Itamar Moses Goes Back to High School for World Premiere, Yellowjackets

News   Itamar Moses Goes Back to High School for World Premiere, Yellowjackets A high school newspaper is at the center of the world premiere of Itamar Moses' drama, Yellowjackets, launching the 2008-09 season of Berkeley Rep on Aug. 29.
Itamar Moses
Itamar Moses Photo by Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Rep artistic director Tony Taccone directs the production, which features a cast of young local actors who inhabit the world of Moses' alma mater, Berkeley High. Commissioned by Berkeley Rep, Yellowjackets will open Sept. 3 and continue through Oct. 12.

The cast includes Shoresh Alaudini, Jahmela Biggs, Alex Curtis, Ben Freema, Lance Gardner, Amaya Alonso Hallifax, Kevin Hsieh, Adrienne Papp, Craig Piaget, Brian Rivera and Erika Salazar.

According to Berkeley Rep, in Berkeley, CA, "When the school newspaper publishes an insensitive story, students at Berkeley High suddenly find themselves embroiled in a volatile controversy — and even their teachers seem unprepared to deal with the repercussions. It's a sting that's worthy of the school mascot: the sports teams at Berkeley High are called the Yellowjackets, and The Jacket is the name of the student-run paper."

"Berkeley Rep is, of course, one of the places I was first exposed to theatre," Moses said in a statement, "and Tony Taccone is one of the best people in the country to develop a new play with. So, for me anyway, this is more exciting in many ways than being produced in New York. Yellowjackets is a political play, one that raises a lot of sensitive issues about race, socioeconomics, and education — but it's also a very personal play, in that all of the events are based on things that really happened while I was a student at Berkeley High. So to share my work with Berkeley for the first time, in a play that is actually about Berkeley, is quite special."

The design team features Annie Smart (scenic design), Meg Neville (costume design), Alexander V. Nichols (lighting design), Obadiah Eaves (sound design) and Steve Rankin (fight choreography). Moses' works include Bach at Leipzig, Celebrity Row, The Four of Us, Reality! and Outrage. His world premiere Back Back Back — about baseball in the age of steroid use — will appear at The Old Globe in San Diego this fall.

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The 2008-2009 season at Berkeley Rep will also include August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Mary Zimmerman's The Arabian Nights, Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore and the world premiere of You, Nero by Amy Freed.

For more information call the box office at (510) 647-2949 or visit berkeleyrep.org.

The cast of <i>Yellowjackets</i>
The cast of Yellowjackets Photo by Kevin Berne