Laura's Editors' Picks: March/April 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
By Laura Brueckner
Accidental Death of an Anarchist
Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Mar. 7–Apr. 14
The most famous play of Nobel winner Dario Fo, Accidental Death is based on events involving a real person: an anarchist activist accused of bombing a bank who fell—or was thrown—from the fourth floor of a police station. Most wouldn't find this terribly funny, but Fo's trademark is his use of grotesque, exaggerated humor to create biting critiques of the government, the Catholic church, banks and any other powerful organization that victimizes everyday citizens. Despite censorship, threats and even violent attacks against himself and his wife, Franca Rame, Fo has made his career railing against authority, using the old-fashioned, rough-hewn theatrical forms of the people (commedia dell'arte, etc.) to champion the people's cause. Starring Steven Epp (formerly of Théâtre de la Jeune Lune), this '60s-era political piece may yet prove itself to be (unfortunately) relevant to the abuses of power we seem to witness every day. Visit berkeleyrep.org.
Steven Epp in Berkeley Rep's 2006 Production of The Miser. In Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Epp appears as The Maniac. Photo: Courtesy of Michal Daniel
Laura's Other Picks
Alvin Ailey revolutionized modern dance, not least by founding Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958. Blues Suite, one of his early works, married the sounds of the blues to what would become the company's signature palette of ballet, modern dance, jazz and African dance; the much-honored company has since performed for millions of people in more than 70 countries. New (since 2011) artistic director Robert Battle has continued to stage Ailey's iconic pieces, but has also commissioned new works by up-and-coming choreographers for the troupe. This run of performances includes Ailey's landmark work Revelations, and centers on the music of Duke Ellington. Visit calperfs.berkeley.edu.
Grand Lake Coffee House
Mar. 10 & Apr. 14
Where do theatre folks relax, let their hair down and really be themselves? In front of an audience, naturally. Rami Margron and Cassidy Brown created and host The Shout, a storytelling event held the second Monday each month, where a handful of raconteurs tell short, true stories from their lives. Shows feature both "headlining" performers and lucky audience members whose names are drawn from a hat; previous headliners have included Corey Fischer, Marilee Talkington, Mollena Williams, Michael Gene Sullivan, Jonathan Spector and Erin Merritt. Come learn about your friends, come share a story yourself, or just come soak up material to adapt for that play you're writing. Visit theshoutstorytelling.com.
Thru May 25
Creative cross-pollination time! The Possible is not a show, exactly, but a two-years-in-the-making "experimental exhibition" that aims to be an "open platform for shared creativity" between artists in diverse media and the public. The Possible will include a "multisensory library," a dye lab, a stage, a ceramics studio, a recording studio and more; in these spaces, guest artists will collaborate with each other and with visitors in creating new work that will become part of the museum's more permanent gallery exhibit. A large roster of cool cats are slated to contribute, including Anna Halprin, Hadi Tabatabai, Zoe Brezsny of KALX, Edible Schoolyard and Mississippi Records. Visit bampfa.berkeley.edu/exhibition/possible.
Laura Brueckner is Digital Content Manager for Theatre Bay Area, and the author of "Bread and Circuits," a TBA Online column on intersections of theatre and technology. She is also Director of New Works at Crowded Fire Theater in San Francisco.