Background image: Pool of Unknown Wonders
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Artwork by Saira Brown

Pool of Unknown Wonders: Undertow of the Soul

By Philip Kan Gotanda

Directed by Michael Socrates Moran

October 14–17, 2021

The Playhouse at Zellerbach Hall

"However many begin, that many must arrive."

In an unfamiliar world, six unexpected companions find themselves on a common journey, facing unforeseen tests to achieve an unknown goal.

Inspired by Hermann Hesse's Journey to the East, Philip Kan Gotanda's surreal new drama plumbs the depths of the human quest for meaning in a fresh, urgent parable on wholeness, identity, and belonging.

Performance Times

Thursday, October 14, 8 p.m.

Friday, October 15, 8 p.m.  (includes post-show Q&A with the playwright and director)

Saturday, October 16, 2 p.m.

Saturday, October 16, 8 p.m.

Sunday, October 17, 2 p.m.

Event Details

Runtime: Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes with no intermission

Content Advisories

COVID-19 Precautions

Ticketing & Accessibility


Professor Philip Kan Gotanda

About the Playwright

Philip Kan Gotanda is the creator of one of the largest canons of Asian American-themed works and has been instrumental in bringing stories of Asians in the United States to mainstream theater. His plays include YohenAfter the WarThe Wash, and I Dream of Chang and Eng, among many others. He is also a respected independent filmmaker, with films including Life Tastes GoodDrinking Tea, and The Kiss, all official entries at the Sundance Film Festival. Gotanda recently wrote the libretto for the opera Both Eyes Open with composer Max Duykers, and he is presently working on music projects with composer Shinji Eshima and multi-instrumentalist David Coulter. He is a professor with the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.


COVID-19 Precautions

In accordance with City and University policies, all patrons attending the TPDS production of Pool of Unknown Wonders will be required to wear an effective, properly-fitted face covering over their nose and mouth in Zellerbach Playhouse at all times (including throughout performances).

The seating capacity of Zellerbach Playhouse will be limited to 50 percent for this production.

Should a change in policies or public health conditions make you uncomfortable with your ticket purchase for any reason, we will issue a refund upon request.

For additional information about local public health orders, please visit the City of Berkeley website.


Content Advisories

Pool of Unknown Wonders contains sensitive content, including strong language, references to traumatic events, and depictions of violence. Viewer discretion is advised.

This production also includes a simulated gunshot sound and other loud noises. It may include simulated fog and brief moments of flashing lights.

Please see below for a list of specific content advisories. If you have any questions about the play's content, please email tdpsboxoffice@berkeley.edu

View specific content advisories

Pool of Unknown Wonders contains the following mature content:

  • Simulated depictions of violence
  • References to:
    • animal abuse
    • death and dying
    • internment camps
    • miscarriage / infant mortality
    • sex
    • sexual abuse of a child
    • suicide
    • violence and war
  • Strong/graphic language, including:
    • a misogynistic slur
    • ethnic slurs
    • vulgarity

Audience Resources

We are equally committed to presenting challenging work and taking care of our audience members. Given the sensitive nature of the content presented in Pool of Unknown Wonders, we will be sharing resources below related to mental health services, trauma informed care, violence prevention, and social justice.

Mental Health & Crisis Services

On Campus Resources

Employee Assistance for Faculty/Staff

Student Mental Health Services

Off Campus Resources

24-Hour Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255

Alameda County Trauma Informed Care

Sexual Abuse

On Campus Resources

Let's Talk

PATH to Care

Off Campus Resource

Stop it Now

Violence Against Women

On Campus Resources

Let's Talk 

PATH to Care

Off Campus Resources

Bay Area Women Against Rape

Partnership to End Domestic Violence 

Gun Violence

On Campus Resource

Let's Talk

Off Campus Resource

Everytown Support Fund

Racial Harm

On Campus Resource

Reporting Hate Crimes and Hate-Motivated Acts

Off Campus Resources

Mental Health America Resource List

Education & Action

Black Women Birthing Justice (Bay Area)

The Othering & Belonging Institute

Stop AAPI Hate