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ARTS NOTES

Timely play recalls election

November 16, 2003|Don Shirley

"Continental Divide," David Edgar's two-part epic play set against the backdrop of a gubernatorial election in a state that seems to be California -- though it's never identified -- officially arrives in California today as the production opens at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Since the play's March premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., California has gone through its real-life gubernatorial drama. But a spokeswoman for the production said no changes were made in the script as a result of the recall election. Edgar and director Tony Taccone "felt they couldn't chase history," she said.

However, the plot of "Daughters of the Revolution" -- the half of "Continental Divide" that was less well received in Oregon -- has changed. The central character in "Daughters," a professor who investigates an event in his own radical past, now has a stronger motivation. He has been named to head a state commission, and he knows his background will be checked during the confirmation process.

Performances of "Divide's" two parts will alternate in one 600-seat proscenium theater in Berkeley. In Ashland, "Daughters" was on a large proscenium stage, but its mate, "Mothers Against," was in a smaller theater, with the audience seated on two sides of the actors.

Edgar's home country, England, is the production's next stop. It will play at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre March 6-13 and at London's Barbican Theatre March 20-April 4.

-- Don Shirley

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