Sarah Ruhl's Dear Elizabeth and Lawrence Wright's Fallaci Will Play Berkeley Rep in 2012-13

By Kenneth Jones
May 2, 2012

Berkeley Repertory Theatre has added two new plays to complete the California company's 2012-13 season: the world premiere of Lawrence Wright's Fallaci, directed by Gregory Mosher, and the West Coast premiere of Sarah Ruhl's Dear Elizabeth, directed by Les Waters.



Both works will play the intimate Roda Theatre at Berkeley Rep in Berkeley, CA.

With Fallaci, planned for March 2013, Pulitzer Prize winner Wright, a contributor to The New Yorker, "turns the spotlight on a fellow reporter and her fascinating contradictions," according to Berkeley Rep. "A young woman interviews the fiery author at the end of her life, when she became a darling of the right. What begins as a discussion of journalism ends with two women exchanging life-changing lessons about destiny and empathy."

Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci's "childhood courage resisting the Nazis fueled her work as a war correspondent with an antiauthoritarian zeal that perfectly matched the '60s and '70s," according to production notes. "She gained fame by grilling Kissinger, Castro, Khomeini, Qadaffi, and other public figures who squirmed under her ferocious questioning."

Wright is a bestselling author, award-winning journalist, screenwriter, and playwright whose previous scripts include The Human Scale and My Trip to al-Qaeda. The latter was also staged by Mosher, former artistic director of the Lincoln Center and Goodman theatres, whose many Broadway credits include Glengarry Glen Ross, Our Town, Speed-the-Plow and A View From the Bridge.

Ruhl and Waters previously collaborated on Eurydice, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) and Three Sisters. Dear Elizabeth (to end the season in spring 2013) is "another tale of love and longing" that follows "the beautiful and bittersweet friendship between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell." According to Rep notes, "Across oceans and continents, across three decades, these esteemed poets found a true marriage of minds in their eloquent correspondence. Dubbed the Dickinson and Whitman of the 20th century, they traded hundreds of vibrant, witty, and passionate letters that now spring to life on stage. This West Coast premiere paints an intimate portrait of two extraordinary — and quite ordinary — lives."

As previously reported, the Rep mainstage season includes the West Coast premiere of Chinglish, directed by Leigh Silverman; Zimmerman's The White Snake; Mark Wing-Davey's production of Shakespeare's Pericles, Prince of Tyre; plus Roda productions of Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare's new one-man An Iliad ; and the world premiere of Dan LeFranc's Troublemaker, or The Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright, staged by Dexter Bullard.

Berkeley Rep is under the leadership of Tony Taccone. For more information about the Tony Award-winning resident theatre, visit berkeleyrep.org.