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Pulitzer Prize-winner ‘Topdog/Underdog’ revived in Berkeley

Ubuntu heats up Parks’ “Topdog” in Berkeley
Just as Suzan-Lori Parks’ epic new play “Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)” closes at American Conservatory Theater, Oakland’s Ubuntu Theater project offers a look at the play that made Parks the first African-American woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2002.
“Topdog/Underdog” is a marvelously compelling drama about two brothers, ominously named Lincoln and Booth, who had to raise themselves after their parents abandoned them and are now both down on their luck. A former Three-card Monte hustler, Lincoln now plays his presidential namesake in a boardwalk attraction where customers pay to assassinate him with toy guns, an idea that was also at the center of Parks’ 1994 piece “The America Play.” Booth is trying to learn his older brother’s old hustle, but with frustratingly limited success.
Directed by Kimberly Ridgeway and starring Dorian Lockett and Michael Curry, “Topdog/Underdog” is a late-breaking replacement in Ubuntu’s season for a previously scheduled new adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s “The Lower Depths” by associate artistic director Lisa Ramirez, who’s a little busy right now playing The Angel (and other roles) in Berkeley Rep’s “Angels in America.”
Details:  Through June 17; Waterfront Playhouse and Conservancy; $15-$45;

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