The quest for government power in America is at the center of the world premiere Continental Divide, a two-part political saga by Tony winner David Edgar (The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby), playing in a co-production with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Berkeley Repertory Theatre in summer and fall, 2003. Berkeley Repertory's artistic director Tony Taccone will direct both pieces, Daughters of the Revolution and Mothers Against.
A bit like a serious-minded House and Garden, Continental Divide's two plays feature interlinked characters and dilemmas. In the Democrat-perspectived Daughters, college professor and former radical Michael Grain discovers that the anti-war group he protested with in the 70's contained a mole for the FBI. In his quest to discover who she or he was, he reconnects with several people from his past, including the current Democratic canidate for governor. In Mothers Against, the Republican take on current events is revealed as gubernatorial candidate Sheldon Vine prepares to debate his Democratic rival.
Edgar's other plays include Destiny, Maydays, Entertaining Strangers, The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs and Albert Speer. A 1997 co-production of Pentecost by OSF and Berkeley Rep inspired the comissioning of Continental Divide from Edgar.
Although casting won't be announced until July, 2002, Continental Divide will draw from both OSF and Berkeley Rep's pool of actors. The plays will open at OSF in February, playing simultaneously in Angus Bowmer Theatre and the New Theatre through July, 2003. Continental Divide will then open Berkeley Rep's 2003-04 season in the Roda Theatre, where the two plays will run in repertory through December.
Berkeley Rep will first publically read Continental Divide at the end of June, 2002. OSF will then workshop it in November with rehearsals for the February production beginning in mid-December. A $40,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts made the development of Continental Divide possible. Oregon Shakespeare Festival is on the web at http://www.orshakes.org/. Berkeley Repertory is on the web at http://www.berkeleyrep.org.
— By Christine Ehren