Complex, human look at gun violence in Berkeley Rep Hours

Mar 02

Complex, human look at gun violence in Berkeley Rep <i>Hours</i>

Julia Cho is exactly the kind of playwright I crave. She's thoughtful, adventurous and fanciful in a way that relates directly to reality (she's not a fantasist – her flights mean something in the day to day). She cares about people and their messes, both internal and external. Her Aubergine at Berkeley Repertory Theatre was a revelation (read my review here) and has become one of my favorite plays in recent memory. Her play Office Hour, now at Berkeley Rep's Peet's Theatre, is a thorny piece of work.

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Watch on the Rhine at Berkeley Rep

Dec 08

<i>Watch on the Rhine</i> at Berkeley Rep

The thing I can't stand about 24-hour cable news networks is that it's 5% news and 95% talking heads spouting opinions and fighting over those opinions.

The thing I loved about Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine (a co-production from Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Guthrie Theatre) is that the author stakes a claim for action. After a certain point, opinions matter a whole lot less than what you choose to do about whatever opinion you hold.

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Madwoman drives a Volvo through ‘the change’

Dec 17

<i>Madwoman</i> drives a Volvo through ‘the change’

If the idea of an NPR-ready take on the challenges and complexity of menopause appeals to you, get yourself to Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Peet's Theatre to see The Madwoman in the Volvo, Sandra Tsing Loh's disarmingly humorous exploration of her midlife mania. If the combo of NPR and menopause raises your hackles, stay away.

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Bass and voice conjure the Trojans in An Iliad

Oct 18

Bass and voice conjure the Trojans in <i>An Iliad</i>

One minute the stage is bare, then there's a blackout, some noise, and suddenly the stage is full of...a poet. Not just a poet, but The Poet, the guy who is going to tell us the story of ...not The Iliad but An Iliad.

And what's better than being told a story? Nothing, especially when the teller is as dynamic and as bracing as Henry Woronicz, who plays The Poet in this adaption from Homer by Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson, who also directs. The language is muscular, bold and modern (and drawn from the Robert Fagles translation); it conjures the horrors of the Trojan War in vivid terms that are both epic and intimate.

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