Where Do We Go From Here?

Where Do We Go From Here?

Quoting Woody Allen has its problematic aspects, but one thing he said that’s much repeated is that 80 percent of life is showing up. Berkeley theater company TheatreFIRST’s new show, Participants, explores the importance of showing up from a dozen different angles.

One of the things TheatreFIRST shifted its focus toward when Jon Tracy took over as artistic facilitator last season was the development of commissioned works. With Participants, the theater takes that mission to a whole new level. It’s an evening of 12 new works by a diverse assortment of creators, themed around the question of how to respond to times of sociopolitical unrest, both as an individual and as a community.

The playwrights include Christopher Chen (How Autechre Changed My Life), Anthony Clarvoe (Show of Hands), Star Finch (Take the Ticket), Dipika Guha (Scenes from My Terrific Death), Aaron Loeb (Cultural Inappropriation), Carl Lumbly (Eve and Steven), Rohina Malik (Shake It), Linda McLean (Godforsaken), Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko (37), Geetha Reddy (Castes), Octavio Solis (Breakaway) and Torange Yeghiazarian (The Funeral), each paired with a separate director.

These bite-size plays are designed to spark community discussion that the audience, seated in a circle, can jump right into afterward in one of the company’s facilitated post-show discussions. How do you figure out where to go from here, and what to do when you get there? The only way to find out is to show up.


Participants, Dec. 1-23, Thu., Fri., Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; $15-$35; TheatreFirst.com.