Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Written by Christopher Durang
Directed by Richard E.T. White
Limited Season · Roda Theatre
September 20–October 27, 2013

Winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play!

Running time: 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission

Christopher Durang—Obie Award winner of such rollicking comedies as Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and The Marriage of Bette & Boo—turns Chekhov on his head in this witty and incisive new farce for our modern hyperconnected world. In bucolic Bucks County, PA, Vanya and Sonia have frittered their lives away in their family’s farmhouse full of regret, angst and the alarmingly ambiguous prophecies of their addled housecleaner Cassandra. Enter their sister, self-absorbed movie star Masha, with her prized 20-something boy toy Spike, and the stage is set for an absurd weekend of general hilarity and global warming. This year’s Broadway sensation, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike delights audiences with its abundant comic twists while paying loving homage to Chekhov’s classic themes of loss and longing.

Berkeley Rep offers an advisory about any stage effect of potential concern to patrons’ health. This show has none. We don’t offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any concerns about content, please contact the box office.


Production sponsor

The Bernard Osher Foundation

Season sponsors

BARTSan Francisco Chronicle / SFGate.comWells Fargo

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike calendar

Open captioningPartial support for open captioning provided by Theatre Development Fund

Creative team

Open all · Close all

Christopher Durang · Playwright

Christopher DurangChristopher’s work has appeared on Broadway, off Broadway, across America, and around the world. His many plays include The Actor’s Nightmare, Baby with the Bathwater, Betty’s Summer Vacation (Obie Award), Beyond Therapy, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, Laughing Wild, The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie Award), Media Amok, Miss Witherspoon (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, Sex and Longing, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie Award), and Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them. His play Beyond Therapy made its West Coast premiere at Berkeley Rep in 1983. Christopher earned the Tony Award for Best Play with Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical with A History of the American Film, and also wrote the book for Adrift in Macao. He co-wrote The Idiots Karamazov with Albert Innaurato, and co-wrote and performed the cabaret Das Lusitania Songspiel with Sigourney Weaver. He has been co-chair of the playwriting program at the Juilliard School since 1994. Christopher was recently inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, and his other honors include the Dramatists Guild Hull Warriner Award, the Harvard Arts Medal, and the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist.

Richard E.T. White · Director

Richard E.T. WhiteRichard directed 11 shows at Berkeley Rep between 1984 and 1994, including Blue Window, Dancing at Lughnasa, Hard Times (West Coast premiere), The Importance of Being Earnest, In the Belly of the Beast, Painting It Red (West Coast premiere), Reckless, The Sea, Speed-the-Plow, and The Tooth of Crime (with Sharon Ott). In 1987, his production of Hard Times was selected for the American Theatre Exchange in Manhattan, becoming the first show in Berkeley Rep’s history to transfer to New York. Richard served as artistic director of San Francisco’s Eureka Theatre and Chicago’s Wisdom Bridge Theatre. He has also worked with Alliance Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theater, California Shakespeare Theater, Court Theatre, the Empty Space Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Northlight Theatre, the Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company. With Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert, he co-created the electronic opera Slow Fire, which toured internationally and appeared at Lincoln Center. His recent work includes Red at Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Arizona Theatre Company, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Lion in Winter at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Richard has been chair of the Cornish College of the Arts Theater Department since 1995 when he returned from a three-year residency in Japan, which included teaching at Toin and Gaukushuin Universities and serving as resident director for Theatre Company Subaru in Tokyo.

(Photo by Michelle Smith-Lewis)

Kent Dorsey · Scenic Design

Kent returns to Berkeley Rep where he was the scenic designer for The Alchemist, For Better or Worse, Serious Money, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dancing at Lughnasa, Mother Jones, and Blue Window. He also designed both sets and lights for The Tooth of Crime, Volpone, Life During Wartime, In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe, Missing Persons, Yankee Dawg You Die, Fish Head Soup, and Speed-the-Plow, and his lighting designs include Dream of a Common Language, Geni(us), The Convict’s Return, Major Barbara, and Diary of a Scoundrel. Kent’s New York theatre productions include Alligator Tales, About Time, The Cocktail Hour, Yankee Dawg You Die, Suds, Another Antigone, and Silence. He has worked as scenic and/or lighting designer for such notable directors as Jerry Zaks, Jack O’Brien, Ellis Rabb, Adrian Hall, John Hirsch, John Tillinger, Brian Bedford, Edward Payson Call, John Rando, Tony Taccone, Richard E.T. White, Oskar Eustis, and Sharon Ott. He has designed scenery or lighting on 97 productions for San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre and has designed for most of the major resident theatre companies including the Kennedy Center, the Ahmanson, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, American Conservatory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, the Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Play House, the Alliance Theatre, and the Denver Center Theatre Company.

Debra Beaver Bauer · Costume Design

Beaver is a Bay Area costume designer, and she’s excited to return to Berkeley Rep, where she designed What the Butler Saw, Tartuffe, Blue Window, In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe, Rhinoceros, The House of Blue Leaves, and Menocchio. She has also designed numerous productions for American Conservatory Theater, California Shakespeare Theater, Magic Theatre, TheatreWorks, and other local companies. Her work has also taken her to Washington, DC and New York City. She has been the resident designer for Teatro Zinzanni, and her circus roots have taken her to Russia and productions in Japan. Beaver is also quite fond of designing for dance and, yes, ice skaters. She includes San Francisco Ballet, Margaret Jenkins, skating productions for NBC, and various arenas around the country among her credits. She also admits to a few large-scale floor shows in Las Vegas. She is also now in collaboration with Brenda Wong Aoki on a Noh-inspired underwater folk tale.

Alexander V. Nichols · Lighting Design

Alex is returning to Berkeley Rep for his 26th production. His theatre credits include the Broadway productions of Hugh Jackman Back On Broadway and Wishful Drinking (originally presented by Berkeley Rep), and the off- Broadway productions of Bridge & Tunnel, Horizon, In the Wake, Los Big Names, Taking Over, and Through the Night. Alex’s other design credits include American Conservatory Theater, Arena Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, the Mark Taper Forum, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Seattle Repertory Theatre. He was the resident designer for American Repertory Ballet, Hartford Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet; the lighting supervisor for American Ballet Theatre; and has been the resident visual designer for the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. His designs are in the permanent repertory of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Boston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance, ODC/SF, and San Francisco Ballet, among others. Alex’s recent projects include the museum installation Circle of Memory, presented in Stockholm, and video and visual design for Life: A Journey Through Time, presented at the Barbican Center.

Rob Milburn & Michael Bodeen · Original Music & Sound Design

Rob and Michael are happy to return to Berkeley Rep where they recently composed music and designed sound for No Man’s Land (and its upcoming move to Broadway). Their other Broadway credits include music composition and sound for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Miracle Worker, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Speed of Darkness; music for My Thing of Love; and sound for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Superior Donuts, reasons to be pretty, A Year with Frog and Toad, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Hollywood Arms, King Hedley II, Buried Child, The Song of Jacob Zulu, and The Grapes of Wrath. Their off-Broadway credits include music and sound for Checkers, How I Learned to Drive, Inked Baby, After Ashley, Boy Gets Girl, Red, Space, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, and Marvin’s Room; sound for Family Week, Brundibar, The Pain and the Itch, and Jitney; and music direction and sound for Eyes for Consuela and Ruined. They have created music and sound at many of America’s resident theatres (often with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre), plus the Comedy Theatre in London’s West End, the Barbican Center, the National Theatre of Great Britain, the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv, the Subaru Acting Company in Japan, and festivals in Toronto, Dublin, Galway, Perth, and Sydney.

Michael Suenkel · Stage Manager

Michael began his association with Berkeley Rep as the stage management intern for the 1984–85 season and is now in his 20th year as production stage manager. Some of his favorite shows include 36 Views, Endgame, Eurydice, Hydriotaphia, and Mad Forest. He has also worked with the Barbican in London, the Huntington Theatre Company, the Juste Pour Rire Festival in Montreal, La Jolla Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public Theater, The Public Theater and Second Stage Theater in New York, and Yale Repertory Theatre. For the Magic Theatre, he stage managed Albert Takazauckas’ Breaking the Code and Sam Shepard’s The Late Henry Moss.

Leslie M. Radin · Assistant Stage Manager

Leslie is very pleased to be back at Berkeley Rep after most recently stage managing Troublemaker, or The Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright and assistant stage managing Chinglish (both here and at the Hong Kong Arts Festival). She started at Berkeley Rep as the stage management intern in 2003 and has also worked at Center Rep, American Conservatory Theater’s MFA program, San Francisco Opera Center’s Merola Program, SF Playhouse, and the New Victory Theater in New York, where she traveled with Berkeley Rep’s production of Brundibar/But the Giraffe. Her favorite past productions include In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Passing Strange, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Pillowman, and The Secret in the Wings.

Julie McCormick · Dramaturg

Julie is the literary associate at Berkeley Rep. She has previously served as a dramaturg on John Logan’s Red and has worked with various projects at The Ground Floor Summer Residency Lab. She also occasionally freelances at other theatres in the Bay Area. Julie was the 2011–12 Peter F. Sloss Literary/Dramaturgy Fellow at Berkeley Rep, and holds a BA from Carleton College.

Amy Potozkin · Casting

A native New Yorker, Amy moved west in 1990 when she was hired to work for Berkeley Rep. Through the years she has also had the pleasure of casting projects for ACT (Seattle), Arizona Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre Company, B Street Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Marin Theatre Company, the Marsh, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Social Impact Productions Inc., and Traveling Jewish Theatre. Amy cast roles for various indie films: Conceiving Ada, starring Tilda Swinton; Haiku Tunnel and the upcoming Love and Taxes both by Josh Kornbluth; and the upcoming feature film Beyond Redemption by Britta Sjogren. Amy received her MFA from Brandeis University, where she was also an artist in residence. She has been a coach to hundreds of actors, teaches acting at Mills College, and leads workshops at Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre and numerous other venues in the Bay Area. Amy is a member of CSA, the Casting Society of America.

Calleri Casting · Casting

Calleri Casting is James Calleri, Paul Davis, and Erica Jensen. Their most recent theatre credits include Venus in Fur on Broadway and the long-running Fuerza Bruta, as well as All in the Timing, My Name is Asher Lev, the revival of Passion, and The Revisionist starring Vanessa Redgrave and Jesse Eisenberg. Some past Broadway credits include 33 Variations, Chicago, James Joyce’s The Dead, and A Raisin in the Sun. Calleri also cast for shows at The Civilians, Classic Stage Company, Epic Theatre Ensemble, the Flea Theater, Keen Company, Long Wharf Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, New Georges, the Old Globe, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, stagefarm, Summer Play Festival, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. They cast 10 seasons with Playwrights Horizons, including such plays as Betty’s Summer Vacation, Goodnight Children Everywhere, Lobby Hero, Small Tragedy, and Violet, to name a few. Their TV credits include Army Wives, Ed, Hope & Faith, Lipstick Jungle, Monk, and Z Rock, and film credits include Another Earth, Armless, Merchant Ivory’s The City of Your Final Destination, Heights, Lisa Picard is Famous, Peter & Vandy, Ready? OK!, Trouble Every Day, The White Countess, and Yearbook. Calleri received 12 Artios Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Casting and is a member of CSA.

Additional credits

Dylan Russell · Assistant Director
Lynne Soffer · Dialect Coach
MaryBeth Cavanaugh · Movement Consultant

Cast (in order of appearance)

Open all · Close all

Anthony Fusco · Vanya

Anthony FuscoAnthony is (finally) making his Berkeley Rep debut. A Marin County kid, he came back to the Bay Area from New York City in 1999 and since has been a leading actor and company member at American Conservatory Theater and California Shakespeare Theater, playing memorable roles in dozens of productions. His personal favorites include Clybourne Park, Samuel Beckett’s Play, Dead Metaphor, David Mamet’s Race and November, The Homecoming, Hedda Gabler (directed by Richard E.T. White), Caucasian Chalk Circle, and The Three Sisters at ACT; and King Lear, Blithe Spirit, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Tempest, Arms and the Man, and Candida at Cal Shakes. On Broadway, Anthony has appeared in The Real Thing and The Real Inspector Hound. He has performed in plays off Broadway (and off-off-off Broadway) and at many of America’s major regional theatres. His (few) film appearances include his role as a creepy priest in Francis Ford Coppola’s Twixt. Anthony lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children. He is a graduate of Juilliard.

Sharon Lockwood · Sonia

Sharon LockwoodSharon was last seen at Berkeley Rep as a 200-year-old woman in Culture Clash’s Zorro in Hell. Her other favorite Berkeley Rep credits include Valpone, The Alchemist, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Triumph of Love, Pentecost, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Magic Fire. Sharon has also performed extensively at American Conservatory Theater, most recently in the world premiere of Dead Metaphor. Her other act appearances include roles in ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Hedda Gabler, The Rose Tattoo, The Royal Family, The Government Inspector, and A Christmas Carol (2005–12). Sharon originated the role of Barbara in the world premiere of Nickel and Dimed under the direction of Bartlett Sher, which premiered at Intiman Theatre in Seattle and subsequently played at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. She reprised the role in a TheatreWorks/Brava for Women in the Arts co-production here in the Bay Area. Her other local credits include many appearances at California Shakespeare Theater (most recently in Richard Montoya’s American Night), San Jose Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Center Rep, and many years with the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Regionally, she has performed at La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, the Alley Theatre, and Long Wharf Theatre.

Heather Alicia Simms · Cassandra

Heather Alicia SimmsHeather is pleased to make her debut at Berkeley Rep. An actor, voiceover artist, and writer, she has appeared on television, in film, and on stage in New York, London, and regional theatres around the country. Heather’s Broadway credits include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, A Raisin in the Sun, and Gem of the Ocean. Her other theatre credits include The Brother/Sister Plays, born bad, The Exonerated, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Breath, Boom, and Insurrection: Holding History, among others. Heather’s film credits include Red Hook Summer, The Nanny Diaries, Broken Flowers, Head of State, and NY’s Dirty Laundry, among others. Her television credits include Law & Order, Whoopi, Homicide, Third Watch, and As the World Turns. Heather attended Tufts University where she received a BA in history and English. She received an MFA from Columbia University. Heather is the recipient of a Round 4 TCG/Fox Foundation Fellowship. Visit heatherasimms.com.

Lorri Holt · Masha

Lorri HoltLorri’s favorite roles at Berkeley Rep include Gwen in Finn In The Underworld, Catherine in Fêtes de la Nuit, Beth in Dinner With Friends, Becky Lou in The Tooth of Crime, Agnes in Dancing at Lughnasa, Libby in Blue Window, and Rachel in Reckless (these last three directed by Richard E.T. White). She has been an award-winning actress in the Bay Area for three decades, working with SF Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, Marin Theatre Company, Center Rep, TheatreWorks, and in long-running San Francisco commercial productions, including The Vagina Monologues and another Christopher Durang play, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, with Cloris Leachman. For 10 years she was a member of the groundbreaking Eureka Theatre, where she originated the role of Harper Pitt in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Her regional and international credits include the Wilma Theater; Birmingham Repertory Theatre; the Barbican Theatre; La Jolla Playhouse; Taper, Too at the Mark Taper Forum; and Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Festival of New American Plays. She has voiced many characters in the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings video games, teaches acting, and is a published writer of short stories and articles on acting and theatre. Lorri is also an experienced realtor with Thornwall Properties in Berkeley.

Mark Junek · Spike

Mark JunekMark is thrilled to be making his Berkeley Rep debut. His credits include The Performers (on Broadway), Galileo and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Classic Stage Company, The Imaginary Invalid at Bard SummerScape, and The Seagull and Henry V at Juilliard. He has appeared in the TV shows Smash and Law & Order: SVU. Mark is a founder of Makehouse, which provides artists free space and time to create in rural New Jersey; visit makehouse.org. Mark received his MFA with Juilliard Drama Division, group 40, and his BA at Columbia University.

Caroline Kaplan · Nina

Caroline KaplanCaroline is thrilled to be making her Berkeley Rep debut with this beautiful, hilarious, incisive new play. Her New York credits include Hester in The Silver Cord at the Peccadillo Theater Company and Polly in The Threepenny Opera at Riverside Theater. She has also appeared at Center Stage in Baltimore in The Completely Fictional–Utterly True–Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allen Poe, Trinity Repertory Company in The Merchant of Venice, the Guthrie Theater in the world premiere of Going Live, and Williamstown Theatre Festival in The Three Sisters. Caroline’s other favorite roles include Cunegonde in Candide, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Lucille Frank in Parade, Irina in The Three Sisters, and Eliante in The Misanthrope. She received her training at the Brown/Trinity Graduate Acting program. Caroline is the proud recipient of a Stephen Sondheim fellowship.

The actors and stage managers are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

“Misery loves comedy…Nobody can make misery funnier than comic treasure Sharon Lockwood. As Sonia, the spinster left behind to care for dying parents at the rural homestead, Lockwood shares every momentary grievance, lifelong resentment and gloomy expectation with sidesplitting earnestness. She’s even funnier when she stops kvetching, breaking an enforced silence with a sigh. She’s perfectly matched in Richard E.T. White’s effortlessly charming production by Anthony Fusco and Lorri Holt as her siblings—adoptive, as everyone points out—Vanya and Masha. The names aren’t the only things Durang’s borrowed from Chekhov. Personalities, situations, plot developments, lines and themes derive from a bountiful mash-up of Chekhov’s four major plays with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Ingmar Bergman, the Beatles, Old Yeller, the Oresteia and Maggie Smith thrown in…Hilarious!”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Roars from start to finish…The production boasts performances that play ridiculousness to the hilt and performers who seem to revel in every moment of it…Despite the excesses, the three central figures in the six-character play rise above mere caricature. Beneath all the fun and frolic, they’re capable of redemption and affection, as Chekhov’s people were. And the other three deliver a superabundance of silliness through speech, movement and mugging…It’s a wonderful start to the season.”—Huffington Post

“[Durang] demonstrates the enduring currency of Chekhov’s themes, showing that for all our supposed progress in the era of mass connectivity, despair and disappointment are as present as ever. Just like our Russian brethren more than a century ago, we are inescapably creatures of our time.”—Hollywood Reporter

“Smartly directed by Richard E.T. White, this outrageous romp is a hoot and half…Christopher Durang’s madcap fantasia on Russian themes is so over the top that it’s inside out…The playwright, famed for his flair with farce from The Marriage of Bette and Boo to Beyond Therapy, packs the uber-absurd plot with so many belly laughs that the wistfulness at the core of the hijinks is all the more poignant…The sincerity of Durang’s fondness for his eccentric characters and the honesty of his discontent with the ‘now’ lends the otherwise goofy plot a sense of gravity. Global warming, short attention spans and the tyranny of pop culture all come under fire as these quirky characters ponder what the future holds, not just for themselves, but for a civilization uncertain how to reinvent itself in the face of cataclysmic change.”—San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group

“Durang shows us just how funny unhappiness can be. Directed by Richard E.T. White, a top-notch cast assumes characters of Chekhovian proportions to take a freewheeling ride through contemporary angst…White’s well-timed production reaches its comic zenith as the characters dress for a neighbor’s costume party. But the director keeps the laughs coming throughout.”—San Francisco Examiner

“The entire cast is a delight, but there’s special pleasure in watching Fusco and Lockwood and Holt bring their unique talents to bear in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, a zany family comedy with the zing of sparkling wine and, thanks to marvelous actors, the occasional tang of real champagne.”—Theater Dogs

“Deliriously funny…”—New York Times

Open all · Close all

Prologue: from the Artistic Director

When I think of Christopher Durang’s plays I’m reminded of my Uncle Pasquale’s funeral. We loved Uncle Pasquale. He was robust as a young man with a huge, infectious laugh. But as he got older, he got weird. His paranoia became the stuff of family legend. During the last 20 years of his life he probably left his house twice. Both times undercover. For years no one saw him.

So when the rent-a-priest at his funeral launched into a eulogy describing Uncle Pasquale as a “man of the community,” my siblings and I started to squirm. As the priest went on to portray him as a man who “loved mingling amongst us,” we started kicking each other, and then giggling, finally bursting into wildly inappropriate laughter that mortified my parents and filled us with years of guilt.

Christopher Durang understands this kind of uncontrollable laughter. He’s built his career on creating characters that can’t help themselves. However crazy they might be, however extreme their behavior, they are simply acting on their own truth. Durang resists being overly mean towards them. He seeks to reveal their logic rather than simply mock their ridiculousness; and ultimately, he empathizes with the sufferers. For all the wicked satire in his plays, all the darkness that lies underneath the surface of his dramatic situations, he chooses to forgive his characters through laughter.

Both the laughter and the forgiveness are on full display in his latest gem: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Loosely inspired by the work of Chekhov, this play takes on the modern world with comic relish mingled with a kind of brokenhearted sympathy. The two tones are married together like an odd couple that can’t be untangled from each other. The result is something entirely recognizable and original.

To direct this play, it’s a great pleasure to bring back my old friend, Mr. Richard E.T. White. For many years, Richard was a stalwart member of this community (for real, not like my Uncle Pasquale), before he took his talents to Chicago and then Seattle. He reunites with many of his oldest collaborators on this project, as well as some great folks who are new to our Theatre. Together they enter Durang’s unique laboratory, where they get to dissect the comedy and the pathos and make some theatrical magic of their own. It’s a great way to kick off the new season, and we welcome each and every one of you.

Sincerely,

Tony Taccone

Prologue: from the Managing Director

For many, autumn signals the waning of the year, with the sun setting earlier, children returning to school, and that inevitable hunkering down in anticipation of winter. During this time, squirrels hoard food, and bears store fat. Autumn is when one buckles down to business after the respite of the summer.

And yet, for me, autumn has always meant something completely different. It has always signaled the beginning! We’ve spent at least a year talking with artists, assembling teams of creative partners, and constructing performance calendars (then deconstructing and reconstructing them again). Tickets have been sold and budgets approved. Now, we are finally able to close the books on everything that came before and turn our full attention to a new season of performances.

The first day of rehearsals for the first production of the season has its own traditions. We assemble the entire staff, many members of our board, and our most deeply committed supporters and volunteers for one grand beginning. When I look at this heady mix of people I am always reminded that what we do here at Berkeley Rep is the result of a somewhat unwieldy, ongoing exercise in collaboration in the service of a larger calling. Our goal, always, is to produce theatre that challenges, enriches, stretches, entertains, and sometimes even confounds our artists and our audience members.

Our route to that end varies constantly. Sometimes that means reclaiming a mighty classic; sometimes that means uncovering an emerging creative voice. Berkeley Rep’s task with each play is two-fold: to do whatever we can to give each play and each group of artists every opportunity to be wildly successful, and to give our audiences the tools and resources to fully experience each one of those productions.

The first rehearsal for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike was particularly sweet. Welcoming Richard E.T. White, Kent Dorsey, Beaver Bauer, Sharon Lockwood, and Lorri Holt back to Berkeley Rep was deeply gratifying and a bit like a family reunion. Each of them has a history with this company that stretches back to the ‘80s. This production is a special opportunity to bring together our veterans as well as some really wonderful actors who will be new to you. That first day in the rehearsal hall with old colleagues and new ones, with staff members who have been with us for 25 years and the new group of fresh-faced Berkeley Rep fellows, was a reminder that we are a company—a family—with a past, a present, and a future.

I’m so glad that you have joined us for Christopher Durang’s deliriously fun play and that its humor, its heart, and its intelligence make you glad that you’ve joined us for another beginning. Some of you have been with us since our founding in 1968. Whether you’ve been part of Berkeley Rep for decades or are joining us for the first time tonight, welcome. Welcome to our family.

Warmly,

Susan Medak

Epic storytelling and rock ‘n roll

A conversation with Richard E.T. White

By Julie McCormick

Richard E.T. White is a surprising man. In his celebrated and substantial career as a director and educator, he has done many things you would not expect the same person to do. His passion for theatre has led him from the Bay Area to Japan to Seattle, from Brecht to Shakespeare and rock ‘n roll. Over all of his passion is a warmth, sparkle, and generosity of spirit that is evident in every interaction.

Julie McCormick: What did your process of preparing for this particular play entail?

Richard E.T. White: This play is kind of a mash-up. It’s a fond embrace of both high and low culture, which is a wonderful thing for anyone who is working on it. There’s a kind of wonderful roller coaster of references that you need to ride while putting yourself into the world of the play.

I think one of the things that appealed to me almost immediately when I read the play is that I’m basically the same age as Vanya and have a lot of the same reference points. One thing I look for is that familial connection. When you talk about process, I think one of the things an artist has to do is find ownership, and find one’s own way into the play. I remember Ozzie and Harriet, I’m confused about cell phones and text messaging, and although my parents were not college professors who dabbled in community theatre, I did note with affection that my father courted my mother by stage managing productions that she was in at our local community theatre in Trail, British Columbia. So one of the things that I’m doing is combing through my own autobiography and finding how the play can become personal to me. And I think that’s something that any artist needs to do. What I’ve discovered about myself as a director is that the more I can invest and be in the world of the play on a personal level, the better the experience is for me and the more I actually have to offer my collaborators on the play.

So I’ve been looking at the Disney movies, looking at Smiles of a Summer Night, and reading the Chekhov plays to try and get a sense of what it was that Mr. Durang pulled from, but I’m also enjoying the opportunity to watch the E channel and devour Entertainment Weekly. There’s the world that Vanya and Sonia and Nina live in, but then there’s also that wonderful, bizarre, Fellini-esque world that Masha and Spike bring onstage with them, which is the most foreign world to me. I can embrace Chekhov and I can embrace Ingmar Bergman and even Walt Disney with great ardor and complete identification. What I don’t do, like Vanya, again, like Vanya and Sonia, is that I don’t swim in that particular world of young Hollywood.

Chekhov is a major reference point and has been a way in for you, but do you think that an audience member needs to be familiar with Chekhov in order to appreciate what’s going on?

Oh no, not at all. I think there’s probably an extra layer that comes through if you’ve read all the plays, but I think that ultimately, for all of its literary allusions and allusions to specifics of pop culture, the root of the play is something that is deeply human and very universal, which is, “What does it mean to be a family?” What I respond to is the present tense of those relationships onstage. The sense that there’s this world in which people are contemplating what it means to be at the nether end of their lives. What are the dreams you have that are unfulfilled? Are there still possibilities left in you? Do you feel like the doors of your life are closing, and what can open them? How do we stay attuned to the possibility of miracles in our lives? Those kinds of things are universal—the relationships between brothers and sisters, the relationships between lovers, the idea of the generational difference between young and old…that’s the emotional ground of the play.

And so I think of someone like Stephen King, for instance, who populates his novels with endless citations of pop culture and specifics of culture, but at the same time, you don’t need to know every one of those things that he’s talking about to be pulled along on the thrill ride. And the same thing is true of Shakespeare and, frankly, of Chekhov. If you read the plays of Chekhov again, there’s a lot of information in there that we don’t necessarily know immediately, but that doesn’t stop us from responding to the emotional storytelling in the play. I think the same thing is true of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

You’re the head of the theatre department at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. When did teaching become a part of your trajectory?

Very early on, actually. The first paid job I had in theatre when I was 20 years old was with an organization called Neighborhood Youth Corps, where I got a summer job through my acting teacher teaching theatre to high school kids.

And when was this? What was that like?

That was back in 1970. My teaching partner Jane Unger and I were very ambitious, and set up these workshops that were going to culminate in a performance of Brecht’s A Man’s a Man. We were going to do it as an anti-war protest, as this was the height of the Vietnam War. So I really started teaching and directing well before I was ready to do it, and the first job I got after I graduated college was a teaching job. I then spent three years as a teacher with the Drama Studio when it was in Berkeley; I taught through the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival (now known as Cal Shakes) when I was there; and a year after I was kindly shown the door by the PhD program at the University of California, they hired me back to teach. I never thought that at a given point I would become a teacher. So much of my life—and I think this is one of the reasons I like the play too—has been a series of miracles and happy accidents and opportunities that arrive out of the blue.

My wife and I embarked on this magnificent adventure in 1992 when we answered an ad in Artsearch magazine on kind of a whim to go teach in Japan, and to our surprise we were selected and hired. So we went off to teach in Japan for three years.

What did you teach there? Theatre?

We taught English at a technical college in Yokohama, and we also taught theatre classes and directed plays at a Japanese language theatre company in Tokyo. It was an enormous spiritual, anthropological, and creative venture for us. I think that’s when I became an educator: it was the experience of being in Japan and realizing how by teaching language and by teaching how language impacts behavior that we were opening doors of perception up to these students. That was fascinating and really rewarding, and we could feel how we were helping to make a difference in the lives and worldviews of our students in Japan.

Your roots go very deep in the Bay Area, and this is a return to Berkeley Rep after a fair hiatus.

Almost 20 years.

What has been your association with Berkeley Rep?

I established myself as a director in the Bay Area in 1979 and had the great fortune to have some success at smaller theatres like the Eureka, and then moved to what was then the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival. Michael Leibert had invited me several times to direct at Berkeley Rep but it had never worked out with my schedule. Then when Joy Carlin took over she offered me the chance to direct a couple of plays in 1984, and that was the time when Sharon Ott came in. Sharon not only confirmed that I would still be directing there, bless her heart, but offered me a staff position. So for two years I was the resident director at Berkeley Rep, and directed I think five plays in the first couple of years that I worked there. It was a great opportunity for me because at the time, Berkeley Rep was kind of a step up in terms of resources and imagination and pushback from artists who were really mature and strong and experienced. It also gave me the Thrust Stage, which is still my favorite theatre that I’ve ever worked in.

And then interestingly, when I moved to Chicago, one of my first friends that I made was Susie Medak, who at the time was the managing director at Northlight Theatre. It was then really serendipitous that Susie came to Berkeley Rep. I was delighted to be able to finally work with her as a freelancer in the ‘90s, when I was in Japan but came back once a year to direct.

I was also in grad school with Tony Taccone for three years. Tony came with me to the Eureka, and after I left as the artistic director at the Eureka, Tony took over that position. Coming back to Berkeley Rep is like coming back to be with family in a lot of ways.

How has Berkeley Rep changed over the years?

What’s wonderful about Berkeley Rep is that it’s a mission-driven theatre. There’s a sense of excitement and bravery in terms of choice of material that’s still extant, but what’s different is that the ambition and scope of the Theatre is so much broader now. Then there’s the Roda, which is this big, beautiful proscenium house. And I have to admit, I’m still a little bit in mourning that I don’t get to work on the Thrust Stage, because as I’ve said, I love that stage and some of the best work of my life has been there, but I’m excited about working in the Roda. In the last several years I’ve had the opportunity to direct a number of shows at ACT—you know, in the big golden box—and I’ve also been able to work at Seattle Rep at the Bagley Wright Theatre, which is another large proscenium house. So coming into the Roda, it’s not as odd as it would’ve been for someone whose initial aesthetic was developed at the Eureka—where we had a big, beautiful flexible space that we could create strange, wonderful environmental pieces in—and in the intimacy of the Thrust. So you know, I might be a little intimidated by working in the Roda if I hadn’t had the opportunity to work in the big golden box and at Seattle Rep, but I’m excited about the possibilities of working in the Roda and creating a welcoming space for an intimate, familial comedy in that beautiful proscenium house.

I’m very curious to see how that happens. And I imagine at least some of this will come through in how the audience interacts with the set.

Christopher Durang actually lives in Bucks County, PA where Vanya takes place, so he has infused the play with a sense of place that’s really quite lovely. Part of our job is to extend that sense of place all the way out into the seats. To create something that’s very specific and authentic onstage, but then that welcomes the audience in and makes them feel like they’re a part of this family and environment. That’s where I feel particularly blessed in my colleagues as well. Theatre is such a collaboration and you’re as good as the people you work with. And in this case I’m blessed to have Kent Dorsey, Debra Beaver Bauer, Alex Nichols, Rob Milburn, and Michael Bodeen, all of whom are artists I’ve worked with for many years. I have a kind of deep trust in them as collaborators and a type of environment that will draw us into the story and the characters of the play.

In your career you’ve worked a lot with new plays but also a great deal with Shakespeare. I’m very curious about how that’s come together for you—because you started in the new play world and moved more into Shakespeare, yes? And that just strikes me as a very unusual direction. How did that happen?

Well, the thread that ties them together is Brecht. Even the kind of new plays that I got my start doing are animated by epic storytelling. The theatre company that really made me want to be an artist in the theatre and really showed me the way to be an artist in the theatre was the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Seeing them when I was a young student in college was a revelation to me: that theatre could actually have a meaning greater than the simple public event of enjoying a show. That you could see a piece of theatre and you could walk away and it could resound and resonate in your mind for years. Which is why all due honor to Sharon Lockwood, you know, because some of my most vivid memories of those early Mime Troupe shows are Sharon Lockwood’s brilliance playing a variety of roles in shows like The Independent Female and The Dragon Lady’s Revenge.

So when I got started a lot of the plays were inspired on some level by Brecht and by the spirit of critique, like The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel by David Rabe, Trevor Griffith’s Comedians, and Mary Barnes by David Edgar. I made my mark in Bay Area theatre as an artist primarily by introducing a lot of writers through the Eureka who were kind of the British heirs and descendants of Brecht. So then moving into Shakespeare was relatively seamless in a way, because Shakespeare was the founder of epic storytelling. What I wasn’t prepared for with Shakespeare was how hard I would fall in love with the experience of directing it, and actually seeing how an audience and that Shakespearean play could create an event together. That was really memorable. And of course part of that is language and part of that again is the epic sweep of storytelling, showing all levels of class, of weaving plots and subplots together…The wonderful challenge to you as a director is to orchestrate this large vision of a world onstage that Shakespeare presents you with.

And so I kind of went from British political plays in the ‘70s to Shakespeare in the ‘80s and then went off to Japan. And the other writer who was kind of instrumental in my growing aesthetic as a director was Sam Shepard. I directed a number of plays by Shepard, and his work appeals to the rock ‘n roll side of me. And of course, there’s a lot of crossover between Brecht and rock ‘n roll—Brecht was a rocker back in the ‘20s in Germany. Shakespeare is a very rock ‘n roll writer as well. His work is pungent, it has a beat, it’s got pace. So you learn a lot by directing classical work, and I think the most important thing that you have to learn as a director—that you get to learn as a director working on Shakespeare—is how much information is actually parked in the dramatic text. One of the arcs I’d like to think that I can look back on in my career as a director is moving from imposing things on a play when I was young to deeply investigating what’s there, and trying to be as attuned as possible to the nuances and possibilities of language.

How does that come to bear on Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike?

Durang is a great language writer—his text is not necessarily poetic in the same way as Shakespeare’s, but it is certainly very precise in terms of the sonic rhythms, the precise placement of words, carefully placed imagery, and how themes are developed and repeated throughout. The experience of directing Shakespeare in the ‘80s has given me this great appreciation of language and what language can do.

So getting back to your first question about what process is, to me it’s become so much more about listening—listening, listening, listening—and opening myself up to the possibilities of language.

You’ve spent a lot of time at regional theatres around the country—where do you think the regional theatre is going to be in 20 years? Where do you hope for it to be is maybe another way to put that.

Well, what I hope is that the regional theatre continues to question itself in the way it’s doing now, because we’re seeing what’s happening now—and I speak for myself—is that a significant portion of the population that has sustained the regional theatre for the last 30 years is aging. I think the question is, how can the theatre continue to makes its connection with a large population and not be a walled off, elitist art form? We have a lot of challenges in terms of taking our work to people. The challenge is to not sit in a house like Vanya and Sonia and wait for life to come to you, but how do you chase the blue heron outside of your house? I think the most exciting recent developments in theatre are events like Here Lies Love, and Young Jean Lee’s untitled feminist show, which are immersive and participatory, or something like the work that the National Theatre of Scotland is doing, like Black Watch and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Heart. As an audience member you’re invited to become an active member of the event that’s happening. I think that’s crucial.

And then the other thing that I’m seeing as a really interesting and exciting development is a lot of autobiographical work. A lot of the most moving work that I’ve seen uses the real lives of people as a kind of foundation. Something like the German company She She Pop with their show Testament, where the performers were joined onstage by their fathers in a piece investigating the relationships of children to their fathers.

I’ve seen a number of pieces in the last couple years by artists who are investigating what it means to be a child with an aging parent. And that can be narcissistic, but in the hands of an artist—just in the way that a good memoir can be a fascinating read—it has the capability to resonate far beyond. We’re so bombarded by stuff that to find something simple and authentic is quite powerful.

Your question is a profound and useful one. I think there’s an invitation and a necessity to move beyond the walls of theatre and to look at how the theatrical experience can expand out and use technology in interesting ways, that can use the relationship of performer to audience in multiple ways. But the main thing I think is, what will keep audiences coming to the theatre and engaged in the theatre is the sense that they have participated in something. There are a lot of ways to create that feeling, but as I said, I think the thing we have to do as artists is look at how we can create a platform for theatre that is broader and more inviting.

Five questions for Sharon Lockwood

By Julie McCormick

Before the start of rehearsals for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, we asked veteran actor Sharon Lockwood five questions about comedy. From her debut as a rabbit to her years at the San Francisco Mime Troupe and theatres around the Bay Area, Sharon has played to the extremes of the human experience and everything in between

Julie McCormick: When did you discover that you had a talent for being funny?

Sharon Lockwood: I still have this memory—this was back in Connecticut where I was born. I did some Easter play or something, and I remember playing a rabbit and wiggling my nose and everybody laughing. I’ll never forget that moment. When I started acting in junior high and high school, I did a lot of heavy-duty stuff. My first big thing was that I played Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker in high school. I was just a freshman and I was in the senior play. Then I got involved in political theatre and did the San Francisco Mime Troupe for a long time, and it was a side of me that I never got to tap into. It’s one of the things that I’m really excited about with this play because I feel like I get to use both sides of me. A lot of times when you do comedy, people don’t think of you for doing drama. You have to play the reality of the situation, always. It’s never a matter of doing something to get a laugh. That’s the worst way to go. I still am shocked the first time I’ll rehearse a moment and the people watching and will laugh. Then I’ll realize, it’s supposed to be funny, but I wasn’t going for that. Sometimes it’s a mysterious thing.

Does acting in a comedy feel different to you than acting in something more serious?

You know, it depends on the play. Sometimes, particularly if it’s a drama, a play will just take you where you need to go. If it’s an original script, you don’t always know where the laughs are going to be. The audience teaches you so much about that. Sometimes I think comedy is hard and tragedy is easy. You know that old saying. Sometimes it can be physically exhausting. Farce takes so much physical precision and timing.

And then sometimes I’ve also been exhausted by doing a drama. I remember in Juno and the Paycock at ACT—I had one scene where I played a mother at a funeral that kind of changes the direction of the play from a comedy to a tragedy. Before the last time I did the scene I broke down, because it was a scene of containing all the tragedy, but instead of being histrionic about it, I was really containing it. That was so exhausting—to keep it all in, but have it all be there.

So I think it varies from piece to piece. Some things can be more exhausting than others. It’s a craft, and I think that each project is different.

Who or what makes you laugh?

Hm, I’m a little bit of a tough customer. But once I get going…Anthony Fusco makes me laugh; he has such a dry way. There was a YouTube video that an actor at ACT was showing me in the dressing room, and it was a chipmunk looking surprised with this music going, “bum bum bum.” And I just lost it.

Sometimes something can strike you as funny and you really don’t know why. It can be a character, it can be the situation. It varies.

I used to love to watch The Honeymooners, as politically incorrect as that was. Jackie Gleason would make me howl. Things like Fawlty Towers, some of the British shows. I love Doc Martin. It’s this series that they rerun on PBS with a British actor Martin Clunes, and there’s something about this character—he’s this total curmudgeon that lives in this little village with a group of misfits that he has to deal with. And he’s a doctor that can’t stand the sight of blood. It’s full of wonderful character studies, wonderful situations, and it’s been on for five or six seasons and I’m totally addicted. It just makes me laugh out loud.

I’m less interested in laughing at pain. You know the famous thing about the Road Runner cartoons and the anvil falling on Wile E. Coyote. Maybe when I was little it may have made me chuckle, but I don’t know.

There are different kinds of laughter. There’s the laughter of recognition, and then there’s the wry chuckle of word play, or just an attitude that can make you laugh. Then there’s knock-down-drag-out slapstick. There’s lots of different kinds.

I get the impression that sometimes stage comedies are not taken as seriously as dramas or tragedies. Why do you think that might be?

I don’t know. I think it’s because maybe we try to draw a line and have one be on one side and one on the other, when actually, life is full of both things: tragedy and humor. In some of the greats, like Chekhov, you have to see the humor as well.

Have you ever had to do something in a comedy that was so over the top that it felt kind of uncomfortable for you, or crossed a line, or anything like that?

I once had to play someone who worked for the welfare office and became a serial killer who took a hacksaw and figured out all of these ingenious ways to kill major, iconic CEOs. And I thought, oh my God, this is terrible!

But people just howled! They laughed, and just got it. I was so mortified by it at the beginning, and finally I got used to the idea that people know it’s a comedy and that it’s not real. There are so many comedies like that right now that are so popular, like Dexter. He’s such an example of an anti-hero. But I was really uncomfortable with it at first. I’m basically a very peaceful person. But you know, we all have that rage somewhere inside of us. And Sonia certainly has it.

Watch now

On TV

Does our TV commercial for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike remind you of anything?

Masha Masha Masha

Masha Hardwicke divulges the secrets behind her fabulous career—and her love life too!

Meet Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Veteran director Richard E.T. White introduces this Tony Award-winning play and its playful references to Chekhov.

Introducing the season opener

Michael Leibert Artistic Director Tony Taccone introduces Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

Listen up

Want to listen to select articles from the program, including an interview with director Richard E.T. White? Play these audio files online—or download and listen to them on your way to the show.

This is a brand-new service, so we'd love to hear what you think about it!

See photos

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike press photos Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike press photos Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike press photos Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike press photos ...

Photos courtesy of kevinberne.com

Photos may not be used for commercial or personal use without written permission from Berkeley Rep, and unauthorized alteration, reproduction, or sale of these images is strictly prohibited. Journalists and other members of the media, please visit our online press room.

Additional resources

The folks in our literary department offer up fun and insightful resources to enhance your experience.

Open all · Close all

Christopher Durang

A playwright, actor, and educator, Christopher Durang has made a significant mark on the American theatre in his decades-long career. Known for his acerbic wit, absurd situational comedy, and wicked parodies of classic plays, Durang draws on both personal experience and cultural history for the content of his work.

About the playwright

Second Floor of Sardi’s: A Drink with Christopher Durang

  • In this article from Playbill, Christopher Durang discusses the writing process for Vanya… and his relationship with his audiences.

A chat with Durang

  • In this interview with the McCarter Theatre’s literary director Carrie Hughes, Durang chats about the play and life in Bucks County.

Selected works

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Grove)

  • Originally a commission for the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, this Tony Award-winning play made its way to future successful runs at the Lincoln Theatre Center and Broadway.

The Marriage of Bette and Boo (1985)

  • Loosely based on Durang’s parents’ relationship, this dark comedy tracks the dissolution of a marriage over 20 years.

Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (1979)

  • In this extended Obie-winning one act, Durang satirizes the teachings of the Catholic church, an institution which the playwright has had a long and challenging relationship with.

Chekhov

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike contains numerous references to Anton Chekhov’s major plays. While Durang is known for his parodies of theatre classics like The Idiots Karamazov and Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, Vanya… is deliberately not a send-up. Instead, it reflects some of the classic Chekhovian characters and themes, including longing, regret, and hope. Though a previous familiarity with Chekhov will enhance an experience of Durang’s play, it is by no means necessary to enjoy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

The Plays of Anton Chekhov

  • In case you’re eager to read the four major Chekhov plays—The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard—these critically acclaimed translations by Paul Schmidt balance accuracy with accessibility.

Movie and TV references

One of the most delightful things about Durang’s writing is his ability to incorporate references of great scope. On one hand you have references to Anton Chekhov and classical Greek dramas; on the other, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Walt Disney.

Here are a few of our favorite movies and TV shows that the play references:

Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

  • In this first full-length animated film ever, Walt Disney offers his take on the classic Grimm’s fairy tale.

Old Yeller (1957)

  • This is another iconic Disney film about the love between a boy and his dog that has become an American classic.

Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)

  • This Ingmar Bergman romantic comedy follows the story of four pairs of mismatched lovers and how they find true love during the longest day of the year. Reminiscent of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this film served as inspiration for Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and Woody Allen’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy.

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

  • This classic noir film thrills and chills with its story of murder, a faded silent-screen actress, and the warping power of fame.

Essential Family Television

  • If you find yourself nostalgic for the wholesome entertainments of 1950s and 1960s television, this collection contains a wide range of some of the classics.

The Very Best of the Ed Sullivan Show

  • The ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s saw the golden age of the TV variety show. All of the major personalities seemed to host their own musical and comedy hour at some point: the Perry Como Show, the Laurence Welk Show, the Dinah Shore Show, the Bing Crosby Show, the Nat King Cole Show, and one of the longest running, the Ed Sullivan Show. Some of his most famous guests include Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Jackson 5, the Supremes, the Rolling Stones, and Janis Joplin.

I Love Lucy: The Complete Series (1951–1957)

  • And of course, everyone loves Lucy.

Free Speech pre- and post-show enrichment programs

Open all · Close all

Repartee

Meet us in the Theatre an hour before the show on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an engrossing presentation about your subscription-season play. Hear about the playwright’s perspective, dive into the historical context, and discover why the script is relevant right now. Each 30-minute talk includes plenty of time for your questions.

Post-show docent-led discussions follow matinees.

Interested in becoming a docent? Click here for details. For more information about Berkeley Rep’s docent program, please email docent@berkeleyrep.org.

Our docents also offer talks off-site:

  • Tuesday, October 8 · 7pm—Lafayette Library
  • Tuesday, October 15 · 7pm—Orinda Library
  • Wednesday, October 16 · 2pm—Moraga Library

Post-show discussions

Stick around after select performances for lively Q&A sessions with our artists on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights.

  • Thursday, September 26, 2013
  • Friday, October 4, 2013
  • Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Last Call

Cap off your night with us after select evening performances throughout the season and sample wine, spirits, and other culinary delights from local vendors—all for FREE! Samplings begin immediately following the performance.

Special thanks to our Last Call curator, East Bay Spice Company, and our in-kind sponsors Trumer Pilsner and Greenbar Organic Distillery.

  • Saturday, September 28, 2013

Teen Night

Teen Night gives local teens the opportunity to meet for dinner and a behind-the-scenes discussion with a member of the artistic team before attending each subscription-season production at an extremely discounted price.

Past Teen Night guests have included: Tony Taccone, Berkeley Rep’s Michael Leibert Artistic Director; Ray Garcia and Salvatore Vassallo, dancers in Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup; and Michael Suenkel, Berkeley Rep’s production stage manager.

Teen Night begins at 6:30pm at the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre. Tickets are $10. Learn more. To reserve your space, call Teen Council at 510 647–2973 or email teencouncil@berkeleyrep.org.

  • Friday, September 20, 2013