Berkeley Rep Presents 'No Child' Starting 5/11
This May, Berkeley Repertory Theatre continues its string of solo shows by presenting No Child , the off-Broadway play that became the breakaway hit of the year. Performed by Nilaja Sun and directed by Hal Brooks, No Child runs from May 11 through June 1 on Berkeley Rep's Thrust Stage. Opening night is Monday, May 12."No Child proves one passionate person can make a difference. In a stunning solo show, Nilaja Sun plays an entire classroom of children, their teachers, their parents, the principal, the janitor, and even a security guard with a metal detector at the school's front door. Sun takes on 17 roles in 70 minutes, transforming her nine-year adventure as a teaching artist into a master class on heartbreak, humor, and hope," press notes state.A native of the Lower East Side, Nilaja Sun has been a teaching artist in the New York public school system for nine years while also writing and performing in numerous off-Broadway shows. She received the prestigious Princess Grace Award for theatre in 2003, and has been inundated with prizes for No Child as it's played Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC. In her long-term relationship with Epic Theatre Ensemble, Sun has appeared in Einstein's Gift, No Child..., Pieces of the Throne, and Time and the Conways; she was also named the first artistic associate of Epic Theatre. Her other New York credits include The Adventures of Barrio Grrrl! for the Summer Play Festival, The Cook at INTAR Theatre, Huck and Holden at Cherry Lane Theatre, and Law and Order: SVU. She most recently completed work on Columbia Pictures' upcoming film The International, starring Naomi Watts and Clive Owen. As a solo performer, Sun's projects include critically acclaimed shows such as Black and Blue, Blues for a Gray Sun, Due to the Tragic Events of , Insufficient Fare, La Nubia Latina, and Mixtures. In Yoruba, her first name appropriately enough means "peacemaker." Hal Brooks is renowned for directing powerful solo shows. After staging No Child at both the Barrow Street Theatre and Epic Theatre in New York, he is directing the show's regional tour. He also staged Will Eno's Thom Pain (based on nothing), a solo show that played the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Soho Theatre in London, and the DR2 Theatre in New York, where it ran for nearly two years off Broadway and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His other recent productions include Life in a Marital Institution and Widows at 59E59 in Manhattan, the premiere of Lee Blessing's Lonesome Hollow at the Contemporary American Theater Festival, and Master Harold and the Boys at the Weston Playhouse. Brooks was the artistic director of the Rude Mechanicals Theater Company in New York, where he directed the off-Broadway premieres of Don DeLillo's Valparaiso and Will Eno's The Flu Season, which won the Oppenheimer Award. He has also worked with the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival, American Conservatory Theater, Clubbed Thumb, the Don Quixote Project, INTAR, Magic Theater, McCarter Theatre Center, Naked Angels, New York Theatre Workshop, Pennsylvania Centre Stage, Southern Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Stage, and Virginia Stage Company. A proud member of the Directors Lab at Lincoln Center Theater, Brooks was honored to be chosen for a Drama League Fall Directing Fellowship in 2003 and the 2007-2009 Career Development Program for Directors from the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group. His upcoming projects include Craig Wright's Lady at Asolo Rep. The Berkeley production of No Child relies on the show's original design team. Narelle Sissons (set designer) created the scenery for Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway production of All My Sons. Her off-Broadway credits include the original production of How I Learned to Drive, as well as Dutch Heart of Man, In the Blood, Jesus Hopped the A Train, Julius Caesar, Kit Marlowe, Our Lady of 121st Street, and Stop Kiss. Jessica Gaffney (costume designer) has worked at numerous New York theatres including 13P, BPAC, Epic Theatre Center, The Flea Theater, and PS122, collaborating with respected artists such as Mark Armstrong, Trista Baldwin, Thomas Bradshaw, Holly Golden, Len Jenkin, Michael Kimmel, Debbie Saivetz, and Ken Russ Schmoll. Mark Barton (lighting designer) designed the off-Broadway productions of All the Wrong Reasons, Five Course Love, Thom Pain (based on nothing), and Valparaiso. In addition to countless credits in Manhattan, his work has been seen in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, Minneapolis, Oslo, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, Vienna, and Zurich. Ron Russell (sound designer) is a founder, producing artist, teaching artist, and director of company development for off-Broadway's Epic Theatre Ensemble, where his credits include Beauty on the Vine, Einstein's Gift, Hannah and Martin, Time and the Conways, and Widowers' Houses. Tickets to No Child start as low as $27, thanks to exciting new prices that let more people experience the best theatre in the Bay Area. Additional savings are available for groups, seniors, students, and anyone under 30 years of age meaning discounted tickets can be obtained for as little as $13.50. Subscribers save $5 on any ticket purchased before March 23, and subscribers who receive Berkeley Rep's discount for educators and employees of preschools and K-12 schools can save 50% on any performance between May 11 and May 18. Special matinees are also available for school groups: tickets are only $10 each, and a chaperone is admitted free for every 10 students.Berkeley Rep's Thrust Stage is located at 2025 Addison Street, one block from Berkeley's downtown BART station and close to AC Transit bus lines. The executive producers for the Berkeley run of No Child are the Strauch Kulhanjian Family and Felicia Woytak and Steve Rasmussen.For tickets or information, call 510.647.2949 or toll-free at 888-4-BRT-Tix or simply click berkeleyrep.org. Teachers will want to check out the special website with ideas for educators at www.berkeleyrep.org/nochild. Born in a storefront on College Avenue, Berkeley Rep has moved to the forefront of American theatre and is still telling unforgettable stories. Founded in 1968 by Michael Leibert, the Theatre quickly earned respect for presenting the finest plays with top-flight actors. In 1980, with the support of the local community, Berkeley Rep built the 400-seat Thrust Stage where its reputation steadily grew over the next two decades. It gained renown for an adventurous combination of work, presenting important new dramatic voices alongside refreshing adaptations of seldom-seen classics. In recognition of its place on the national stage, Berkeley Rep was honored with theTony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1997. The company celebrated by unveiling a new 600-seat proscenium stage in 2001, the state-of-the-art Roda Theatre. It also opened the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, a permanent home for its long tradition of outreach and education programs. The addition of these two buildings transformed a single stage into a vital and versatile performing arts complex, the linchpin of a bustling Downtown Arts District which has helped revitalize Berkeley. In four decades, four million people have enjoyed more than 300 shows at Berkeley Rep, including 50 world premieres. The Theatre now welcomes an annual audience of 180,000, serves 20,000 students, and hosts dozens of community groups, thanks to 1,000 volunteers and more than 400 artists, artisans, and administrators. In the last two years, four shows seen at Berkeley Rep have gone on to New York: Bridge & Tunnel, Brundibar, Eurydice, and Passing Strange. Now a series of gifted guests arrives with amazing stage presents for Berkeley Rep's 40th birthday.