Engineering and spirituality make beautiful audio alongside each other at Berkeley Rep

The West Coast premiere of “Octet,” ready and composed by Dave Malloy (correct) and directed by Annie Tippe (left) opens at Berkeley Rep on April 20. Credit score historical past: Calvin Ngu

This story is launched to you by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Instantly after welcoming again once more enthusiastic audiences to 4 reveals with offered-out homes, Berkeley Rep proceeds its most up-to-date stay season with “Octet,” an award-winning current that defies a straightforward musical definition. Essentially the most present off-Broadway hit by three-time Tony Award nominee Dave Malloy, the present’s West Shoreline premiere begins April 20.

Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Wonderful Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Very good Ensemble, “Octet” options eight world extensive web-obsessed individuals who, though meeting in a church basement, share music about their descents down the rabbit holes of viral movies, courting apps, social media, gaming, chat rooms and even the darker corners of the web. However “Octet” isn’t a luddite indictment of our smartphones — it invites us to steadiness the upsides and drawbacks of digital existence and to be extra present with each single different.

“‘Octet’ feels so associated on this distinct prompt,” Inventive Director Johanna Pfaelzer mentioned. Instantly after two a very long time of social isolation — wherein engineering has been a lifeline — “‘Octet’ provides us an probability to lean into the very human require to seem collectively in shared areas,” she mentioned, though additionally “recognizing the intricate and necessary goal that engineering performs in our lives.”

The Tarot is a necessary thematic and structural element in “Octet.” Credit score historical past: Berkeley Rep

Malloy, who wrote and composed the show, acknowledged that though it was born from his private obsession with “the fact that there was this entire different setting remaining created by applied sciences,” in the long run the present is “a couple of group of women and men attempting to uncover which implies and goodness of their life.”

When applied sciences figures predominantly into “Octet,” a religious, arcane ingredient additionally threads its method by the piece. The Tarot is a necessary thematic and structural element, and Malloy additionally attracts on numerous influences from “Black Mirror” and World of Warcraft to Rumi and Richard Dawkins. 

Viewers associates will discover exhilarating revelations and witty Easter eggs all by way of this exhibit, which has been lauded as imaginative, good and considered one of a sort by New York critics. 

The number of genres Malloy features with is so expansive that the current defies a musical definition, however it’s branded as a “chamber choir musical” for its cast of 8 singers. There is no such thing as a orchestra or onstage band. The solid by itself is the orchestra, delivering expert vocal performances as each soloists and accompanying ensemble associates. “The voices within the ensemble contemplate on anxieties and desires of the character singing the solo,” acknowledged Director Annie Tippe.

With superb complicated prowess, the ensemble’s contrapuntal voices act as accentuation and percussion, and develop the whole lot from standard choral music to the pings of digital notifications. “The performers need to have an very excessive diploma of musicianship and the stamina to be current with every different,” Tippe claimed. The the higher a part of the primary New York solid performs in Berkeley Rep’s presentation.

Tippe, who additionally gained a Lucille Lortel Award for steering “Octet,” hopes that the individuals are not the one ones acquiring connections in the midst of the clearly present. “I get hold of listening to and coping with ‘Octet’ really joyful and ideally soul-opening for folks at this time in want of hyperlink and local people,” she defined. “That’s my hope for individuals who see it, that they’ll chortle and cry and be comfy with strangers.”

“Octet” runs April 20 on account of Might properly 29 at Berkeley Rep Peet’s Theatre at 2025 Addison Avenue. Run time is one specific hour and 40 minutes with no intermission. Patrons must don masks and present proof of vaccination. For ticket data get in contact with the field office at 510-647-2949 Tuesday by the use of Sunday from midday to 7 p.m. or go to

This story was penned and paid out for by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, whose mission is to generate formidable theatre that entertains and issues its audiences, provokes civic engagement, and evokes folks at this time to experience the earth in new and astonishing strategies.

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