrilled to be making a return to the Dragon, this time on the other side of the table! Having acted on the Dragon Stage in On the Verge and OR, Doll is now flexing her directing muscles with The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence. She could not have asked for a more enriching experience! Doll's theatrical resume includes directing with The Silicon Valley Shakespeare Company (Pericles, Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night's Dream), playwrighting, and acting throughout the Bay Area, Santa Barbara and at the Shakespeare at Winedale festival in Texas. A dedicated Shakespeare fanatic, some of Doll's previous roles include Beatrice and Claudius with the Silicon Valley Shakespeare Company, Queen Elizabeth I and Caliban with The Pear, and Mary, the intrepid 'Lady Explorer' in On the Verge, here at Dragon. A huge thank you to my amazing cast and crew, who patiently dealt with my non-linear thinking process, to Lucy Littlewood for being my Weyrd Sister and partner in crime, to James for putting up with my absence yet again in pursuit of art, and to Meredith Hagedorn for sending me such an intriguing script and considering me for such a wonderful project. Keep connecting, friends!

Lucy Littlewood (Assistant Director) Lucy is excited to be a part of her first production with Dragon Theatre! Before this journey, she primarily worked as an actor throughout the Bay Area for over 15 years. Some of her favorite past credits include; Elizabeth Elliot in Persuasion (Livermore Shakespeare Festival), Alice Ayres in Closer, Rita in Educating Rita (Northside Theatre), Mr. Hyde and others in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (City Lights) for which she received a TBA Awards nomination, Charlotte in The Real Thing, Pearl in House and Garden (Pear Theatre), Sorel Bliss in Hay Fever, Margot Wendice in Dial M For Murder (Broadway West), Harper Pitt in Angels in America (Bus Barn Stage Company), Lucifer in Doctor Faustus (Foothill Theatre) and Lucy Steele in Sense and Sensibility (TheatreWorks). She is a graduate of the Foothill Theatre Conservatory. She sends buckets of love and gratitude to Doll for inviting her on this adventure and to our fantastic cast and crew. For Memow.

John Bernard (Lighting Designer)

Beth Covey-Snedegar (Properties Master) Beth has been involved in theatre from a young age on stage and off.  When she is not searching for life like fish, severed heads or a replica of the first telephone, she is busy running her floral design and event planning business, Sassy Diva Designs and Events.  And when she isn't knee deep in flowers she is chasing her two adventurous boys and keeping them out of danger.  

Kathleen Qiu (Costume Designer) is excited to be returning to Dragon Productions for The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence after Equivocation, Insignificance, and Cirque Exotique du Monde. Previously in the Bay Area, she has designed with Role Players Ensemble (All My Sons), Ferocious Lotus (Two Mile Hollow), Quantum Dragon Theatre (Universal Robots), Foothill College (A Midsummer’s Night Dream), Pear Theatre (Enemy of the People), Custom Made Theatre Co (The House of Yes, How I Learned to Drive), the SF Playhouse (You Mean to Do Me Harm), and Palo Alto Players (The Graduate), among others. Other credits include In the Heights, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pirates of Penzance, Steve Martin’s The Underpants, Dracula, War of the Worlds, and Picture Imperfectwith a variety of theaters in the Bay Area, Tallahassee, and Chicago. She graduated from the University of Chicago with degrees in Chemistry and Psychology and is working on an MFA in Costume Design from the Academy of Art. She would like to thank the production team for this opportunity and her family and friends for their continued support.

Chrissie Schwanhausser(Stage Manager) is delighted to return to Dragon Productions! Last year she had the pleasure to stage manage multiple shows for Dragon, including The Further Adventures of Hedda GablerThe Charitable Sisterhood of the Second Trinity Victory Church, and Dead Accounts. Other past credits include stage managing for The Hood of Sherwood and Sherlock Holmes and the Adventures of the Suicide Club for Silicon Valley Shakespeare and La Cage Aux Folles with Sunnyvale Community Players. She has also spent time as production assistant for Bay Are Children Theatre's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Elephant and Piggie.

Ryan Lee Short (Sound Designer) is excited to be back designing at Dragon Productions (his noises having been most recently heard in last year's The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler), as he's been on a short hiatus from noise-making after 10 years of a nearly constant din. By day he's a scenic carpenter and schlepper for Bay Area Children's Theatre, whose scenic output is at once abstract, very colorful, and nearly constant. While not in dark and/or dusty rooms making theatre, he can be found snuggling cats at home or traveling the world with his amazing wife (and fellow theatre kid extraordinaire) Laura. Many thanks to Doll, Chrissie, and the rest of this timelessly brilliant cast and crew!

Emilia Wysocka(Scenic Designer) Emilia has a degree in Film Production and specializes in Production Design/ Art Direction. She has previously worked on short film productions and theatrical productions focusing on set and prop designs. Emilia’s passion are colors and applying them to mise-en-scene. She likes to create palettes that are both aesthetically pleasing and evoke a desired emotional response.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Watson: Meet the Cast

Tasi Alabastro (Watson)-is grateful to return to Dragon Theatre’s stage with this play about technology and human connection! In addition to working onstage, he is an online content creator and photographer whose work focuses on reflecting his community and culture. He has had the honor of being the 2018 Silicon Valley Creates’ Emerging Artist Laureate as well as being published in CONTENT Magazine and Tayo Magazine. He was previously seen on the Dragon stage in Three Days of Rain, The Libation Bearers, and The Woman in Black. Bay Area credits include productions with CenterRep, City Lights Theatre Company, Hillbarn Theatre, and TheatreWork’s New Works Festival. Film/TV includes “Yes We’re Open” and PBS’ “Futurestates.” He is a proud member of the Red Ladder Theatre Company and is currently working with inmates in state prisons as part of the California Art’s Council’s Arts-in-Corrections program: a program which re-engages participants with their creativity and imagination. Join the tribe at

Stephanie Crowely (Eliza)-Stephanie is pleased to return to the Dragon, having appeared here in The Charitable Sisterhood of Second Trinity Victory ChurchNovember, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. She has been seen locally at Pear Theatre (In the Next RoomSuperior DonutsPear Slices 2014, 2015 and 2016), Palo Alto Players (The Farnsworth InventionThe Laramie Project 10 Years Later), Stanford University (Homo Ex Machina), City Lights (Calendar Girls), Silicon Valley Shakespeare (Shakespeare in Hollywood), Los Altos Stage Company (Man of La ManchaFox on the Fairway), Hillbarn Theatre (The Odd CoupleTo Kill a Mockingbird), Santa Clara Players (Four Weddings and an Elvis), and others; as well as on stages in South Carolina, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. In her off-stage life, Stephanie works as a yoga instructor and marketing consultant. 

Gary Mosher (Merrick) Gary started acting on stage at the age of five, having performed in numerous productions by age eleven. Beginning in 1989 Gary returned to T.V., film and theatre, appearing in leading roles in Ordinary Madness, Flatout, Jack of Hearts, Forgive Me Father, Maximum Justice, and Otis N Dwayne, premiering at South by Southwest in 2014. Gary appeared in supporting character roles in several Dick Wolf productions. Gary is thrilled to return to The Dragon Theatre, this is his 3rd production at The Dragon Theatre. Previously appearing (2017) in The Columnist and (2018) Insignificance. Gary has appeared at The Pear Theatre in The Quality of Life and August Osage County. Gary also appeared in The Farnsworth Invention (by Aaron Sorkin) at The Palo Alto Players. Gary is a proud 25+ year member of SAG-AFTRA. Although Gary has acted in many films and T.V. shows, theatre continues to be his true passion. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Watson: Meet the Watsons

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator

Dr. John H. Watson - The fictional sidekick of Sherlock Holmes. Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Watson most often serves as the narrator of Holmes' adventures. He's smart, a medical doctor who served in the British Army, and a fairly typical Victorian gentleman (unlike Sherlock Holmes who was brilliant but eccentric).

Thomas Augustus Watson - After leaving school at the age of 14, Watson began work in an electrical shop in Boston, where he met Alexander Graham Bell. He worked with Bell on his telephone experiments, and on March 10, 1876, through a receiver connected by wire to a transmitting instrument located in another room, Watson heard Bell’s famous first telephone call, which Watson later recalled as “Mr. Watson—come here—I want you.” Over the next year Watson joined Bell in demonstrating the powers of the new invention in several spectacular and widely reported exhibitions. In 1877, when the Bell Telephone Company was formed, Watson received a share in the business and became its head of research and technical development.
After leaving Bell in 1881, Watson, made independently wealthy by his share of the royalties on the telephone, traveled through Europe, married, started a family, and made an unsuccessful attempt at farming along the Weymouth Fore River in East Braintree, Massachusetts, southeast of Boston. In 1885, having opened a machine shop in a building on his farm property, he started a new business, the Fore River Engine Company, in partnership with his assistant, Frank O. Wellington. The two partners at first constructed marine engines, and then in 1896 they received their first government contract, for two destroyers. During the following eight years, Watson moved the shipyard to nearby Quincy, Massachusetts, changed the growing company’s name to the Fore River Ship & Engine Company, and took on contracts to build lightships, cruisers, battleships, schooners, and other vessels.
Following his retirement from shipbuilding in 1904, Watson led a restless and peripatetic existence. He and his wife studied geology; he acted in a Shakespearean company; and in 1926 he published an autobiography, Exploring Life. On January 25, 1915, he rejoined Bell in making the first transcontinental telephone call, between New York City and San Francisco. Watson died at his winter home in Florida. (from

IBM Watson - Watson is a question-answering computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural languagedeveloped in IBM's DeepQA project by a research team led by principal investigator David Ferrucci. Watson was named after IBM's first CEO, industrialist Thomas J. Watson.
The computer system was initially developed to answer questions on the quiz show Jeopardy! and, in 2011, the Watson computer system competed on Jeopardy! against legendary champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings winning the first place prize of $1 million.
In February 2013, IBM announced that Watson software system's first commercial application would be for utilization management decisions in lung cancer treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, in conjunction with health insurance company WellPoint. IBM Watson's former business chief, Manoj Saxena, says that 90% of nurses in the field who use Watson now follow its guidance. (info from wikipedia and IBM)

Watson: A Word From the Director

Living as we do in the Silicon Valley, it seems impossible to imagine a time when connecting to another person wasn't as immediate as the smartphone attached to our hands. As technology advances, connecting with other humans has become faster and easier than ever. You can let people know what you're wearing today on Facebook, let people know what you're having for breakfast on Instagram, let people know how you're feeling on Twitter, let people know what you'd look like as a cat on Snapchat, find a date on OKCupid, a hookup on Tinder or Grindr, and purchase nearly anything your heart desires with free two day shipping. We live in a world where connecting with someone is immediate--literally a click away. However, many scientists believe that social anxiety is dangerously on the rise--that as our technological connections become smoother, our actual human connections are becoming more difficult. Seated at a computer screen, it's easy to forget the at the other end of the disparaging comment you're leaving regarding someone's new haircut is a living, breathing person who feels pain. Connecting on a truly human level--face to face and heart to heart--involves a level of risk and bravery that many people find difficult to give. People are inherently awkward, imperfect and uncomfortable, and our relationships are inevitably the same. The idea of giving yourself over to someone who has the power to utterly destroy you emotionally and simply trusting that they won't is a terrifying prospect. It makes us feel weak and small and afraid. But the mere fact that so much of our developing technology IS about connecting people demonstrates our need and desire to challenge that fear and continue to CONNECT. Technology can only help us so far. Once we've swiped left and met at Applebee's -- the rest is up to us. Awkward, imperfect, completely human us. As Watson says "It’s our fate to be bound up with one another, isn’t it? We are all born insufficient, and must look to others to supplement our strength. That is not weakness, it is the first condition of human life.” Is the risk worth the reward?

Doll Piccotto, Director