Theater & Performing Arts

Compulsion

When: Sept. 13-Oct. 31 2010

Actor Mandy Patinkinis the force that animates Compulsion, playing Sid Silver, a Zionist post-WWII author obsessed with staging The Diary of Anne Frank. Based largely on the famed Jewish writer Meyer Levin, his character is intemperate, neurotic, edgily political, and apparently smarter than everyone else onstage. He spends the bulk of Rinne Groff's play politicking for rights to the dramatic version of Anne's diary, growling and yowling at two intransigent publishers from Doubleday Books. Silver blames anti-Semitism when his script is replaced with a more mawkish version, penned by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. Patinkin plays the role with brio, allowing his character to pace the stage, fidget, modulate his voice, and shift moods on a dime. His seemingly impulsive behaviors stem from what's actually a very exacting, controlled performance. Oskar Eustis directs, while Hannah Cabell and Matte Osianco-star in multiple roles. Through October 31 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2025 Addison St., Berkeley) $17-$72. BerkeleyRep.org

Rachel Swan

Price: $29-$73

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