How to Write a New Book for the Bible – Berkeley Repertory Theatre [Review]

I’ve always loved good coming-of age-stories, origin stories, and memoirs. Bill Cain’s latest play, How to Write a New Book for the Bible (directed by Kent Nicholson at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre), indeed satisfies my thirst for this kind of psycho-analytical character-driven drama. However, while I walked into this play understanding that it was autobiographical and written following the death of Cain’s mother, Mary, what I didn’t expect was how hard and often I could laugh while watching a play written in such somber circumstances, and how much I could actually enjoy a bit of “preachiness” in a play.

Tyler Pierce and Linda Gehringer. Photo courtesy of

It may be unfair to describe How to Write as preachy. Cain is actually a Jesuit Priest/award-winning-playwright, so it is entirely appropriate that at key moments, Bill, (played charmingly by Tyler Pierce) speaks directly to the audience, combining funny and entirely relatable observations with reverent revelation. Pierce plays Bill Cain as if he were the impossible offspring of Ray Romano and Henry David Thoreau. And although these monologues are certainly informed by Cain’s clerical past (the character half-waxes-half-admits that “all writing is prayer”), they seem to trod the inviting meanderings of a philosopher-poet, eschewing the guilt-laden homilies which former-Catholics fervently avoid.

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The Drums – The Independent 10/14/2011 [Review]

The stage at The Independent last Friday night was marked with the word “Portamento,” spelled out in white light bulbs, separated in half by a large draped flag with “The Drums” emblem on it in the middle. I was standing pinned to the stage with a good friend who attends live music shows less frequently than I do, so I was eager to show her a good time. Having never before seen The Drums perform live myself, I was willing to take full responsibility if the show didn’t live up to her expectations. Luckily, despite our shared frustrations on waiting for over thirty minutes under the hot lamps in a thick and sweaty crowd after io echo’s mood setting opening set, I instead found myself responsible for bringing her to a really excellent live show. The band came out dressed in hipster threads (mostly tight T-shirts and jeans), with synth player Jacob Graham sporting a dapper getup and front man Jonny Pierce in a laid-back, unbuttoned short-sleeve and slacks. The band leapt into some songs off Portamento, their newly released album, and Pierce began to sing and dance in his captivating, awkward sway.

Jonny Pierce of the Drums. Photo by Katie Kopacz.

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