Fallaci fascinates at Berkeley Rep, even if her play doesn’t

Mar 14

Fallaci fascinates at Berkeley Rep, even if her play doesn’t

Oriana Fallaci was a fascinating, riveting person in real life, a crusading, eviscerating journalist whose intensity often made her part of the story. In journalist and playwright Lawrence Wright's world-premeire play Fallaci at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Fallaci lives again, and true to form, she's a compelling personality whose intelligence, drive and complicated emotional life provide an abundance of drama.

As played by Concetta Tomei, Fallaci may be dealing with illness by shutting herself into her New York apartment, but she's still ferocious and prickly.

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Heavenly Angels exhibit takes wing

Nov 05

Heavenly <i>Angels</i> exhibit takes wing

The millennium approached, then quickly fell behind us. Time marches on, but Tony Kushner's Angels in America remains a landmark achievement of 20th century theater.

The legacy of the play that got its start at San Francisco's Eureka Theatre is on display at the Museum of Performance and Design, one of San Francisco's best kept museum secrets. The exhibit hall may be filled with memorabilia from Angels' humble beginnings on a red Formica table filled with scribbled-in notebooks to its domination of world stage (with the Pulitzer Prize and international posters to prove it), but what you really feel in this display is the extraordinary power of theater.

It doesn't happen very often, but when a play or a musical really taps into the American psyche, imaginations are ignited and artists are pushed to do work they didn't know they could do. MPD's curator of exhibitions and programs, Brad Rosenstein, has created a testament to the evanescence of theater. Plays may come and go, but sometimes in their wake, the world changes.

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With strings attached, Compulsion compells

Sep 17

With strings attached, <i>Compulsion</i> compells

It's so incredibly exciting to be enthralled by someone or something. In the case of Rinne Groff's Compulsion at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, it's someone and something.

The world-premiere production (in collaboration with Yale Repertory Theatre, where the play ran earlier this year, and The Public Theater in New York, where the play goes next) is ostensibly a roman a clef about the life of Meyer Levin, the journalist and novelist most famous for the novel Compulsion, his fictionalized spin on the Leopold and Loeb murders. Levin's stand-in here is Sid Silver, also Jewish, also from Chicago, also married to a French woman, also obsessed with Anne Frank and her diary.

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