Venue Details

210 Star Starred
Berkeley Playhouse
2640 College Avenue Berkeley, CA 94704
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Quotes & Highlights

“A committed piece of underground theater that refashions the Jewish storytelling tradition in a fusion of hip-hop, jazz-inflected improvisation, and slam-style lyricism. " —Robert Avila, SF Bay Guardian
“Barsky’s approach to theater is revolutionary.” —Oakland Tribune


The Bright River is a hip-hop retelling of Dante’s Inferno by traditional storyteller, Tim Barsky. A live soundtrack accompanies the play, as performed by some of the best hip-hop and klezmer musicians in the Bay Area. A dizzying theatrical journey through a world spinning helplessly out of control, the show sends audiences on a mass-transit tour of the Afterlife. Guided by a fixer named Quick, and moving through an urban landscape that is at once both intensely real and fantastic, it is a cinema verite look at life and death in America.

The Bright River blends hip-hop, physical theatre and Jewish folklore, reflecting lead performer Tim Barsky’s training as a Jewish storyteller and oral historian. Tim is also the world’s first beatbox flutist, capable of producing up to 8 rhythms and melodies at the same time. Bassist and multi-instrumentalist Safa Shokrai, cellist Jess Ivry, and beatboxer/ vocal percussionist Kid Beyond (SF Weekly’s “Best Beatboxer”) bring a diverse set of skills and traditions to bear. Jeff Raz, of the Clown Conservatory, brings a wealth of physical theatre as the show’s director.

Opening as a workshop-production in 2004 on a $0 budget, The Bright River ran for 6 weeks, and sold out for the last three. Voted “Best Theatrical Production of 2004” in the East Bay Express Reader’s Poll, the show’s success came almost entirely from word-of-mouth, and represented a diverse groundswell of popular support. The TJT production will continue this tradition, with a gallery exhibition by hip-hop photographer Danielle Barnett, and live post-show performances by Bay Area DJs, breakdancers and beatboxers.

<em>Eclipsed</em> <em>Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin</em> Yoshi's Oakland Balé Folclórico da Bahia <em>Betroffenheit</em> <em>Cirque du Soleil: LUZIA</em>