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The Great Game: Afghanistan 

When: Wednesdays, 7 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays, 12 p.m. Continues through Nov. 7 2010
Price: $27-$71

Unlike many of the anti-war screeds that have surfaced in recent years, The Great Game: Afghanistanoffers an intelligent, subdued discourse on the country's colonial history. Structured as a triptych, it covers three distinct periods: 19th-century British rule; communism, paternalism, and the unraveling of Afghanistan's era as a democratic republic; and the current occupation. Each part is actually a series of vignettes by different British playwrights, under the direction of Nicolas Kent and IndhuRubasingham. The character monologues avoid ostentation, and never hit audience members over the head with politics or post-colonial theory. Nevertheless, they're intellectually curious, and uninhibited in a way that we seldom see from American playwrights. One scene in Part II, titled "Miniskirts of Kabul," features a British journalist (Jemma Redgrave) cross-examining dethroned Communist leader Niajibullah(Daniel Rabin). Their dialogue is funny, flirtatious, and so deeply uncomfortable that the two have to diffuse the tension by dancing to a Spice Girls video. That's globalism at its finest. Through Nov. 11 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2025 Addison St., Berkeley), $17-$73.510-647-2949 or

— Rachel Swan


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