Obie Award winner Waters is beginning his fifth year as associate artistic director of Berkeley Rep, where he has staged Eurydice, Fêtes de la Nuit, Finn in the Underworld, The Glass Menagerie, The Mystery of Irma Vep, The Pillowman, Suddenly Last Summer, To the Lighthouse and Yellowman. His Eurydice is currently playing Second Stage Off-Broadway. Waters won an Obie Award for Big Love, directing its premiere at the Humana Festival and subsequent runs at Berkeley Rep, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Goodman Theatre and Long Wharf Theater.
Heartbreak House begins previews in the Roda Theatre on Aug. 31, opens Sept. 5 and closes Oct. 14.
"Heartbreak House is the perfect play to begin our birthday season," Waters remarks, "because it's a script with particular resonance in our community. Shaw was writing for a sophisticated, educated, bohemian audience — a Berkeley audience. So naturally Berkeley Rep has produced this play in every decade of our history, more than any play in our repertoire. Its timeless themes reverberated during Vietnam, the collapse of the Cold War, the ethnic conflict in the Balkans — and they remain all too relevant today. It's a comedy of manners, a farce, a social satire, and at the same time a lament about how capable people can sleepwalk through their lives as something awful is brewing. It's very funny, and yet — midst the laughter — truly moving."
In Heartbreak House, "ridiculous aristocrats, eccentric suitors, and iconoclastic women grapple with unlikely romance in a world on the brink of war," according to Berkeley Rep notes. "Shaw's incisive wit and intellectual pyrotechnics light up the stage as his irascible characters challenge social conventions, sexual mores, moral hypocrisy, and political folly."
Waters' cast includes Chris Ayles (Burglar), Stephen Caffrey (Hector Hushabye), David Chandler (Boss Mangan), Matt Gottlieb (Mazzini), Michelle Morain (Hesione Hushabye), Lynne Soffer (Nurse Guinness), Allison Jean White (Ellie Dunn), Susan Wilder (Ariadne Utterword), Michael Winters (Captain Shotover) and Michael Ray Wisely (Randall Utterword). The creative team includes Annie Smart (scenic designer), Anna R. Oliver (costume designer), Alexander V. Nichols (lighting designer), Obadiah Eaves (sound designer) and Michael Suenkel (stage manager).
For more information about Berkeley Rep and its season, call (510) 647-2949 or (888) 4-BRT-Tix or visit berkeleyrep.org.
Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre is located at 2015 Addison Street at Shattuck in downtown Berkeley.