Poster Image/Design: Marisa Darabi

Poster Image/Design: Marisa Darabi


Forge Master: Anna Smith

Reading #1: 7pm, September 8, 2019 
Hell Is Other People
by Michael J Hawkins and Carrie Rudner

Reading #2: 7pm, February 9, 2020 
by Bridgette Dutta Portman

Reading #3: 7pm, September 13, 2020
Rocket Ship Heist
by Zach Barryte, Drache Bowens-Rubin, and Julie Richardson

Reading #4: [October TBA]
by Min Kahng and Austin Zumbro

All readings at Shotgun Studios, 1201 University Ave, Berkeley. Find out more about getting there here.


Hell Is Other People

by Michael J Hawkins and Carrie Rudner
directed by Sam Tillis

Julieten....Emily Dwyer
Ellen....Katie Whitcraft
Charlie....Colin Johnson
Adam....Jarrett Holley
Stage Directions.....Tyler Jeffreys

At the end of the word, could you overcome the decisions that define you? Could you sacrifice yourself to save everyone? Or maybe you think... HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE.

Hell Is Other People is not your traditional zombie apocalypse play. It follows Ellen, the scientist desperately racing to find a cure for the zombie virus, and Julieten, her teenage daughter. But nothing is quite as it seems in the world of the zombies and the survivors. Why is Julieten not allowed to communicate with other survivors? Why do the soldiers who guard Ellen’s lab worship her like a god? And why is there a zombie chained up in the corner of the room? Hell Is Other People is a tragedy of humanity and post-humanity in two acts.

CW: Suicide, rape


Michael J. Hawkins has written and voiced thousands of commercials in his life, and this play is a small attempt to balance that negative factor. Michael escaped the padded rooms of broadcasting to go back to college, earning a BFA in 2014. His knees, legs, and backside can be seen on WESTWORLD on HBO, as well as other background moments with no face-time. Michael translated himself from L.A. to the Bay in 2016. Since arriving, Michael continues to write whenever possible, act, direct, and puppeteer across the Bay area as well as forming Better Led Productions, Inc. this year.

CR headshot.jpeg

Carrie Rudner has a BA in Anthropology from UCSC and a Masters in Social Work from Boston University. She has spent all of her life overthinking and, thankfully, has found solace in writing short stories and spoken word poetry. She can be seen performing in the improv troupe Stone Soup in Berkeley and the murder mystery show Dinner Detective in San Francisco. Carrie would like to thank Michael for this amazing journey of a dream realized, her husband for supporting her decision to leave social work. and her parents for raising such a weirdo. You can follow Carrie’s travel antics on Instagram @mytravelingbuddies.


The Forge is yet another component of QDT's desire to boldly go where few theatre companies have gone before. It's our version of a development program, but with a genre-specific edge. We've found three brave and somewhat geeky playwrights with speculative visions to bring to life on stage, and we're helping them get to the those elusive finished first drafts. After that, who knows? We recruit playwrights who have ideas for plays that have elements of what we consider to be our mission: sci-fi, fantasy, or other strongly speculative genres. Then, with occasional meetings or check-ins from our Forge Master, our dramatugical and develomental guru, we turn them loose with the mandate to get words on a page. After a few months, we organize a closed-room table-reading for each playwright, just to hear their work in progress be read out loud by local actors and have a chance to ask questions and get feedback. After the closed-room reading, we give the playwrights a few more weeks to tweak and polish their plays. During that time, they continue meeting with the Forge Master, and we connect them with a director. Then, we round up another batch of actors and a space, and give each play a few nights of rehearsal, culminating in a staged reading for an audience— who get to experience the cutting edge of sci-fi theatre.