Lawrence Wright's Fallaci, Directed by The Public's Oskar Eustis, Premieres March 8 at Berkeley Rep

By Michael Gioia
March 8, 2013

Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright's new play Fallaci, about the last days of legendary journalist Oriana Fallaci,  makes its premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Performances begin March 8, prior to an official opening March 13, in the Roda Theatre.



Directed by The Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis, the limited engagement continues through April 21.

Concetta Tomei (Cyrano de Bergerac, The Elephant Man, Goodbye Fidel, Noises Off) stars in the title role with Marjan Neshat (The Seagull with Dianne Wiest) as Miryam.

With Fallaci, according to producers, "Wright turns the spotlight on a fellow reporter and her fascinating contradictions. Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci was larger than life. Her childhood courage resisting the Nazis fueled her work as a war correspondent with an antiauthoritarian zeal that perfectly matched the ’60s and '70s. She gained fame by grilling Kissinger, Castro, Khomeini, Qadaffi, and other public figures who squirmed under her ferocious questioning. In this world premiere, a young woman interviews the fiery author at the end of her life, when she became a darling of the right. What begins as a discussion of journalism ends with two women exchanging life-changing lessons about destiny and empathy."

"Oriana Fallaci was a hero of mine," added playwright Wright in a previous statement. "She was dazzling and fearless and she made journalism seem like the most exciting job on earth – no doubt, one of the reasons I went into that profession. But after 9/11, she turned her formidable intellect on Islam, a subject that I was also exploring at the time, with my book The Looming Tower. The argument that you see between Oriana and Miryam onstage mirrors the quarrel I have in my mind with my former idol, who still has the power to explode comfortable dogmas."

Wright is an award-winning journalist, author, screenwriter and playwright who has written four previous plays. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1992, where he won two National Magazine Awards for reporting. He is the author of eight books, including "The Looming Tower," which won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, and "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief." His other plays include Cracker Jack, Sonny's Last Shot, My Trip to al-Qaeda and The Human Scale.

Other members of the creative team include Robin Wagner (scenic design), Jess Goldstein (costume design), Michael Chybowski (lighting design), Acme Sound Partners (sound designer) and Angela Nostrand (production stage manager).

Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Roda Theatre is located at 2015 Addison Street at Shattuck in Berkeley, CA. For more information and tickets, call (510) 647-2949 or visit BerkeleyRep.org.