American Premiere of ‘The Great Wave’ at Berkeley Rep


From left: Paul Nakauchi (Jiro), Yurié Collins (Reiko), Sharon Omi (Etsuko), and Julian Cihi (Tetsuo) in the American premiere of “The Great Wave” at Berkeley Rep, directed by Mark Wing-Davey.


BERKELEY — “The Great Wave,” written by Francis Turnly and directed by Mark Wing-Davey, is having its American premiere at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre through Oct. 22.

In a Japanese coastal town in 1979, teenage sisters Hanako and Reiko run onto the beach during a tremendous storm on a dare. Hanako is tragically swept out to sea, while Reiko survives – but recalls seeing three mysterious men on the shoreline. The authorities determine that Hanako has drowned, but her mother insists that her missing daughter is still alive.

Spanning over 20 years and the two vastly different countries of Japan and North Korea, “The Great Wave” by is at once a riveting geopolitical thriller and a powerful story of the unshakable bonds between a mother, a daughter, and a sister who refuse to give up hope.

“Berkeley Rep has long been championing playwrights like Francis Turnly who offer us access to stories and worlds that aren’t often explored onstage,” says Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer. “‘The Great Wave’ illuminates a gripping story of international intrigue told through an intensely personal lens. Seeing it is like experiencing a propulsive page-turner, which I find rare in the theatre.”

Showtimes: Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (except Oct. 22); Wednesdays at 7 p.m.; Thursdays at 8 p.m. (also 2 p.m. on Sept. 26 and Oct. 24); Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. (no matinee on Sept. 28); Sundays at 2 and 7 p.m.