Theater & Performing Arts

Tiny Kushner

When: Oct. 16-Nov. 29 2009

Tony Kushner never really thinks tiny, so the title of his new set of one-acts, Tiny Kushner, is actually a bit of a misnomer. Though the whole production features only four actors, no costume changes, and a bunch of repurposed set pieces, its themes are fairly large in scope. They include, but are not limited to, facism, repressed homosexuality, psychotherapy, genocide, an elaborate tax-exemption scheme, the afterlife, and political caricature. In most instances Kushner cribs his material from real life, but makes the product stranger than fiction. His piece "Flip Flop Fly!" began life as a mock obituary for two minor historical figures, the singer Lucia Pamela (ValeriMudek) and exiled Queen Geraldine of Albania (Kate Eifrig). In the play they meet on the moon and suss out their differences. "Terminating"is a faux therapy session that draws its themes from Shakespeare's Sonnet LXXV. "East Coast Ode to Howard Jarvis"dramatizes a true story about New York City cops trying to defraud the US government -- with help from a right-wing fringe group. "Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy"has Laura Bush (Eifrig) reading Dostoyevsky to dead Iraqi children. At times, Kushner gets carried away with his ideas, or has trouble drawing them to a close (a couple of the plays just fade out, with no resolution). But his one-acts are always surprising and imaginative. The writing is always spot-on. Through Nov. 29 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2025 Addison St.). $13.50-$71.

Rachel Swan

Price: $13.50 - $71

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