Berkeley Rep to Stage New Works by Itamar Moses and Sarah Ruhl in 2008-09

News   Berkeley Rep to Stage New Works by Itamar Moses and Sarah Ruhl in 2008-09 The Tony Award-honored Berkeley Repertory Theatre's 2008-09 season will include the world premiere of plays by Itamar Moses and Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl, artistic director Tony Taccone announced March 5.

Artists including Mary Zimmerman, Delroy Lindo, Sharon Ott, August Wilson, Martin McDonagh and more are also represented in the coming season.

The 41st Berkeley Rep season will kick off with Taccone directing the world premiere of Yellowjackets, a provocative new play penned by thirtysomething Berkeley native Moses, who sets his new play in his alma mater, Berkeley High.

"When the school newspaper publishes an insensitive story, students suddenly find themselves embroiled in a volatile controversy — and even their teachers seem unprepared to deal with the repercussions," according to Berkeley Rep notes. It's "a compelling collision of race and class that forces us to examine familiar surroundings with fresh eyes."

Moses' plays include Bach at Leipzig, Celebrity Row, The Four of Us and Outrage. Commissioned by Berkeley Rep, Yellowjackets will play the intimate Thrust Stage.

In January 2009, Les Waters (who helmed Ruhl's Eurydice at Berkeley Rep, in New Haven and Off-Broadway) will stage the world premiere of Ruhl's The Vibrator Play. The writer's Dead Man's Cell Phone is a hot title at the moment. "Another play of love and longing, commissioned by Berkeley Rep, The Vibrator Play illuminates the lives of six lonely people seeking relief from a local doctor — but, despite his expertise with a strange new technology, all they really need is intimacy," according to the Rep. "It's a tender tale that takes place in the twilight of the Victorian age, an elegant comedy lit by unexpected sparks from the approaching era of electricity, equality, science and sexuality."

Also on the Berkeley slate in California: Delroy Lindo will stage August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone; Mary Zimmerman (the Tony Award-winning creator of Argonautika and Metamorphoses) will direct a version of The Arabian Nights (a co-production with Kansas City Repertory Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre Company that will transfer to Missouri and Illinois in 2009); former artistic director Sharon Ott returns to direct Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment (a 90-minute distillation by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus); and Waters will direct Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore.

The season will conclude with David Henry Hwang's Berkeley Rep debut, Yellow Face, the theatrical self portrait of a writer trapped by a controversy that he began.

For more information about Berkeley Rep's productions in the Roda Theatre and on the Thrust Stage, visit www.berkeleyrep.org.