David Edgar's Political Epic, Continental Divide, Will Travel to U.K. in 2004 After U.S. Run

News   David Edgar's Political Epic, Continental Divide, Will Travel to U.K. in 2004 After U.S. Run British playwright David Edgar's Continental Divide, a co-production by Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), has been invited to Birmingham Repertory Theatre in England and London's Barbican Theatre.
Mark Murphey (Michael Bern) in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Mark Murphey (Michael Bern) in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Photo by David Cooper

Continental Divide was jointly commissioned by Berkeley Rep and OSF in 2001. It premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in March 2003 and ran through July 2003, and will be performed at Berkeley Rep Nov. 6-Dec. 28.

This plan marks the first international tour in either company's history. Directed by Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone, the two plays, Mothers Against and Daughters of the Revolution, will be presented in repertory at each U.K. theatre with the current U.S. cast and design.

The works will play Birmingham March 6-13, 2004 and the Barbican (as part of BITE:04, Barbican International Theatre Events) March 20-April 4, 2004.

In its Oregon world premiere, Continental Divide was acclaimed as a dense and rich work about American ideals and politics. It runs a total of six hours.

According to Berkeley Rep and OSF, the plays focus on a fictional gubernatorial campaign and "explore the revolutionary fervor that took hold of both the Right and the Left in the 1960s, and how it continues to resonate through multiple generations." The two interconnected plays "can be seen in either order, with the viewer's understanding of each play changing, depending on the order in which the plays are seen."

Mothers Against centers on Sheldon Vine, the Republican candidate in a gubernatorial election, as he gathers with his key advisors over a weekend to prepare for a debate. Vine's own leanings are distinctly libertarian, but to reveal his true beliefs and run a forthright campaign risks alienating the voters.

Daughters of the Revolution follows Michael Bern, a community college dean who discovers years later that the political collective of which he was a member in the '60s had been betrayed to the FBI by one of their own. As he sets out on a journey to find the traitor, he must come to terms with the man he has become and the relative success, or failure, of his political ideals.

The Mothers Against cast includes the eight actors who originated their roles at OSF in Ashland, OR: Tony De Bruno, Michael Elich, Bill Geisslinger, Robynn Rodriguez, Susannah Schulman, Vilma Silva, Derrick Lee Weeden and Christine Williams.

In Daughters of the Revolution they are joined by Michelle Duffy, Marielle Heller, Lorri Holt, Terry Layman, Craig W. Marker, Jacob Ming-Trent and Melissa Smith.

The designers for Continental Divide in England include the original team from the OSF and Berkeley Rep productions: Scenic sesigner William Bloodgood; costume designer Deborah M. Dryden; lighting and video designer Alexander V. Nichols; and sound designer Jeremy J. Lee.

The international tour of Continental Divide is made possible in part by production sponsor Vodafone-US Foundation.

For more information about the Barbican's BITE Festival go to www.barbican.org.uk/bite. For information on Birmingham Repertory Theatre, go to www.birmingham-rep.co.uk.

More information about the production and tour is available at osfashland.org or www.berkeleyrep.org.

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David Edgar was born and still lives in Birmingham, England. His adaptations include Mary Barnes (premiered at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre), The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs (RSC), Albert Speer (National Theatre) and a Tony award-winning adaptation of Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby (RSC in London, New York and Los Angeles). His original plays for the theatre include Death Story, That Summer, Entertaining Strangers and The Shape of the Table. His original plays for the RSC include Destiny, Maydays, The Prisoner's Dilemma and Pentecost (revived by Tony Taccone at OSF and Berkeley Rep in 1997).

Michael Elich <i>(Don D</i>
Michael Elich (Don D Photo by Jennifer Reiley
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