Who we are…

“I can’t think of another local company that’s aiming so high.”

(SF Weekly)

Company of Fools (Core Members):

Ben Yalom (Executive Artistic Director), Debórah Eliezer (Co-Artistic Director), Michelle Haner (Contemporary French Plays Project Director), Brian Livingston (Performer, BRIDGE Program Performance Director), Grisel Torres (Company Manager)

Ensemble Members:

Gustavo Alonso, Nkechi Emerua, Angela Santillo

Occasional Accomplices:

Noor Adabachi, Paul Collins, Steven Morgan-Haskell, Beth Hersh, Joan Howard, Stephen Jacob

Old Fools: (Emeritus)

Lindsay Anderson, Kaibrina Sky Buck, Angie Bush, Jennifer Caleshu, Davina Cohen, Lisa Drostova, Kirsten Dwyer, Jason Craig, Téana David, Ben Eckstein, Corie Henninger, Csilla Horvath-Lewis, Rebecca Longworth, Jim Hudak,, Zac Jaffee, Jessica Jelliffe, Patrick Kaliski, Alexander Lewis, Laley Lippard, David Mendelsohn, Lillian Meredith, Ryan O’Donnell, Josiah Polhemus, Kunal Prasad, Grace Ng, Rod Hipskind, Mia Rovegno, Soren Santos, Elise Siegel , Elizabeth Spreen, Ambra Sultzbaugh, Jessica Unker, Enrique Urueta, Paul Walsh, Alec White, Wendy K. Yalom, Marlene Yarosh

Board of Trustees:

Janice Brenner, Ipek Burnett, Jennifer Caleshu, Debórah Eliezer, Stephen Farber, David Gimpelevich, Pamela Hollings, Dave Klaus, Ben Yalom

Core Members:

Ben YalomBen Yalom
(Executive Artistic Director)
Ben Yalom (foolsFURY Founder and Co-Artistic Director) Ben has directed many foolsFURY productions including the world premieres of Sheila Callaghan’s PORT OUT, STARBOARD HOME, and Doug Dorst’s MONSTER IN THE DARK (both created collaboratively with the foolsFURY ensemble), the US premiere of Fabrice Melquiot’s THE DEVIL ON ALL SIDES (which he also translated), the West Coast premiere of Martin Crimp’s seminal avant-garde work ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE, and many others. With Inverse Theater he directed the controversial musical BANGER’S FLOPERA in the New York Fringe Festival (“One of the top three musicals of the NY Fringe” American Theater Web; “Outstanding New Musical” Talkin Broadway). With Traveling Jewish Theatre he directed Naomi Newman’s award-winning one-woman show FALL DOWN, GET UP. Ben has also worked with A.C.T., the Playwrights Foundation, the Magic Theatre, Playground, the Aurora Theatre, and Encore Theatre (San Francisco); The Cell (New York); Playwrights’ Arena and EST LA (Los Angeles); and Théâtre Ange Magnétique (Paris).

Ben has taught at Stanford University, California College of the Arts, the Lee Strasberg Institute (NYU/Tisch), UC Riverside, the La Mama Umbria Director’s Symposium, the National Theater Institute, Vassar College, the Berkeley Rep School of Theater, and elsewhere. He is currently helping develop a new theater program at the United Nations International School in New York, and teaching at Fresno State.

Ben holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his fiction and essays have appeared in magazines nationwide. His translations of Fabrice Melquiot’s THE DEVIL ON ALL SIDES and ALBATROSS were recently published by Exit Press. He proudly serves on the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters.


Debórah Eliezer
(Co-Artistic Director)

Debórah Eliezer (Co-Artistic Director, Performer, Coach) Debórah has been working with the company since 2000 and a member of foolsFURY since 2005. She previously held the position of Education Director for five years. FoolsFURY credits include: Odessa in The Unheard of World (world premiere) by Fabrice Melquiot, Aurora in Faulted by Angela Santillo (world premiere, SF,) Director/Choreographer The Seeing Place, (FURY Factory 2014), Port Out Starboard Home by Shelia Callaghan, (world premiere SF & NYC, performer/choreographer,) (R)Evolution X, Sera, Monster in the Dark by Doug Dorst (world premiere,) The Devil on All Sides (world premiere, SF & NYC ), All You Can Eat, Apartment, and The Jensen Files. Choreographic credits include: (R)Evolution X, Monster in the Dark, Big Love, 12th Night, Valparaiso, Fall Down Get Up with TJT. Deborah developed the BRIDGE Apprenticeship program, directs the Internship Program and is passionate about training youth to be the artists and audiences of tomorrow.

Debórah has also worked with Golden Thread (SF/Cairo,) Splinter Group, Silvia Girardi, Woman’s Will, The Puppet Players, Marin Shakespeare and Antenna Theater. From 1996-2002 Debórah held the position of Co-Artistic Director of Eclipse Dance Theater. As a professional voiceover, you may have heard her voice in Leapfrog Toys, Sims video games or radio ads. She holds a B.A. Cum Laude from SFSU, teaches with foolsFURY, maintains a private coaching studio in SF and is a Certified Sound, Voice Movement Healing Arts Practitioner. www.deboraheliezer.com

Michelle Haner
(Contemporary French Plays Project Director, performer)

Michelle Haner has been a member of foolsFURY since 2007, where she oversees the company’s French Plays Project, dedicated to the translation and production of new French contemporary theater. Michelle studied and trained at Harvard, the Sorbonne, UCLA (M.F.A.) and L’Ecole Jacques LeCoq in Paris. Her work as a director includes Fabrice Melquiot’s “The Unheard of World” (world premiere for foolsFURY, 2015), Sarah Kane’s “Crave”, Charles Mee’s “Trojan Women”, Sheila Callaghan’s “Kate Crackernuts” and Dan Harder’s “Killer Story.” As an actress, favorite performances include Steve Morgan Haskell’s “how blue the sky was (Roland Barthes is dead)” and “All You Can Eat”. She has also performed in television (“CSI”, “Dragnet”, “Deadwood”, “One on One”) and independent films. Michelle also heads the arts department at the French-American International School in San Francisco, where in 2016, she is directing “HAMLET mashup” (Shakespeare’s work intercut with contemporary exploration).
Brian Livingston

Brian Livingston

Brian Livingston (performer) Brian Livingston is a Bay Area native actor, educator and director. He holds an BA from SFSU and an MFA in Dramatic Arts and Acting from UC Davis. He is a long-time core company member of foolsFURY Theater, creating over ten shows, and touring two to New York. Most recently he was seen as Balthazar in foolsFURY’s world premiere of Fabrice Melquiot’s The Unheard of World. With Christine Marie Ensemble he won best of New York Fringe Festival for work on Ground to Cloud. Brian was recently seen as Hedwig II in Boxcar Theater’s Hedwig and The Angry Inch, and Samuel Steward in Eye Zen’s HOMOfile at counterPULSE. He has played major roles in Shakespeare, Moliere, Williams, Ionesco, and Chekhov and recently just completed tour(s) of his one-man show Fragments from Artaud’s Desk, and the Improv-duet Knights of Revery. Brian works on the synthesis of traditional actor training from Stanislavski to Grotowski, contemporary devised work and ensemble development. Brian has trained around the world and at home with foolsFURY, Anne Bogart and the SITI Company, Dominique Serrand, Antero Alli, Stephen Wangh, Mary Overlie, Jim Kirkwood, Hiroko Tamano, and Sara Shelton Mann.
Grisel Torres

Grisel Torres
(Company Manager)

Grisel Torres (Company Manager) Grisel Torres is a freelance Lighting Designer, Stage Manager and now Company Manager at foolsFURY. This Bay Area native graduated from SFSU in 2013 with a degree in theatre production. G identifies with the ideology of ensemble theatre and collaborative design. As an artist, musician, and mover herself, she finds herself at home with foolsFURY. In the last few years G has collaborated and designed for Circo Zero/Keith Hennessy, Custom Made Theatre, and PUSH Dance Company among other great SF companies. To learn more about Grisel, visit grisel-torres.squarespace.com


Gustavo AlonsoGustavo Alonso
Gustavo Alonso, company member, graduate of The New School University, MFA, Actors Studio Drama School, NYC, New to Bay Area has lived and performed in CO, KS, TX, NYC, and NJ. This is his first full production with FoolsFURY having done staged readings, workshops and The Seeing Place directed by Debórah Eliezer in the fury factory theater festival 2014.



Nkechi is an actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, writer, dancer and painter. She loves making music, art and theatre come alive for audiences and is delighted to be a company member of foolsFURY theatre. Nkechi has performed nationally and internationally in commercials, TV, film and print and has toured the US with her music album “Soul Rock Butterfly”. In the Bay Area, Nkechi has performed with Theatre Rhinoceros in Walk Like a Man (J. Fisher), foolsFURY Theatre in The Baden Powell Wars, (S. Haskell) and The Unheard of World, (M. Haner) and Berkeley Playhouse in The BFG (J. Tracy) and Seussical, the Musical (K. Dooley). Nkechi’s actor training and practice began with the Meisner technique and now includes the art of ensemble and physical theatre making. Nkechi earned a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University before becoming an artist and is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance Making from California Institute of Integral Studies / Chichester, UK. Her creative website is www.nkechi.com/news

Angela Santillo

Angela Santillo
(playwright, director)

Angela Santillo (playwright, director) is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California where she directed and wrote the ACTF invited Red Umbrellas. As a member of foolsFURY she produced the 2007 FURY Factory, Malady of Death, Turn of the Screw, and Devil on all Sides at New York’s PS122. Her play Sera received a Incubator reading in 2008. Angela is currently pursuing her MFA in Theater at Sarah Lawrence College.

Board of Trustees:


Janice Brenner

Born and raised in South Africa. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Clinical and Industrial Psychology, from the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), Johannesburg, South Africa. Graduate Honors degree in Human Resource Management, Graduate School of Business Administration, WITS, Johannesburg, South Africa. Immigrated to the USA in 1986. Her professional experience has been in the field of community-building, public affairs, and marketing for a diplomatic mission. She was selected as a Wexner Heritage Foundation Fellow – a national Jewish leadership development program designed to groom outstanding professionals for the highest echelon of community leadership.
david-gimpelevichDavid Gimpelevich
David Gimpelevich is a seasoned senior executive with over 20 years of experience across consumer goods, software, and consulting industries. He brings to the table deep experience in M&A, a string of successful turnaround efforts, as well as a solid record in growing global businesses. Most recently, he has been engaged in advising prominent private equity firms in identifying and packaging acquisition opportunities. Mr. Gimpelevich has worked opportunities in the restaurant chain, toy, sporting goods, consumer electronics, and video game industries and has collaborated with such firms as the Texas Pacific Group, Sorenson Capital, Hellman & Friedman, Sun Capital and H.I.G. Capital. Mr. Gimpelevich speaks fluent Russian and has extensive international experience. He received his MBA with high honors from the University of California at Berkeley Haas School of Business.
Pamela HollingsPamela Hollings
Pamela Hollings is the Board Chair of foolsFURY Theater and the former Artistic Managing Director of Soup Kitchen Theatre, Melbourne, Australia. She holds a post-graduate Diploma in Theatre Direction from Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) whose distinguished alums include Cate Blanchett, Judy Davis, Baz Luhrmann and many more. She was a Waldorf Teacher for twenty years with experience teaching and mentoring students from toddlers to High School and their parents. She is undertaking Nature Awareness and relational education through Weaving Earth and is an Artistic Associate with the newly formed Bay Area Yat Institute. She has strong interests in group process, peacemaking, ritual and storytelling in all its forms.