Venue Details

136 Star Starred
Roda Theatre at Berkeley Rep
2025 Addison Street Berkeley, CA 94704
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1 events
1 review
0 stars
Parking in garage right across the street from Berkeley Rep. Reasonable at $5.00 for the whole evening up until 12:00 am, when the parking garage closes.
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129 events
74 reviews
58 stars
Find out which shows offer discussion before or after the play and go.
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Reviews & Ratings

"Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West"
18 ratings
2.8 average rating
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37 events
14 reviews
20 stars
attended Mar 02 2010

It was boring and the acting was horrible. This suprised me because I have generally enjoyed what I have seen at Berkeley Rep. But the acting of the male actors seemed like a high school play. There just spitting out their lines as fast as they...continued

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Thomas O'Leary Red Velvet
196 events
80 reviews
19 stars
attended Mar 04 2010

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...continued

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203 events
43 reviews
74 stars
attended Mar 07 2010

Overall, I liked this piece for a combination of reasons: imaginative set (with the panels and use of photographs and lighting); the costumes and temporary tattoo work; its interlocking parts; and the layers of plots and subplots and how the...continued

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More Information


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.