For sheer emotional impact, you couldn't do much better recently than Daniel Fish's searing Measure for Measure
at CalShakes, and Shotgun's The Death of Meyerhold
definitely took the cake for audacity and guts in playmaking. But the widest-ranging and most ambitious production by far was Continental Divide
at the Berkeley Rep, David Edgar's two-play cycle about the uneasy intersection of American politics and society. Embarrassing as it is that it took a Brit to show us what our system really looks like, Divide
was an amazing piece of theater, with everything from West Wing
-style behind-the-scenes maneuvering laid bare to radical environmentalists rappelling down massive trees. Intellectually demanding as it was -- heaven save the brave audiences who chose to see both plays on the same day -- Divide
also managed to showcase intimate personal and family dramas played out by a great cast.
The Bright River, Transparent Theater