Geneva Anderson digs into art

Kneehigh’s “Tristan & Yseult” at Berkeley Rep—playful, profound, high-energy

Based on an ancient tale, Tristan & Yseult is an epic love triangle between two men—the warrior Tristan and his uncle Mark, the King of Cornwall—and the beautiful young Irish woman, Yseult.  Britain’s Kneehigh Theatre, under the direction of Emma Rice, brings the story to glorious life at Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre where it has its West Coast premiere.   This beautifully choreographed and staged performance sealed Kneehigh’s reputation a decade ago and the revised show is now touring internationally.  With a script by Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy and a score by Stu Barker, the production is so fresh and inventive that it extends the very boundaries of theatre while expanding the dialogue between past and contemporary culture.  The performance stars Andrew Durand as Tristan and Patrycja Kujawska as Yseult and features a phenomenal young cast.   In constant churning, beat-bopping motion, they do it all—act, sing, dance, fly through the air, play instruments—and are a delight to behold.  Creative touches include Yseult’s maid, Brangian, in drag, some very acrobatic love scenes which transpire on the mast of a ship, a riotous crew of Love spotters as the chorus, and a cabaret that above the stage called the Café of the Unloved from which Ian Ross and a small band of musicians deliver a musical mash-up featuring tunes from sources as divergent as Nick Cave, Roy Orbison, Bob Marley, Irving Berlin and Wagner.  You’ll be blowing up balloons, dancing at the intermission, singing along and wishing there was a CD to buy afterwards of all the great music.

Adapted and directed by Emma Rice
Writers: Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy
Running time: 2 hours and 15 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission

Details: Tristan & Yseult runs through January 6, 2014 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison Street @ Shattuck, Berkeley, CA 94704. Performances are Tues-Sun with matinees on Sat, Sun and some Thurs.  Tickets: $29 to $99.  Discounts:  Half-price tickets available for anyone under 30 years of age; $10 discount for students and seniors one hour before curtain.  Tickets and info: 510 647–2949 ·

Parking:  Paid parking is readily available at over 5 parking garages as close as one block from the theatre. The Allston Way Garage, 2061 Allston Way, between Milvia and Shattuck, offers $3 parking Tuesday–Friday after 6 PM or all day on Saturday or Sunday when your garage-issued parking ticket is accompanied by a free voucher ticket that is available in the theatre lobby.  These new tickets accommodate the newly automated parking garage’s ticket machines and are available in a pile located where the ink stamp used to be.

December 2, 2013 Posted by | Theatre | , , , , , | Leave a comment

San Francisco’s Jewish Film Festival starts Thursday, July 19, with a broad line-up and a weekend of programming in Marin

Roberta Grossman’s “Hava Nagila (the Movie)” has its world preimere on the opening night of the 32nd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Image: courtesy SFJFF

The 32nd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival opens Thursday evening at San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre with the world premiere of Roberta Grossman’s Hava Nagila (the Movie),  a riveting history of “Hava Nagila,” the foot-tapping song that started with a wordless prayer and may be one of the world’s best known pieces of music.  Afterwards, the festivities continue with an Opening Night Bash at the Swedish American Hall hosted by some of the Bay Area’s best purveyors of food and drink.

The festival, a tradition enjoyed by film aficionados far and wide, runs July 19 to August 6, 2012, and includes 63 films from 17 countries, including a wide spectrum of stimulating discussions, international guests and wonderful parties.   There are seven Bay Area venues, one of which is the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.  Programming there includes 13 films and begins on the last weekend of the festival—Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6, 2012.  Stay tuned to ARThound for detailed coverage of the Marin segment.  For general festival programming and to purchase tickets, visit

The 32nd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival: July 19 to August 6, 2012. Venues: Castro Theatre and Jewish Community Center in San Francisco; Roda Theatre at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley; CinéArts in Palo Alto; Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael; Art Murmur and the Piedmont Theatre in Oakland. (415) 621-0523.

July 18, 2012 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment