Theatre Rhinoceros
John Fisher, Executive Director

San Francisco Live Queer Theater

Pictured left to right: Kirsten Peacock (Sara), John Fisher (Turing), and Justin Lucas (Ron) in BREAKING THE CODE by Hugh Whitemore. A Theatre Rhinoceros Production. Photo by David Wilson.
Kirsten Peacock (Sara), John Fisher (Turing), and Justin Lucas (Ron) in BREAKING THE CODE by Hugh Whitemore.

Press Information and Photos

Click to Read the Rave Reviews!

Breaking the Code

by Hugh Whitemore

March 4 - 21, 2015
     Wednesday-Saturday @ 800 pm
     Saturday Matinees @ 300 pm
      Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes, including one 10-minute intermission.
The Eureka Theatre
215 Jackson Street Map It
  Directions

A gripping biographical drama about homosexual scientist Alan Turing, the eccentric genius who fought on two fronts.

Breaking The Code: The Alan Turing Story runs at Theatre Rhinoceros March 4 - 22.Turing played a major role in winning the World War II, and he also battled with British morality. He broke the complex German code called Enigma, enabling allied forces to foresee Nazi u-boat maneuvers.

Since his work was classified top secret for years after the war, no one knew how much was owed to him when he was put on trial for breaking another code - the taboo against homosexuality.

Turing, who was also the first to conceive of and basically invent the computer, the machine that forever altered our modern world, was convicted of the criminal act of homosexuality and sentenced to undergo hormone treatments which left him physically and mentally debilitated.

He died a suicide, forgotten and alone.

This play is about who he was, what happened to him and why.

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The Critics Rave!

Alan Turing comes to life in Breaking the Code .

Unlike the film, with a Hollywood spin and too-clever banter that leaves the audience wondering what really happened, Hugh Whitemore’s 1986 “Breaking the Code” – onstage at the Eureka Theatre in an elegant Theatre Rhinoceros production – is a far more satisfying and fulfilling depiction of the life of the scientist, whose admission of homosexuality in the 1950s derailed a remarkable (if little-known) life and career.

John Fisher does terrific double duty in the Theatre Rhino show, both directing and portraying Turing, the brilliant yet socially awkward character whose creativity, single-mindedness and iconoclasm posthumously earned him the title “father of computer science."

The ensemble wonderfully complements Fisher in Whitemore’s drama, which remains clear as it flashes back and forth.
- Leslie Katz – SF Examiner

 

John Fisher doesn’t portray Turing. He instead inhabits the character’s body and makes him astoundingly authentic.

Not only is Fisher, the Rhino’s executive artistic director since2002, brilliant in his acting, his direction is equally luminous. He makes the play’s two hours race by, he ensures everyone’s British accent is consistent and easy to penetrate, and he draws the best possible performances from Celia Maurice as Turing’s doting but unenlightened mother, Sarah; Val Hendrickson as Dillwyn Knox, his supportive boss who personally doesn’t care if Turing goes “to bed with choir boys or cocker spaniels” but frets about what the authorities will think; Kirsten Peacock as his infatuated coworker friend Pat Green; and Justin Lucas as Ron Miller, Turning’s lover-user-betrayer.
- Woody Weingarten – Marinscope / For All Events

 

★★★★ (4 out of 4 stars)
Everyone should see Breaking the Code for the acting, the characterizations, the set, the sexiness, the unconventional style.

In the present revival at Theatre Rhinoceros, Artistic Director John Fisher (who also directs) turns in a brilliant and stylish performance as Turing, afflicted by a stammer and all the hatred of eccentricity that the post-war years could muster. Turing stands up for himself in a lovingly rendered Cambridge classroom beautifully designed by Jon Wai-keung Lowe with secret doors suggesting sexual and legal oppression. Surprising exits, entrances, and shifts of time add to the mystery, with each actor creating a sprightly and memorable character, parts of the clockwork machinery that surrounds Turing.

We see his friendship with the scientist and mathematician Pat Green, played by the witty and sensuous Kirsten Peacock, whose every movement is subtle, clear, and engaging — a mathematician in a dancer’s body.

All of the actors are excellent. As Sara Turing, the mathematician’s mother who doesn’t quite get what all the fuss is about — math, codes, sex, coupling — Celia Maurice puts in a precise, witty performance. And Michael DeMartini excels as Inspector John Smith, a dour, saturnine, gloomy presence who enjoys twisting the knife in Turing’s heart while “doing his duty” for the British state.
- Barry Horowitz – TheatreStorm.com 

 

With a cast led by John Fisher (who is steadily transforming into an old-fashioned actor-manager), Theatre Rhinoceros did a solid job of examining Turing's nervous downfall.

Celia Maurice was sympathetic as Turing's mother, Sara while Kirsten Peacock scored strongly as his research partner, Pat Green. As the gay men in Turing's life, Justin Lucas shone as Ron Miller with Heren Pateldelivering sweet portrayals of a very young Christopher Morcom and a slightly giggly young Greek named Nikos. Patrick Ross, Michael DeMartini, and Val Hendricksonappeared in smaller supporting roles.
- George Heymont – My Cultural Landscape BLOG

 

Theatre Rhino's production of Breaking the Code, first staged in London in 1986, comes at a propitious time, as Turing's name is again in currency thanks to the movie The Imitation Game.

There are some particularly fine performances in featured roles, including Patrick Ross as a police detective who diligently if reluctantly unravels the true circumstances of a minor burglary that Turing has thoughtlessly reported. High marks, too, to Val Hendrickson as a comically addled wartime superior who turns serious when he, without moral judgment, warns Turing to show a little more discretion in his personal life. Kristen Peacock warms up the production as Turing's colleague with ill-aimed romantic intentions, and Justin Lucas and Heren Patel briskly enliven the play with two of the young men who at least temporarily switch off Turing's built-in abacus.
- Richard Dodds – Bay Area Reporter (BAR)

 

Alan Turing is suddenly trendier than a gold smartwatch. Here Turing gets the biographical treatment in a revival of the 1986 Hugh Whitemore play with local theater legend John Fisher as Turing.

Fisher does an outstanding job capturing the fidgety awkwardness of a gay nerd in a world where his sexuality gets him charged with the crime of 'gross indecency.' The whole cast turns in remarkable performances as Turing’s various lovers, beards, colleagues and prosecutors.

Breaking the Code is memorable for its cast’s terrific performances
- Joe Kukura – sfist.com

 

A Thought-provoking Production

John Fisher gives a marvelously genuine performance as Alan Turing.

John Fisher also sharply directs this production and he has taken these shadowy characters and made them come alive on stage.

Breaking the Code is a good old-fashioned, intelligent play and is multilayered in its examination of loyalty and national expediency.

- Richard Connema – Talkinbroadway.com

 

BREAKING THE CODE is  excellent

The play version BREAKING THE CODE explores the deeper sexuality in the man Turing.

Theatre Rhinoceros company headed by artistic director John Fisher, who plays Turing, and also directed this superb theatre to bring this story to the Eureka stage in SF. The cast is wonderful and the 2 hour story is clearly as important today as it was in the late 80’s.

Alan Turing the father of commuter science and the centerpiece of the story in brilliantly performed by John Fisher - is a tour de force  on stage - playing Alan from his teen years to his final years in the 50’s. Fisher plays this man with a spark that Turing may have felt, he is impressive and on stage most of the two hours.

Congrats to the cast and the amazing performance by the Rhino’s creative heart and soul Mr. John Fisher.

 - Vince Mediaa – Vmedia blog

 

Fisher is a good actor and any show he sits out is an opportunity wasted.

While Turing is often portrayed as kind of a jerk, Fisher plays him as almost childlike, both naïve and cynical at the same time and stricken with nervous tics and a fleeting stammer – humane, compassionate, deeply sad likeness of someone both awesomely powerful and terribly fragile.

Fisher is always good, but this is the first time we've seen him commit to something wild enough that he reaches that charmed place where you forget you're seeing a performance. Breaking the Code comes to a beautiful kind of peace with itself without resorting to any kind of cop-out that softens the blow. It's a delicate and heartbreaking eulogy about the unfairness of the world.

- Adam Brinlklow – Edgeonthenet.com

GLAAD Media Award Winner

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HELP US OUT THIS SEASON AS WE CELEBRATE THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS OF QUEER THEATRE!

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Theatre Rhinoceros's 37th Season is a Queer Adventure.  Subscribe!

Press Information

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Theatre Rhinoceros's
2014-15 Season
Queer Adventure

From the battlefields of the Central Pacific to lesbians in lock-up, our new season is a queer adventure like you’ve never seen. Join us for thrills, spills, trills and laughs galore!

The Battle of Midway: Live! Onstage! By John Fisher and Don Seaver – A queer-camp musical rendition of the famous naval battle. World Premiere: November 14 – 30, 2014 @ The Costume Shop, 1117 Market Street, SF, 94102

Shopping: The Musical by Morris Bobrow – The hit musical comedy revue about everybody's second-favorite (in some cases, favorite) activity. The 2014 Rhino New Year’s Eve Spectacular: One Show OnlyTuesday, December 31, 2014, 800 pm @ Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, SF, 94111

The Anarchist by David Mamet – A psychological drama about a lesbian anarchist inmate on the day of her possible parole. Bay Area Premiere: January 2 - 17, 2015 @ The Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, SF, 94111

Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore – The gripping drama about homosexual scientist Alan Turing, inventor of the computer. March 4 - 22, 2015 @ The Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, SF, 94111

Timon: The Musical – An outdoor musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s play about greedy artists. A Co-Production with Yerba Buena Arts and Events: May 29 – 31, 2015: Outdoors in Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission Street between Third and Fourth Streets, SF, 94103

Subscribers get preferred seating and treatment.


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The Rhino's Donald Currie wins Best Performance by a Leading Actor in THE HABIT OF ART

Congratulations to Donald Currie who won the Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor at the November 10th ceremony!

The Habit Of Art received three Theatre Bay Area Award Nominations including Best Production.

The other nominations were:

  • Best Production of a Play
  • Best Performance by an Ensemble

Terry Baum was nominated for Best Solo Performance in Hick: A Love Story.
Hick was world-premiere production co-produced by Crackpot Crones and the Theatre Rhnoceros at the Eureka Theater.

Dave Dobrusky was also nominated for Best Musical Direction for Road Show.

Congratulations to all the nominees! We are very proud!

The Ensemble, pictured left to right: Tamar Cohn as Kay, Craig Souza as Carpenter, Donald Currie as Auden, Justin Lucas as Stuart, Kathryn Wood as George, and John Fisher as Britten 
photo by Kent Taylor.

Pictured left to right: Tamar Cohn as Kay, Craig Souza as Carpenter, Donald Currie as Auden, Justin Lucas as Stuart, Kathryn Wood as George, and John Fisher as Britten
photo by Kent Taylor.

 
 

Catherine Brannigan Honored

Congratulations to Theatre Rhinoceros Board President Catherine Brannigan for winning the Distinguished Philanthropist Award at Blushing Orchid Ball in June, 2014. Catherine was honored for all her good work on behalf of The Rhino, the LGBT Community at large, and the San Francisco Health Care Community .

Catherine Brannigan with the distinguished Philanthropist Award
Catherine Brannigan holding her award,
flanked by Brian Sharber and Davis Gaines

 

John Fisher as Paul and
Maryssa Wanlass as Diane in
To Sleep and Dream.
Theatre Rhino Playwright Honored

To Sleep and Dream
by John Fisher

Wins San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SFBATCC)
Excellence in Theater, 2013
Best Original Script

Award presented to John Fisher, May 5, 2014.

SFBATCC is a private non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and serving theatres of all types and sizes in the greater region by recognizing excellence and outstanding achievement in the field.

Active since 1976, the Circle consists of reviewers in all nine Bay Area counties, across various media, who are voted into membership by existing members based on the quality and consistency of their reviews. The Circle hosts an annual awards ceremony each Spring to celebrate superior work in the previous year.

SFBATCC named To Sleep and Dream byJohn Fisher the best script of 2013 at the awards banquet May 5th. Congratulations, John!


In Memoriam: José Julio Sarria (1923-2013)

We were saddened to hear of the passing of the great activist José Sarria.

In 2010 and again in 2011 we proudly presented a play about his life and struggles. One of the treats of that production was having him come see the show and getting to meet the man himself.

José blessed us in life and he will go on blessing all of us forever. His generosity and determination are an inspiration to all gay artists and activists.

SexRev by Kent Taylor
José Sarria and John Fisher
from José 's special appearance at an April 28, 2010 performance of
"SexRev: The José Sarria Experience"
Tom Orr in "SexRev: The Jose Sarria Experience" .  Photo by Kent Taylor
Tom Orr in "SexRev: The Jose Sarria Experience"
Photo by Kent Taylor.
 Tom Orr and Michael Vega in "SexRev: The Jose Sarria Experience" Written and Directed by John Fisher. Photos by Kent Taylor.
Tom Orr and Michael Vega in "SexRev: The Jose Sarria Experience"
Photo by Kent Taylor.
 
 

Foundations Supporting Theatre Rhinoceros

Theatre Rhinoceros is funded by the generosity of the following organizations:

San Francisco Grants for the Arts

 

The The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

 

The San Francisco Art Commission

 

The Dramatists Guild

 

The Zellerbach Family Foundation

 

The James Hormel Foundation

 

The Horizons Foundation

 

The Bob Ross Foundation

 

The Walmart Foundation



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