Exploring extraordinary Tribes at Berkeley Rep

Apr 17

Exploring extraordinary <i>Tribes</i> at Berkeley Rep

There is not another drama about family, about communication, about the very essence of language like Nina Raine's Tribes. The 2010 British play now on Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Thrust Stage is among the funniest, most moving and deeply engaging shows we're likely to see this year

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Fo-pas: Laughing (or not) through Accidental Death

Mar 13

Fo-pas: Laughing (or not) through <i>Accidental Death</i>

Maybe you have to be in the right mood for a satirically slapstick political farce. I can tell you I was definitely in no mood for satirically slapstick political farce – not that I knew that when I sat down to watch the Berkeley Repertory Theatre/Yale Repertory Theatre production of Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo.

The last time director Christopher Bayes and his merry band of clowns came to Berkeley Rep – two years ago with Molière's A Doctor in Spite of Himself (read my review here), I was thoroughly delighted by the expertly calibrated zaniness. Now...

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Gardley’s House stands best when it sings

Feb 08

Gardley’s <i>House</i> stands best when it sings

Music is so ingrained in New Orleans culture that it's no surprise when a play set in the area turns out to be full of wonderful choral singing, voodoo chanting and other musical surprises. But what's interesting about Marcus Gardley's The House that will not Stand, now receiving its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, is that music elevates the show in ways the plot and characters do not.

This play about a mixed-race family in New Orleans circa 1836 really wants to be a musical.

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Why won’t Baryshnikov smile?

Jan 27

Why won’t Baryshnikov smile?

Perhaps not surprisingly, Mikhail Baryshnikov has once again crossed paths with high art. The legendary dancer has aged into a successful career as an actor/performance artist. At 66, he could simply retire. Or teach. But he continues to push himself in new directions.


This time out he is working with Big Dance Theater's Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar to adapt to Anton Chekhov short stories ("Man in a Case" and "About Love") from later in the celebrated writer's career. But these aren't simple, straightforward adaptations. No, these are video installations. These are dance-movement pieces. These are...

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2013: The year’s best Bay Area theater

Dec 23

2013: The year’s best Bay Area theater

If you’re looking for the year’s best, you can shorten your search by heading directly to Word for Word, that ever-amazing group that turns short works of fiction into some of the most captivating theater we see around here. This year, we were graced with two outstanding Word for Word productions. You Know When the Men Are Gone – Word for...

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Passion, ache and lots of great music in splendid Tristan

Nov 27

Passion, ache and lots of great music in splendid <i>Tristan</i>

The thing about a love story is this: you want to feel it. You need to feel it. When Juliet wakes just after Romeo bites it, if you’re not feeling that dagger in your own chest, what’s the point?

There are only so many love stories – love gained, love lost, love unrequited – and so many variations. How, then, do you make the story fresh? How do you reignite the passions and make your audience feel it all anew?

The shortest answer to that query is: let Kneehigh tell the story.

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