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Emotional Creature 

When: June 14-16, 8 p.m., Sun., June 17, 7 p.m., Tuesdays, 8 p.m., Wednesdays, 7 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m., Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m., Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. and Thursdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Continues through July 12 2012
Price: $26.50-$103

Feminist playwright Eve Ensler is known for her tendency to homilize, so it's not surprising that her new play Emotional Creature -- a follow-up to the internationally famous Vagina Monologues -- ultimately devolves into political speech. Still, it's a thoroughly entertaining work of theater, partly because the six cast members so artfully stretch the material they're given. Molly Carden wrings pathos out of a short vignette about high school cliques, while Sade Namei finds humor in her vivid recounting of a forced plastic surgery. The show's climax is unexpectedly moving, because of both the subject matter (rape as a tool of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo) and JoaquinaKalukango's delivery, as she weaves the sordid details into a tale of endurance and survival. Director Jo Bonney's spare stagecraft and Shawn Sagady's video montages make the show visually arresting, and provide a rich narrative subtext to fill gaps in the script. Through July 15 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2025 Addison St., Berkeley). $14.50-$73. 510-647-2949 or BerkeleyRep.org

— Rachel Swan

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