The production currently playing on the thrust stage at Berkeley Rep -- while American Idiot finishes out its raucous pre-Broadway run in the Roda Theater -- is Tiny Kushner, a collection of one-act plays written by Angels in America scribe and Pulitzer-winner Tony Kushner. The plays were all written in the 90's and 00's and originally produced in this grouping by the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Though they all bear some familiar Kushner-esque markings -- psychotherapy, fictionalized portrayals of real people, fantastical premises involving the afterlife, politicized critiques of the government -- they are relatively unconnected pieces and deserve to be discussed separately. So here goes, in brief:
Flip Flop Fly
The first play opens on the moon, where two obscure but notable women of yesteryear have arrived to share a quiet afterlife. Valeri Mudek plays the goofy and unflappable Lucia Pamela, famous mostly for a single piece of mid-century kitsch, a 1969 album called "Into Outer Space With Lucia Pamela" which she claimed was recorded on the moon. Kate Eifrig plays Geraldine, Queen of Albania, who despite having an American mother is staunchly proud of her Eastern European roots and the many difficulties of her life. Both actresses do a fine job of clashing and playing off one another given their bizarro world circumstances. We won't say the play is a trifle, but it is definitely Kushner at his most whimsical -- a funny experiment that goes very right when Geraldine turns to Lucia, bitterly denouncing all her playful American fictions and says, "But my life was real. It happened. On earth. In real tick-tock time."