Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West: The Intersection of Art and Authenticity
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Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon is the world's longest-running musical revue. Since 1974, this San Francisco institution has followed Snow White on a musical comedy quest around the world, where she runs into satirically portrayed pop culture and political celebrities, an impressive array of gigantic hats and one show-stopping musical number after another. Because the show is constantly updated with new costumes, hats and characters, it rewards repeat visits. Among the familiar faces you might see spoofed in Beach Blanket's latest incarnation: Lady Gaga, Barack and Michelle Obama, the cast of Glee, Kate Middleton and Adele. Even after nearly 40 years, Beach Blanket Babylon remains one of San Francisco's wildest evenings of live entertainment. Learn More
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Thomas O'LearyRed Velvet
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Pretty obtuse on one hand and rather simplistic on the other. Fine production values--very clever and interesting set and costumes, flawless acting--but what was the arc of the story? The middle bar scene dragged even though its elaborate set design begged for more content. Why the glass floored steps and platform upon which not one person walked?
Well before the digital age, the camera selected, filtered and obscured the truth—even as it promised to provide an authentic look at distant lands. Naomi Iizuka explores the intersection of art and authenticity in a haunting play commissioned by Berkeley Rep: Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West.
Taking its title from a treatise on photography translated into Japanese, the play shifts between the present and the 1880s when a weird new technology first seized the world in freeze frame. Cameras capture images of geishas, monks and shrines and send them to the future in a flash—where we continue to seek meaning through lenses of exoticism and xenophobia. The intricate parts of this world premiere nestle together like a delicate puzzle … or erotic glimpses of an enigmatic tattoo. Experience the mystery of Strange Devices.
Naomi Iizuka’s plays have been seen at major theatres in Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. Berkeley Rep also presented the world premiere of her 36 Views before it played off Broadway.
Les Waters, associate artistic director, won an Obie Award for Big Love. His shows have ranked among the 10 best plays of 2007 in Time, 2006 in the New York Times and 2005 in TimeOut New York.
About the Ticket Supplier: Berkeley Repertory TheatreKnown for its amazing and adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a home for emerging and established artists since 1968. With two stages and a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, Berkeley Rep premieres exhilarating new plays and reimagined classics. In the last five years alone, the company has helped send five shows to Broadway: Green Day's American Idiot, Bridge & Tunnel, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Passing Strange and Wishful Drinking. Come see tomorrow's plays today at Berkeley Rep.
Berkeley Rep operates two performance spaces: the Roda Theatre, a state-of-the-art 600-seat proscenium theatre, and the intimate, 400-seat Thrust Stage. The Theatre is located in the heart of downtown Berkeley's arts district, just a half block from the Berkeley BART station, near lots of restaurants, cafe, pubs, and cool retailers.