by Gina Gionfriddo

Aurora Theatre Company
Berkeley, CA

Scenic: Kate Boyd
Costumes: Ashley Rogers
Lighting: Heather Basarab
Sound: Brendan Aanes

“A former stripper, a scholar and a stay-at-home mother debate the future of feminism in Rapture, Blister, Burn.… In its regional debut at Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre Company, director Desdemona Chiang astutely hits all the punch lines without sacrificing the depth and nuance of the characters… From the trade-offs of midlife to the trajectory of the women’s movement, Rapture turns up the heat on our deeply held assumptions about coming a long way, baby.”

Karen D’Souza, San Jose Mercury News

“Four women explore, debate, dissect and display aspects of feminism in Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn, which is receiving its regional premiere at Aurora Theatre in Berkeley. It’s heady stuff, to be sure, and possibly controversial to some viewers. But it’s wildly funny, too, giving a bright start to the company’s 23rd season… Gionfriddo’s lively text, Desdemona Chiang’s direction and a generally strong cast under turn the ideas into fresh realities, always engrossing and frequently hilarious…Those aspects of history and intellectual debate are important to the play, of course. But on stage they are far overshadowed by the human element, expressed in tension, passion, insecurity, hope and a steady stream of laugh-provoking dialogue and quirks of character. It’s an expertly crafted play, and a wonderful opener for Aurora’s season.”

Leo Stutzin, Huffington Post

Rapture is a well-directed, thoroughly engaging play with a first-rate cast, and some thought-provoking ideas that don’t stand in the way of its entertainment value.”

Emily S. Mendel, Berkeleyside

“Chiang’s excellent staging — on Kate Boyd’s homey set, with Heather Basarab’s warm lighting and effective sound by Brendan Aanes — balances the salty with the sweet. And the cast is sharp.”

Georgia Rowe, The Examiner

“Director Desdemona Chiang creates a natural but propulsive rhythm to the nearly 2 1/2-hour play, and her appealing cast makes of the most of playing smart, funny people while managing to convey real emotional weight… There are serious issues being bandied about here – the rise of degradation as entertainment, the notion of two empowered people navigating equality, breaking through our own personal mythologies – and no easy conclusions. Rapture, Blister, Burn entertains as much as it provokes, and while it doesn’t exactly blister or burn, it comes pretty close to achieving some theatrical rapture.”

Chad Jones, TheatreDogs