Galati & Murakami Shake Berkeley Rep with 'after the quake'
This October, Berkeley is the epicenter of Bay Area drama when Tony Award-winning director Frank Galati brings after the quake to Berkeley Repertory Theatre; performed on the Thrust Stage beginning previews October 12, opening October 17 and runs through November 25.
"In the aftermath of the Kobe earthquake, Japan's illustrious author Haruki Murakami penned a beautiful book of stories by this name – and now Galati offers up a tender and inventive adaptation of two of these tales," explain press notes, "A timid man woos an old flame, enchanting her anxious daughter with whimsical stories of a six-foot frog's fight to save Tokyo. In this poignant new play, we see that a storyteller can't dispel the world's woes, but he can teach a child – and himself – how to face fear. Berkeley Rep and La Jolla Playhouse shake up California with Steppenwolf Theatre's production of after the quake."
The cast of after the quake features Paul H. Juhn (Katagiri/Takatsuki) and Keong Sim (Narrator/Frog), Hanson Tse (Junpei) and Jennifer Shin (Sayoko/Nurse). Two local children will complete the cast, alternating in the role of Sala.
Frank Galati earned rave reviews for Broadway's Ragtime and two Tony Awards for The Grapes of Wrath. Haruki Murakami won Japan's equivalent of the Pulitzer for novels such as "Kafka on the Shore" and "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle."
Haruki Murakami became Japan's most celebrated author after an epiphany at a baseball game convinced him he could write novels. Born in Kyoto in 1949, he grew up in Kobe and studied in Tokyo. His first book, "Hear the Wind Sing" (1979), won the Gunzou Literature Prize. He followed this success with "Pinball 1973" (1980) and "A Wild Sheep Chase" (1982), earning the Noma Literary Prize for New Writers. These first works are now known as "The Trilogy of the Rat." His subsequent books include "Hard-Boiled Wonderland" and "The End Of The World" (1985); "Norwegian Wood" (1987); "Dance, Dance, Dance" (1988); "South of the Border, West of the Sun" (1992); and "The Elephant Vanishes" (1993). In the early nineties, Murakami spent four years in the United States; he taught at Princeton and wrote "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" (1994), which won the Yomiuri Literary Prize. But he returned home in 1995, after the Kobe earthquake and the poison gas attack in the Tokyo subway. Murakami responded to these tragedies by interviewing the victims, publishing a nonfiction book known in English as "Underground" (2000) and the collection of short stories called "after the quake" (2002). Other recent works include "Sputnik Sweetheart" (1999), "Kafka on the Shore" (2005), and "After Dark" (2007). Murakami's books have been published in more than 30 languages – and he often translates American authors into Japanese, including titles by Raymond Carver, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Irving. The two stories presented on Berkeley Rep's stage also appeared in GQ and The New Yorker.
Frank Galati is renowned for transforming literary works into transcendent theatre. When he brought The Grapes of Wrath to Broadway, he won a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, and two Tony Awards – as adapter and director. He also received a Tony nomination for staging the Broadway hit Ragtime, which turned E.L. Doctorow's novel into a magical musical. Over the years, Galati has earned nine Joseph Jefferson Awards for his work on Chicago stages: five as a director, three as a writer, and one as an actor. In addition, he and his collaborator Lawrence Kasdan were nominated for an Academy Award for the screenplay to Anne Tyler's Accidental Tourist. Galati is a member of the Steppenwolf ensemble, an associate director at The Goodman Theatre, and an emeritus professor in the department of performance studies at Northwestern University. Outside of Chicago, his shows have been seen at many eminent institutions, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Long Wharf Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Metropolitan Opera. In 2002, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.