Venue Details

210 Star Starred
Berkeley Playhouse
2640 College Avenue Berkeley, CA 94704
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4.6 / 5 Rated by 10 members
Review from Theater Goer

a splendid evening. Wolff's stories are especially well suitted for Word for Word's genre. They were, by turns, poignant and funny. Direction wasw excellent; most performances skilled and multi-layered.

reviewed Mar 18 2009 report as inappropriate
Review from Pete

First rate performances by a fine company in a beautiful venue.

reviewed Mar 18 2009 report as inappropriate
Review from Goldstar Member

The whole production was wonderful –the acting – direction and, the minimal and effective set design.

reviewed Mar 22 2009 report as inappropriate
View All 6 Reviews
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Quotes & Highlights

“The acutely observed, dryly comic and deeply humane stories of Tobias Wolff are a perfect fit for Word for Word, the company that stages stories exactly as written with slyly inventive touches.” —San Francisco Chronicle_, Best of 2008
“The particular alchemy of Word for Word and author Tobias Wolff is undeniable.” —_San Francisco Examiner

“Score another one for Word for Word.” —Contra Costa Times


Word For Word presents More Stories by Tobias Wolff, performances of three stories by master storyteller Tobias Wolff. More Stories by Tobias Wolff is an evening of work selected from Our Story Begins (2008), Mr.Wolff’s new story collection. More Stories by Tobias Wolff features performances of three short stories: the buoyant, haunting “Firelight” (anthologized in Best American Short Stories), the sultry, guilt-ridden “Down to Bone” (first seen in The New Yorker), as well as the desperately hilarious short piece “Sanity.”

Tobias Wolff is perhaps America’s preeminent storyteller, considered by many to be the “American Chekhov.” His stories have been praised for their humanity, their wit, the way they grapple with complex moral issues, and the pure unexpectedness of their prose. Wolff is also known for his two memoirs: This Boy’s Life: A Memoir and In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War which was a National Book Award nominee.

More Stories by Tobias Wolff is directed by Joel Mullennix, a long-time actor and director with Word for Word. Joel previously directed the acclaimed Which is More Than I Can Say About Some People by Lorrie Moore and Family Alchemy-Stories by Bernard Malamud and Grace Paley.

In More Stories, the mastery of Tobias Wolff’s life-affirming storytelling is evident from the desperate hilarity of teenage April’s attempt to create stability in her disintegrating family, to the implausible possibility of a sultry interlude while keeping a parental deathwatch, to a young boy’s jaunty, buoyant search with his single mother for refuge: “Sanity” “Down to Bone”, and “Firelight.”

Of Word for Word, Tobias Wolff says, “I wish that Word for Word would do all my stories. Their brilliant inventiveness in performance, choreography, and staging has created a new art form, and a deeply affecting experience. I honestly believe that you could not find a more imaginative, energetic, and emotionally well-tuned ensemble.”

Tobias Wolff is considered a master of the short story. His writing displays a sharp-edged sense of humor coupled with a moral awareness that tellingly illustrates the foibles of humanity. His work, both autobiographical and fictional, deals with moral dilemmas. Word for Word affirms his belief in “the exuberant unencumbered faith in the power of stories to clarify our sense of reality.”

Wolff grew up in the Pacific Northwest (the setting for his boyhood memoir, This Boy’s Life), had a checkered educational career at the Hill School in Pennsylvania (the setting for his novel, Old School), and served four years in the Army, including a tour in Vietnam (the source for his second memoir, In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War). He completed his undergraduate degree at Hertford College at Oxford University, and received an M.A. from Stanford University, which he attended with a Stegner Fellowship. He subsequently taught at Stanford for two years, and then for seventeen years (1980-1997) at Syracuse University in upstate New York. He returned to Stanford, and was director of the Creative Writing Program from 2000-2002. He is currently the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford.

Mr. Wolff’s work includes four collections of short stories, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Back in the World, The Night in Question, and Our Story Begins, as well as a novella, The Barracks Thief, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and his recent critically acclaimed novel, Old School. This Boy’s Life was a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and received the Los Angeles Times Book Award. It was made into a film in 1991, with Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ellen Barkin. In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War is considered by some to be the finest book published about Vietnam, and was a National Book Award Finalist. Mr. Wolff’s first novel, Old School, was published in 2003 to rave reviews. His new book of short stories, Our Story Begins, was published in 2008.

Joel Mullennix (Director) A long-time actor and director with Word for Word, Joel previously directed the critically acclaimed Which is More Than I Can Say About Some People by Lorrie Moore (presented in January 2007 as a part of Word for Word’s Strangers We Know production), as well as Family Alchemy – Stories by Bernard Malamud and Grace Paley, presented by Traveling Jewish Theater in the Word for Word style. In 2006, he collaborated with Word for Word Artistic Director Susan Harloe to direct Julie Orringer’s The Isabel Fish, presented to the author at San Francisco’s illustrious Lick-Wilmerding High School. In addition to these Word for Word style productions, Joel has also directed Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, The Cherry Orchard, A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller, and Prelude to a Kiss by Craig Lucas. His company, Industrial Strength Productions, produced acclaimed productions of East and Greek by Steven Berkof, in which he played major roles. He has acted in many Word for Word productions, as well as appearing on other Bay Area stages. Joel holds an MFA in Acting from the University of California at Davis.

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