In ‘La Miguelito,’ a street artist’s murder mirrors Bay Area gentrification

October 18, 2019

When Daniela Cervantes first heard about the play, Who Shot la Miguelito?, presented by the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies, she knew she had to be a part of it.

“As a person of color, I wanted to be involved in a production that uplifts the voices that belong to people who look like me, who are stereotyped the way that I’m stereotyped,” says Cervantes, a third-year student majoring in ethnic studies, with a minor in theater and performance studies. “I wanted to bring those voices to a platform where they could be heard.”

Who Shot la...

UC Berkeley stages Brecht’s fiery ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’

November 19, 2019

Ensconced in the center of the Zellerbach Playhouse is a vertiginous stage, stained in aquamarine, licorice red and pale salmon. Floating around the arena are knee-high tables, an assortment of chairs and a monumental amount of tapestries, ranging from the typical pillow sham to the ones draped across a college student’s window. To the side is a nook resembling a backyard concert. It’s an array of set dressing which magnetizes in service of the story. At the convergence of the UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies, or TDPS, program...

UC Berkeley’s Theater, Dance and Performance Studies department burns down the house with lively performance of ‘The Arsonists’ (The Daily Californian)

March 17, 2020

There is a fine line that has to be walked when performing “The Arsonists,” Max Frisch’s 1953 play. Originally written for radio, the play is a comedy — it needs to bring up its own zaniness to make its audience laugh. At the same time, it needs to bring a clarifying realism to its sobering themes and content. This line was acknowledged but shifted by UC Berkeley’s Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies, or TDPS, whose take on the play about complicity and ideology tends toward the comedic but faces some uneven tonal shifts.

'Snowflakes, or Rare White People' evokes self-conscious laughter (Theatrius)

May 13, 2020

Set in Nueva, New York in the late 23rd century, Dustin Chinn’s Radio Play, featuring CAL students under the direction of Mina Morita, imagines a world where Caucasians, nearing extinction, survive under federal protection. They live on preservation farms and perform their “caucasity” for a curious public.

In this near white-less future world, Chinn wittily shows two arrogant Caucasians who disrupt the prevailing ethnic diversity. Even in a world where Caucasians are critically endangered, their white voices carry weight.

TDPS presents 'The House of the Spirits,' Isabel Allende’s magical family drama, in a poetic re-imagining by Caridad Svich

March 1, 2019
UC Berkeley’s Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) will cap off its 2018–2019 season with The House of the Spirits, a play by Caridad Svich based on the best-selling novel by Isabel Allende. Directed by Michael Moran, this poetic adaptation with Svich’s original songs runs April 26 through May 5 in the Playhouse at Zellerbach Hall. Patrons may purchase tickets for $13–20 through the TDPS online box office or at the door.

Beckett / Fornés / Pinter: Student-directed one-act plays confront issues of loss, communication, memory

February 14, 2019
UC Berkeley’s Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) presents Beckett / Fornés / Pinter: Student-Directed One-Act Plays. The showcase of unconventional, modernist plays will include Footfalls by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, Silence by British playwright Harold Pinter, and Springtime by Cuban American playwright María Irene Fornés. The show opens Thursday, March 14 and continues through Sunday, March 17 in Durham Studio Theater at UC Berkeley.

Student play asks: What does it mean to be a Native artist today? (Berkeley News)

November 26, 2019

After student Drew Woodson took a playwriting course with Philip Gotanda, a professor in the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at Berkeley, he realized he had a story to tell. Two years later, that story would become his first play, Your Friend, Jay Silverheels. “The original idea for this play came out of this frustration I was having as an actor of not being able to find monologues that really fit and felt true to who I am as a Native person,” says Woodson. “I knew I had to write this story, to get it down on paper — not only for myself as an actor, but for...

Mina Morita, director of ‘Snowflakes, or Rare White People,’ addresses changing production’s format (The Daily Californian)

May 29, 2020

Mina Morita has been the artistic director of San Francisco’s Crowded Fire Theater for five years. Earlier this year, she began working with UC Berkeley’s Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS) to bring Dustin Chinn’s play “Snowflakes, or Rare White People” to the stage.

As was the case for many working in and around Berkeley, everything changed March 9, when the chancellor’s office announced the suspension of in-person classes at UC Berkeley due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, Morita said, she had a sore throat and was directing rehearsals from home,...

Radio dramas make theater between your ears, in your bathtub, during shelter-in-place (Datebook)

May 13, 2020

Degree-granting theater programs are also making use of audio theater, including the American Conservatory Theater’s MFA program, which performed Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s “Rough Magic” as an audio play, presented internally only under the direction of M. Graham Smith (though cast and crew made what they’re calling a green show, or a video riff on the show’s themes, for the public). UC Berkeley’s Department of Theater,...