Local Child Actors Cast in Galati's after the quake at Berkeley Rep

News   Local Child Actors Cast in Galati's after the quake at Berkeley Rep
Local youngsters Gemma Megumi Fa-Kaji and Madison Logan V. Phan — have been cast in the upcoming Berkeley Repertory Theatre run of Frank Galati's stage adaptation of after the quake. The young actresses will alternate in the pivotal role of Sala.

Berkeley Repertory Theatre co-presents the work with La Jolla Playhouse — where it recently played. The Berkeley run begins Oct. 12 and opens Oct. 17 on the Thrust Stage for a limited engagement through Nov. 25.

Six-year-old Gemma Megumi Fa-Kaji (of Berkeley) will be making her stage debut in the role. Nine-year-old Madison Logan V. Phan (of Richmond) has previously played in Berkeley Ballet Theater's spring showcase The Nutcracker and California Shakespeare Theater's Summer Theatre Camp student productions of Macbeth and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

"Sala is the fulcrum in this story," said Galati in a release. "The center of the center. She's this warm, intelligent child with a delightful sense of humor – yet she's legitimately terrified in the aftermath of the Kobe quake. The adults' need to protect her and make her feel secure drives everything else in the play, so in a very real way, after the quake is launched by the little girl, and it’s landed by the little girl. It's a wonderful role for a young actor, and I look forward to revisiting it with these two young girls, and to continuing to explore this play with the cast for the Berkeley Rep production."

Director-adaptor Galati's (The Grapes of Wrath) take on the Haruki Murakami short stories premiered at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in 2005.

Inspired by Murakami's return to his hometown of Kobe in 1995 following the disastrous earthquake that nearly destroyed the entire city, after the quake weaves two of the collection of short stories together and sets the tale to live cello and koto music. "When Steppenwolf approached Murakami to adapt the novel," revealed Galati, "we couldn't have predicted that so many and such vast calamities would unfold before our eyes, here in the aftermath of 9/11, Katrina, Rita and the Tsunami. after the quake speaks to the loss of life, the shattering grief, the terrible fear of a world unstable politically, and a planet that seems to be shifting, boiling up underneath our feet."

Reprising their roles for the Berkeley run are original cast members Keong Sim (Radiant Baby) and Hanson Tse (Romeo and Juliet). Paul H. Juhn and Jennifer Shin round out the cast.

Also reteaming with the cast are the original musicians from Steppenwolf's world premiere — cellist Jason McDermott and Jeff Wichman (a veteran koto player for nearly 20 years).

The design team for after the quake features James Schuette (set), James F. Ingalls (lighting), Mara Blumenfeld (costumes) with Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman (composition and sound). Malcolm Ewen serves as stage manager.

Tickets to after the quake at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison Street, are available by calling (510) 647-2949, toll-free (888) 4-BRT-Tix or online at berkeleyrep.org.

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