Press Release – 2015 – Sing Along With Parlour Song 2017-07-14T06:15:14+00:00


San Diego Theatre Couples Duet on Backyard Renaissance’s Inaugural Show

(Mike Sears, Jessica John and Francis Gercke star in upcoming Parlour Song, by Jez Butterworth.)

Media Contact: Executive Director Jessica John

Previews begin Aug 20th, 2015. Press Opening is Aug 22nd, 2015. Show runs through Sept 6 th , 2015. San Diego, CA – July 08, 2015 – Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company will introduce itself to theatre- goers with a show by one of their favorite playwrights. This August 20 th , previews begin for Jez Butterworth’s PARLOUR SONG, starring the company’s founders, husband and wife team Francis Gercke and Jessica John, and friend and fellow-artist Mike Sears. The show is helmed by acclaimed director Lisa Berger, who also happens to be Sears’ wife. The two theatre-couples are excited to present PARLOUR SONG which runs August 20 th through September 6 th in the BLKBOX Theatre located at 3704 6th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103.

PARLOUR SONG sets its focus on a demolition expert named Ned (Sears) who lives in a nice new house in a nice new development on the edge of the English countryside with his lovely wife Joy (John). It is an ideal middle-class life, not all that different from yours or that of your neighbor. In fact, Ned spends quite a bit of time with his neighbor Dale (Gercke) who also lives in a nice new house in the nice new neighborhood with his nice family, swapping workout tips and stories from their jobs. But lately, Ned’s not sleeping and it may be his imagination, but it seems that item by item, all of his possessions are disappearing.

Jez Butterworth, who cites Harold Pinter as one of his most major influences, is a master of exploring and exploding the unspoken in the everyday lives of the people around you. His other plays include the award-winning, Broadway-hit JERUSALEM, as well as MOJO (winner of the Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard and the George Devine awards), THE NIGHT HERON, THE WINTERLING and his most recent work, THE RIVER. PARLOUR SONG opened to “rave reviews” at the Atlantic Theatre Company, in New York City in March 2008 and the Almeida Theatre presented its European première in London in March 2009, directed by Ian Rickson.

Artistic director Francis Gercke and executive director Jessica John specifically selected Butterworth’s PARLOUR SONG as a launch for the company which aims to create an “art to the gut” sensibility to resonate with the people they know and love. The work is both completely “everyday” and subtly devastating… an oddly eerie and funny look at 40-somethings and the unavoidable mid-life questions.

Gercke and John also happened to know just the people they wished to collaborate with. San Diego- based artists Lisa Berger and Mike Sears are not only respected theatre professionals but, like Gercke and John, are also married and immersed in the “mid-life” the play tackles. Both couples connected with the play’s edgy humor and surprising sadness.

The foursome has collaborated before, although not all at once. Gercke directed Sears in Cygnet Theatre’s MAN FROM NEBRASKA and John costumed Sears for both NEBRASKA and Cygnet Theatre’s A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE, which was directed by Berger. Later this year, John will be directed by Berger once again in one of the La Jolla Playhouse’s CAR PLAYS. All have significant theatre resumes. (Attached below.)

Backyard Renaissance’s performance schedule for all shows will be Thursdays – Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 2pm and 7pm. There will be one Pay-What- You-Can Industry Night Show on Tuesday, September 1 st at 7:00pm.

For more information regarding Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company or to purchase tickets, please visit Tickets can also be purchased in person on the day of the show (if available) beginning 1 hour before show time.


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WHAT: Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company presents PARLOUR SONG

WHERE: BLKBOX Theatre – in Hillcrest – 3704 6th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103


Written by: Jez Butterworth

Director: Lisa Berger

CAST: Francis Gercke, Jessica John, Mike Sears

DATES: August 20th – September 6th , 2015



Thursdays – Saturdays @ 8:00pm;

Sundays @ 2pm and 7pm;

(Pay-What- You-Can Industry Night) Tuesday, September 1st @ 7pm


PRICES: Range from $10-$24

(Discounts are available for artists, seniors, students, active-duty military and groups)


HOW: Online:

In Person: Day of Show @ BLKBOX Theatre – 3704 6th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103


About Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company

Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company is a 501C3 organization with an “art to the gut” sensibility. Founded in 2015 in San Diego, Calif., Backyard Renaissance believes that exceptional storytelling is rooted in a sense of joyful play, human connection and gutsy intensity. For more information go to:

About Backyard Renaissance’s Artist Discount Ticket Program

With a nod to others who have found a home on stage, Backyard Renaissance will offer a special Discount Ticket Program to local artists. In an effort to familiarize the company with the theatre talent that can be found within its own “backyard,” San Diego actors, designers and technical staff are encouraged to submit headshots, resumes and contact information in exchange for a discount $10 ticket to any show. “As artists we can all learn from one another,” explained Gercke, “but theatre people rarely have the expendable income to see each other’s shows. We want to acknowledge our understanding of that and also get to know the talent within our community.”


A graduate of The Actors Studio Drama School at the New School for Social Research, Fran Gercke is an award winning actor and director, as well as an instructor in San Diego at the college level and privately for the past 15 years. In 2001, Gercke co-founded New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad and served as the artistic director until 2008. From July 2008 through August 2010, he worked with Cygnet Theatre as the associate artistic director. He is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and has worked professionally in San Diego with such companies as the San Diego Repertory Theatre, Cygnet Theatre, Lambs Players Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, ion theatre, Moonlight Stage Productions, New Village Arts Theatre, and Sledgehammer Theatre.


In 2001, Jessica co-founded Backyard Productions in San Diego and served as the executive artistic director until 2008. As an actor, she is an associate artist of Cygnet Theatre and has worked professionally in San Diego with such companies as the North Coast Repertory Theatre, ion theatre, Moonlight Stage Productions, New Village Arts Theatre, New Fortune Theatre Company, Moxie Theatre, Oceanside Theatre Company, Diversionary Theatre and Renaissance Theatre. Honors include: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (SD Playbill – Best Actress), Burn This (SD Critic’s Circle – Best Actress); New Village Arts: The Playboy of the Western World (Patte – Best Actress); and Renaissance Theatre: A View from the Bridge (SD Critic’s Circle – Best Actress). She was named one of the “Top 50 People to Watch” by San Diego Magazine.

About Mike Sears (PLAYING NED)

Acting work includes The Old Globe: Kiss Me, Kate, Othello. La Jolla Playhouse: Sideways, His Girl Friday, Hands on a Hard Body, Bonnie and Clyde. Off-Broadway: When Words Fail (Houseman Theatre), Leap (Abingdon Theatre), To Have and To Hold (Phil Bosakowski Theatre). Off-Off Broadway: The American Globe Theatre, Boomerang Theatre Summer Shakespeare, New Dramatist, New York Fringe Festival, The Present Company, NY Musical Theatre Works, The Producer’s Club and The Duplex. Regional: A Behanding In Spokane, Man From Nebraska (Cygnet Theatre), Tortilla Curtain (San Diego Rep), Killer Joe (Compass Theatre), The Foreigner, The Glory Man, Rehearsal for Murder (Lamb’s Players), Birds of a Feather (Diversionary Theatre), Simpatico (New Village Arts),Good Boys (Mo’olelo), Tuesday’s With Morrie (North Coast Rep). Mike is a graduate of the William Esper Studio in New York City.


Her San Diego directing credits include Skelton Crew (The Old Globe, reading), The Car Plays: We Wait (LaJolla Playhouse, WOW Festival, Moving Arts) The Whale (reading; LaJolla Playhouse), Paper Cities (LaJolla Playhouse) Anatomy of Gray, Eurydice and A Streetcar Named Desire (USD), The Collector (Animal Cracker Conspiracy) Righteous Expliots (So Say We All), A Behanding in Spokane (Cygnet Theatre)Buried Child, Simpatico,Things We Want (New Village Arts), Killer Joe (Compass Theatre)(Patte Award), Miss Julie (Stone Soup), Crimes of the Heart and Anonymous(Canyon Crest Academy) Buried Child (UCSD) The Long Christmas Ride Home (Patte Award) and Looking for Normal (Diversionary Theatre), Handbag (AASD) and Islands of Repair (NYC Fringe). Additional directing credits include House of Blue Leaves, Our Town, The Boys Next Door, Picnic, Laughing Wild and several children’s musical for the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Creating Original Opera program. She received her MFA from the University of Montana and is also a graduate of The William Esper Studio in New York City She currently teaches at Mira Costa College, City College and University of San Diego. She is co-artistic director of MeisnerChekhov Integrated Training Studio.