Desert Ensemble Theatre Presents “Artificial Morality”


Scholarship recipient directs world premiere of a new play by Tony Padilla

 Desert Ensemble Theatre continues its new residency at the Palm Springs Cultural Center in January with the world premiere of Artificial Morality by award-winning playwright Tony Padilla. In a company first, former student intern and scholarship recipient Cameron Keys directs the production. Shawn Abramowitz, DET’s Executive Director, is assistant director.

Performances are January 21­–23 and January 28–30: Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 7pm. Tickets are $35 and available at

DET Artistic Director Jerome Elliott announced that, due to the current COVID/Omicron surge, audiences will be limited to 40 per performance (one-third of theater capacity). “The health and safety of our audience, actors and crew are of paramount importance. We will limit seating to create ample opportunity for social distancing. Further, all audience members must provide proof of vaccination at the door and wear a mask during the performance. All actors will be tested prior to performances. In this way, audiences can continue to experience compelling live theatre during this challenging time.”

Artificial Morality centers on the character of Rufus Foster, who lands an entry-level job at a publishing house. What will he say or do in his insatiable desire to advance his career? Playwright Padilla states: “Artificial Morality looks at how technology is shaping our character in the 21st century. It questions the limits of ‘free speech’ and examines our rapidly changing moral values. The play was inspired by actual events that made me question where our society is heading when we no longer suffer the consequences of our actions.”

Keys was the recipient of a $1,000 DET scholarship in 2020 for his exemplary work in the company’s internship program, where he participated in all facets of DET’s productions. As an actor, he performed in the 2017 production of Expressions by Shawn Abramowitz, garnering a Desert Theatre League nomination. In 2020, he served as Abramowitz’s Assistant Director on the critically acclaimed world premiere production of Adoption Roulette. Keys will soon transfer from College of the Desert to San Francisco State University.

“We are thrilled to give Cameron the opportunity to direct during our eleventh season,” said Elliott. “Throughout his participation in our internship program, he demonstrated excellence in every aspect of production. His eagerness to direct demonstrates our internship program in action. Notably, this season four additional former interns and scholarship recipients have returned to work with us professionally in production and design roles. We are extremely proud of their achievements.”

DET company members and Desert Theatre League Award winners Fergus Loughnane and Bonnie Gilgallon return for this production. Scott DiLorenzo and Laura Martinez-Urrea make their DET debuts.


CALENDAR: Desert Ensemble Theatre presents: ARTIFICIAL MORALITY

Jan. 21–23 and 28–30

Fridays, 7pm; Saturdays, 2pm and 7pm; Sundays, 2pm

Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E Baristo Rd, Palm Springs

Tickets: $35,

Phone: (760) 565-2476

To Top