Berkeley Rep and the flight of angels

In the closing scenes of Angels in America: Perestroika, Roy Cohn rages that he is “the heart of modern conservatism.” It’s a chilling observation. Cohn as a young prosecutor pushed, unethically, for the death of Ethel Rosenberg and was chief counsel of Joe McCarthy’s HUA team. As a character in Berkeley Rep’s seven-and-a-half-hour revival of Kushner’s award-winning play, he is portrayed as crass, manipulative and despicably unethical; in the real world, his imprint can be...

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Kitka stars in primal “Iron Shoes” at Ashby Stage

On a darkened stage spattered with stars, 15 courageous singers, dancers and actors taught us about the power of narrative. Kitka, America’s premiere Balkan women’s chorus, wove together three fairy tales with discordant drones, powerhouse harmonies and primal wails of sorrow to bespell a sold-out audience. Composed by 30-year Kitka veteran Janet Kutulas, this song cycle had depths made more accessible by the edgy story-telling and remarkably fluid movement. Kutulas brought together...

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Love’s Uncertainty Principle

Heisenberg’s principle provides a mathematical equation for the impossibility of predicting both the position and momentum of a particle precisely. It’s a concept that, with its discovery, immediately splashed over into everyday parlance. As a metaphor, what could more accurately describe life? Or, as Simon Stephen’s play asserts, love? Heisenberg, now at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater, is the British playwright’s complex tribute to love. Complex because neither the two characters...

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“A Number” counts as many

British playwright Caryl Churchill’s A Number opened at the Aurora Theater’s upstairs black box, Harry’s UpStage, this past week in a fast moving production. A short thought-provoking play of five scenes with two actors, A Number calls on a wide spectrum of emotions to be put forth succinctly and powerfully. Intriguingly, Michael Gambon played Salter and Daniel Craig played the three sons in the 2002 London premier. A Number premiered a mere six years after...

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Qui Nguyen’s “Vietgone” at The Strand

Vietgone, the 2015 play by Qui Nguyen, recently opened at A.C.T,’s Strand Theater. Like many of the productions given at this intimate house with its ultra-contemporary feel, the play is edgy and transformative, attempting to showcase a wider perspective on the community in all its dazzling diversity. And like many of the performances presented, Vietgone is intriguing and entertaining, even as it steps outside the strictures of classical theater. Vietgone is a...

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Central Works winds through the maze in “Bamboozled”

Central Works opened its 58th world premiere this past weekend with Bamboozled, a play written by Patricia Milton and developed in the company’s Writers Workshop. The play like so many of Central Works’ creations is political, full of ironic humor and blessed with a twisty-turny roller-coaster plot. The play takes place in a law office in a small town in Tennessee during February 2017. A young African American woman, Abby, has been accused of fraud by one of the local pillars of...

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