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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Info Post

You will never watch your local news station the same way again. You listen to “our reporters standing by” in the rain, storm, and “in front of modest family homes” for years, but it kind of escapes you—all that repetitive senseless rhetorical chow they feed you as the news day after day, hour after hour. Will Eno’s “TRAGEDY: a tragedy,” directed by Les Waters, that premiered at Berkeley Rep yesterday, hilariously rotates around a news coverage of an undecipherable tragedy that befalls Anytown, USA, causing so much pain and grief and, perhaps, loss of life, that the governor comes up with a consolation speech, consisting mostly of “paragraphs of words.” In his rather existential satire, Eno peels layer after layer off our collective mentality, exposing the conformity of our collective soul, ready to gobble whatever sugarcoated crap is being served. “Have you seen anything striking that struck you?” asks Thomas Jay Ryan (in the role of John in the Field) of Danny Wolohan who plays The Witness. Marguerite Stimpson (Constance at the Home) forever comments on the empty home in front of which she stands, spewing a thesaurus of words to convey the emptiness of the home from which a family is gone. Adding more ground to the scene is Max Gordon Moore (Michael, Legal Advisor) standing on the steps of the government building, reporting in extensive passages time and again that no word has been heard yet from the government. David Cromwell (Frank in the Studio) comments on the reporters’ comments after each “back to you, Frank,” with the exception of those moments when he unplugs his earpiece to stir sugar in his coffee and scratch his head. All is business as usual, with the tragedy unfolding somewhere in the field, where John finds a great escape route by commenting on stray dogs’ behavior, and referring to “passers by who pass by” and to a nightfall which comes when “night falls, or descends.” Once again, it almost escapes you that the real tragedy is hatching deep inside your gray matter, becoming grayer with each newscast you hear day after day, year after year. The show runs through April 13. For info and ticket reservations, call 510-647-2949 or visit


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