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When: Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m., Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m., Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m., Tuesdays, 8 p.m. and Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Continues through April 21 2013
Price: $29-$89

Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist best known for his explorations of extremism in the Middle East, steps into the role of playwright to take on one of his profession's furthest fallen idols, Italian reporter Oriana Fallaci. Wright's marvelous result, Fallaci, grills its infamous subject -- master of the "combative interview" and once the most feared journalists in the world -- toward the controversial and rather ugly end of her life, when she became an outspoken Islamophobe. He does so by creating the foil of Maryan, an Iran-born obituary writer who works her way into Fallaci's apartment to conduct a special interview. The lengthy exposition falters and grows thin, but the second scene crafts a psychological tête-à-tête of gripping depth, and the play's otherworldly epilogue, although risky and strange, ends this fierce play on a high note. All in all, it is easily the best East Bay theater production of the season so far. Through April 21 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre (2025 Addison St., Berkeley). 510-647-2900 or

— Alex Bigman


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