Playwright David Henry Hwang has created another mesmerizing work with his latest endeavor, "Chinglish," playing at Berkeley Repertory Theatre through Oct. 7.
In this witty study of cross-cultural errors, the author of "M. Butterfly" and "FOB" takes his audience on a fascinating trip to China as an American businessman attempts to land a lucrative contract for his family's firm. Of course, he doesn't speak Chinese, and the Chinese translators often don't have the best grasp of English, resulting in hilarious situations.
It soon becomes clear that the deal isn't the only thing that gets lost in translation as the American forges relationships with an inept British consultant, a Communist minister and an ambitious and highly attractive vice minister. The bilingual English/Chinese play subtly transforms from a delightful farce to a study of power, treachery and cultural differences under Hwang's expert guidance.
Under Leigh Silverman's brilliant direction, "Chinglish" is an intriguing piece of theater with fast paced action, stimulating music that ranges from opera to rock to Asian rap and a highly skilled cast of seven. David Korins' dazzling set practically becomes an eighth cast member as it seamlessly transforms itself from one ornate location to another. With the use of several revolving stages and furniture on tracks, the set pieces turn in on themselves and glide back and forth in perfect harmony with the actors' movements.
A coproduction with South Coast Repertory, "Chinglish" includes several cast members from the Broadway production -- Vivian Chiu and Larry Lei Zhang as well as Bay Area actor Alex Moggridge as the American businessman. Others in the cast are Celeste Den, Michelle Krusiec, Austin Ku and the trilingual Brian Nishii as the consultant helping the businessman.
For tickets to "Chinglish," which are selling fast, call 510-647-2949 or go to www.berkleyrep.org.
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of Tao House, the Eugene O'Neill Festival in Danville presents a cornucopia of events around the famed playwright's works.
O'Neill, who was awarded four Pulitzer Prizes as well as the Nobel Prize for Literature, composed many of his greatest masterpieces while living at Danville's Tao House.
The festival begins with Role Players Ensemble's production of "Ah, Wilderness!" (Sept. 7-22) at Danville's Village Theatre, followed by Pear Avenue Theatre's presentation of "A Moon for the Misbegotten" (Sept. 27-30) at the Old Barn at Tao House, with a special fundraising dinner available before the performances on Sept. 28-29.
An exhibit of "Tao House -- Through Artists' Eyes" will run at the Village Theatre Gallery through Sept. 22 and several lectures on America's greatest playwright are also scheduled.
OnStage Theatre Company returns to the Lesher Center for an entertaining night of one-acts. "Off The Shelf and on Stage" runs Sept. 14-Oct. 5 and includes local playwright Kathryn McCarty's "Modern Wooly Mammoths."
Also on the program are three plays by C.C. Cardin ("Fishing," "The Day I Met Elvis" and "Hot August Nights") and "Going to the Chapel" by Donald Steele, which was a winner at the New York Short Play Festival. Artistic director Helen Means directs the works by Cardin and says the cast for the evening ranges in age from 12 to "well over 70."
For tickets, call 943-SHOW or go to www.lesherartscenter.org.
Stagebridge Senior Theatre Company celebrates National Grandparents Day in style with a free storytelling and story-sharing event on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m.
The event, which takes place at Barnes and Noble, 5604 Bay St. in Emeryville, features grandparents and grandchildren presenting stories that spotlight intergenerational interactions and perspectives. It also includes storytellers from Stagebridge and elementary school students sharing their winning entries in Stagebridge's Annual Grandparent's Tales Writing Contest. For more information, go to www.stagebridge.org.
Those who love summer concerts in the park can still satisfy their musical appetites on Sunday, Sept. 9, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Moraga Commons. Jazz in the Commons features performances by Kurt Ribak, Sheilani Alix, GG Amos, Tonette Frisby, Mike Loretto and Sarah D. Williams. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy!
Reach Sally Hogharty at firstname.lastname@example.org