Posts tagged Berkeley Rep
The Berkeley Rep's 'Metamorphoses' Turns Ovid Into A Church Mouse

In her Metamorphoses, Mary Zimmerman trashes Ovid with the same tenacity that Shakespeare in Love does to Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night, turning the ghost of real art into a pretty looking meal for haute bourgeois hicks. But what else would we expect of the Berkeley Rep, a theater that’s been aiming down for at least seven years and possibly a decade. Paying for these tickets is to feel the waste of contemporary capitalism, where everything is pre-packaged, even wild desire.

What you get here is the façade of art, pretty and beguiling on the outside, but as an experience utterly disposable. As it unfolds before you, know that every last moment of it is designed to shock and awe you into not caring, to sitting back in your chair and embracing the willful madness of experiencing nothing. That’s really not something we should be clapping for.

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Berkeley Rep's 'Paradise Square' Aims For High-Quality Creativity And Unfortunately Hits The Mark

Paradise Square is the unwitting product of the crisis of authorship in American theater. In many ways what the musical is about is beside the point, though its plot and aspirations are telling to say the least. In its seriousness, it obliterates any possibility of artistic ambition, wildness, freedom, and scope. Its goal is to parrot conventional sensibilities and give them a high culture sheen of political and social importance. There’s no author here, only a producer selling the idea of high-quality creativity.

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The Best of Bay Area Theater in 2018

There must be a better way to sum up 2018 Bay Area Theater than flying away from the scene of the crime, but since I’m actually on a shaky Jet Blue flight on the eve of the New Year I’ll have to accept the situation. And accepting the situation is what this list is about: the situation of the country, the situation of a theater and performance culture that is too often automated and soulless, and, most depressingly, the situation of a great art form that still manages to gather sizable audiences, but to rather aesthetically and politically questionable ends.

There were moments of fire and passion and real insight in 2018, but over and over again they felt like dying stars in distant galaxies. These five stars burned the brightest and in many ways all of them were Black Swans, miracles of happenstance, the outliers of an increasingly dark age of false outrage, preening conformity, and aesthetic timidity. Yet, if you pay attention, there was always an individual—the playwright, the director, the choreographer, an actor, and in the case of our best production of the year, a company (albeit German but brought to us by the engaged presenters at Cal Performances) that just refused to accept the world in its present state.

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