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Anna Bella Eema

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Through July 15. General admission is $20; students, seniors, and TBA Members: $10. Call 439-2456 or visit www.crowdedfire.org
Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby (at Martin Luther King Way), Berkeley

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Obie Award-winning playwright Lisa D'Amour's trailer-park gothic about a mother, daughter, and a girl made of dust is arresting and mesmerizing. One portion of the show has daughter (Anna Bella) asleep for five days after getting her first period. While mother (Irena) and the dust girl (Anna Bella Eema) wait for her to wake up, Anna Bella goes on a five-day journey where she is led by a series of animal guides that include a toothless raccoon called Dirty Louie and a blind owl in a rowboat with a cat on its shoulders. Over these five days Irena has barricaded them inside while police and construction workers surround their home. Ultimately, Anna Bella Eema is a story about adaptability, love, and survival. Director Rebecca Novick displays a clear vision with this difficult piece, and the actors and designers do a tremendous job of bringing that vision to life. After every performance, there is "fireside chat" with artistic director Kent Nicholson and the cast, which I highly recommend attending. This show needs and deserves the time to sink in.

 
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