JULIUS CAESAR French director Arthur Nauzyciel first created his English-language production of Julius Caesar for Boston’s American Repertory Theater for the 2008 election year. Shakespeare’s intensely political drama always has resonance at times of a change in power. But, needless to say, we’re far more in the realm of abuse of power and rival factions around the seat of power in 2019 than we were in 2008 (plus it was the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23!). You can immerse yourself in Shakespeare this weekend with the Théâtre National de Bretagne at Cal Performances. The design evokes the era of JFK, there’s a live jazz trio, and Nauzyciel refocuses the action so that the tyranny unfolds as the dream of a minor character, Brutus’ slave Lucius. Here’s what the Boston Globe had to say about the original production: “Visually stunning, musically moody, and unceasingly stylish.” Julius Caesar is played in the production by actor Dylan Kussman, a well-known Bay Area theater fixture, having performed at Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and at the Magic Theatre (Kussman graduated from UC Berkeley in the 1990s). Pro tip: If you want to explore the still relevant connection between Shakespeare and politics, check out the Slate podcast “Lend Me Your Ears.” Saturday, April 27, 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 28, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Hall.
CONVERSATION ON RACE Congresswoman Barbara Lee is hosting a town hall on race with fellow Bay Area Representative Mark DeSaulnier on Saturday at the Black Repertory Theater. “We’ll tackle race in America, from gentrification, to mass incarceration, to immigration,” Lee said. Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson will moderate. Panelists joining Lee and DeSaulnier include john a. powell, director of the UC Berkeley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, Chinyere Oparah, professor of ethnic studies at Mills College, and Vaness Moses, executive director of Causa Justa. Saturday, April 27, 12-1:30 p.m., Black Repertory Theater, 3201 Adeline St.
MOTHER’S MILK Set against the background of the civil rights movement, a losing battle with breast cancer, and a slightly inebriated preacher, Mother’s Milk tells the story of a young black man finding his way back home. Wayne Harris’ music-infused work returns to The Marsh where it first played in 2015 on Friday and will run through the end of May. “Original songs, traditional blues, and gospel classics come together to underscore an intricate and uplifting narrative on life, death, and the Baptist Church (not to mention the best recipe ever for banana pudding).” Performances are Fridays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., The Marsh, 2120 Allston Way.
MOMENTUM EXPO The second annual Momentum Expo will be held at the Center for Independent Living on Saturday. The expo is a transportation and mobility event for people with disabilities, their families and allies together to explore the future of assistive technologies and take advantage of the Bay Area’s disability community resources. In addition to expert speakers, Momentum will have a wide range of assistive technologies (AT) for visitors to try out, including indoor and outdoor personal electric vehicles and low-vision aids. Guide Dogs for the Blind will provide an in-depth presentation about its application process and its programs. Attendance is free. Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline St.
MAMADOU SIDIBE At The Back Room on Sunday, Malian composer and musician Mamadou Sidibe will perform with Back Room owner/creator Sam Rudin. Sidibe plays the hunter’s harp (kamale ngoni), a lute-harp-like instrument that exudes a deep, soulful sound. He’s played a major role in transforming the popular Wassoulou music of Mali. Although Rudin is best known as a pianist, on Sunday he’ll be primarily providing percussion. Sunday, April 28, 3 p.m., The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave.
Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:
Hooray for Oscar Wilde’s riotously clever ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ at the Aurora Theatre
Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Hail, Satan?’, ‘Tharlo’
Bay Area Dance Week? No, Berkeley/Albany Dance Week!