Impact’s new season: piquant premières, a bloody classic

Impact Theatre's "Disassembly" opens this week.The Berkeley theatre group has just announced its 2011-12 season. Photo: Cheshire Isaacs

Berkeley’s Impact Theatre doesn’t pull its punches when announcing its 2011-12 season. “It’s not so sweet,” reads the release, referring to a roster of plays that run the gamut from a piece focused on Dungeon & Dragons gamers, to a black comedy about a high schooler who disappears — and also includes the group’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedy, Titus Andronicus.

“I wanted a season of new plays that were truly unique, in addition to a challenging classic,” says Artistic Director Melissa Hillman. “Each play breaks new ground in its own way.”

The three premières in the line-up are all written by under 35-year-old playwrights.

Cameron McNary’s play about D&D gamers facing adulthood, Of Dice and Men, made its debut at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. “I had the play in my hands ten minutes after I heard about it. Ten minutes after that, I knew we had to do it,” said Hillman who also directs.


In November, Impact opens The Chalk Boy by Joshua Conkel, author of MilkMilkLemonade. In this play, four high school girls re-enact the story of the disappearance of a classmate, Jeff Chalk, from their tiny town of Clear Creek. They struggle with issues of sexuality, faith, the occult, and their friendship in a piece that “punches as hard as your high-school bully”.

Reggie White, Mike Delaney, and Sarah Coykendall star in Impact’s Titus Andronicus, the theatre group’s annual classic. Hillman, who directs, promises the production will be full of surprises.

The season closes with the world première of local rising star Lauren Yee’s Crevice, directed by Impact Associate Artistic Director Desdemona Chiang.

Meantime, the current season is closing with the world premiere of Disassembly which opens this week.

Impact was formed in 1996 with a mission to produce “fresh and bold” stage works. Their performances are all held at La Val’s Subterranean at 1834 Euclid Avenue, and tickets are priced at $10-$20.

Visit Impact Theatre’s website to learn more about the theatre group and its forthcoming productions.