Footloose presents
David Schein in a 3-week residency of performances, readings and workshops

Footloose presents visiting guest artist, David Schein, in a three-week residency of performances, readings and workshops in the Bay Area. Schein, formerly a Bay Area theater vanguard, is on tour from his home base in Burlington, Vermont. He will perform two weekends of solo work and one weekend of duets with his close friend and local performer, Robert Ernst. See complete performance schedule above. Press interviews and complimentary tickets are available by contacting producer, Mary Alice Fry.

The first two weekends, Fridays and Saturdays, October 9, 10, 16 and 17, David Schein performs his own solos: the West Coast premiere of Distraction, an interactive cell phone piece about his increasing inability to concentrate; and the iconic Out Comes Butch, his daring and comic cycle of sexual transformation.

Robert Ernst and David Schein, two founding members of Berkeley's legendary theater company, Blake Street Hawkeyes and the Iowa Theater Lab, celebrate 47 years of theatrical and poetic eruption/destruction/resurrection for two shows only: Friday and Saturday, October 23 and 24. They will perform three duets: Less of Me directed and composed mostly by Ernst; Hotball directed and composed mostly by Schein (with lines from poet Geof Hewitt); and, The Jewthuran Beatnik Baby Shower, where they improvise off their theatrical and poetic chemistry in a soulful mash between the beatnik Lutheran Iowa farmboy and the commie hitchhiker faculty brat from Vermont.


Distraction, written and improvised by Schein is a constantly evolving interactive theater event featuring Schein's and the audience's new best friend and scourge - the cell phone/ipad/laptop/digital device. Audiences are requested to "Please turn on your cell phone," to make calls if they feel the need to, and to answer and share all calls and messages during the performance.

A cast of ghosts, deities and obscure figures from you-tube have been known to skype themselves into the performance; God, Allah, Jesus, Schein's recently deceased mother, and the guy in the light booth - all have phoned in to distract Schein from doing what he sets out to do - which is to define the nature of incomplete thought. The length of the piece varies from 30 to 45 minutes depending upon how distracted Schein becomes during the performance. Distraction has been performed at the Off Center for Dramatic Arts in Burlington Vermont. This is its West Coast premiere.

Out Comes Butch came into being as one of a series of improvisations that Schein originally performed in Berkeley. He toured the show to London and Glasgow on a double bill with Whoopi Goldberg, and also to Amsterdam, Calgary, New York City and many other venues in the US and Canada. The play was published in West Coast Plays and has been produced by various theaters in the USA with other performers, including the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and recently, the Voodoo Lounge in New Orleans.

About Out Comes Butch Schein says: "I'm so glad to bring Butch back to the Bay where it all started. As an actor, I was exploring acting a woman, but the biggest "queen" you could imagine kept coming out in the studio. My gay friends weren't all queens; some acted and looked way more macho than me, so where did that leave me, a straight guy, playing a woman? Then, improvising nuances of gender within me, beyond male and female, I discovered I could play a unique cocktail of gay, straight, butch, top, bottom, seducer, beloved, besotted and more. The storyline tied together five of the sexual characters who were parts of me. With costumes and wigs, they came out in performance, funny and sad and always looking for love. Butch has lived onstage in many countries for 30 years. Now, returning to the Bay, I wonder, so much has transformed--now that there is gay marriage and transgender acceptance--will Butch finally fit in?


Robert Ernst and David Schein reunite as brothers to carry each other a little further back to the root. Each in his own right is an award-winning theater artist known for taking risks and being completely original. Between them they have created countless performance events -- some abstract, some surreal, some realistic. All are based in language, character, plot, comedy, movement or music. They first worked together in 1967 as poets and actors at the University of Iowa. Intent on redefining theater as they made it, they created shows together intensely for 20 years. Co-founders of the influential Blake Street Hawkeyes in Berkeley with John O'Keefe, they nurtured the talents of Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen Sebastian, George Coates, Leonard Pitt and many other Bay Area theater notables. They collaborated on TOKENS, an opera Schein wrote and composed with Candace Natvig English, directed by Ernst which won numerous awards and is still remembered as one of their greatest endeavors.

Robert Ernst has performed on all stages, big and small in his 42 years in the Bay Area. Selected stage roles include: Road at the Eureka Theater, The Time of Your Lifeat ACT and Seattle Rep., Speed of Darkness and People's Temple at Berkeley Rep, Red State for The S.F. Mime Troupe, Play Land and The Joy of Going Somewhere Definite at The Magic Theater. His own original work,Catherine's Care was nominated for a Critic's Circle award for Best Play. Robert's own pocket opera, The John, was picked for Best of the Year Series by the Bay Guardian. He received Dramalogue awards for Best Director and Best Production for David Schein's TOKENS. Robert performed non-stop, according to The Guinness Book of World Records rules, for 24 hours and one minute. He is a member of the band, Smooth Toad.

David Schein is a founding member of the Iowa Theater Lab and the legendary Blake Street Hawkeyes in Berkeley. He went on to direct Free Street Theater in Chicago and to found One Love AIDS/HIV Education Theater in Hawassa, Ethiopia. An award-winning writer, he has performed and directed in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Africa. His monologue Out Comes Butch has been produced by many theaters throughout the U.S. and his article about making theater in the Ethiopian market, Incident in Awassa, was published in the American Theater Reader, a compilation of American Theater Magazine's best articles over 25 years. A book of his performance poetry, My Murder and Other Local News was recently published by Fomite Press. He lives in Burlington, Vermont.


Out Comes Butch " amazing series of verbal, sexual and personality transformations." - San Francisco Chronicle

"Schein...a gifted actor and wickedly funny writer." - Chicago Reader

POVERTY AN ARTS JOURNAL by Robert Avila, Recent review of Bob Ernst's Towards Away

"A 60-minute Beatnik odyssey built on an insomniac communion with our disastrous, sleepwalking age, "Towards Away" rides on years of muscle memory, a poet's courage for the existential high dive, and the theatrical acumen of an admirable veteran of the Bay Area performance scene. Ernst's solo poem certainly wrestles with demons, his and ours, but revels too in the ecstasy and resilience of the bluesman in its blend of music, musing, and bated silences. Awe and horror join in the poem's singular store of experiences-reverberating with some greater cosmic jam yet making no claim to any truth or insight beyond the inexorable ambiguity of it all."

SF ARTS MONTHLY Article by Jean Schiffman, October 2015 issue: Local Theater Legends Schein and Ernst Perform at EXIT

SF CHRONICLE Preview by Rob Hurwitt, October 7, 2015: Return of a Hawkeye