The Great Wave

The Great Wave now playing The Great Wave: watch video Jo Mei in The Great Wave; photo by Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre Paul Nakauchi, Yurié Collins, Sharon Omi, and Julian Cihi in The Great Wave; photo by Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

The Great Wave

By Francis Turnly
Directed by Mark Wing-Davey
Main Season · Roda Theatre
September 12–October 27, 2019
American premiere

Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, plus one 15-minute intermission

An epic new thriller

“And so I’ll live in hope. However long. Until I know for sure. Until I know.”

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 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.

An important note regarding health and content advisories:
The Great Wave includes a gunshot sound effect and the use of a real cigarette. Berkeley Rep offers an advisory about any stage effect of potential concern to patrons’ health. We don’t offer unsolicited content advisories as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have concerns about content or themes, we are happy to provide details. Please call our box office at 510 647–2949 or email

Season sponsors

BARTPeet’s CoffeeWells Fargo

Lead sponsor

The Bernard Osher Foundation


Mechanics Bank Wealth Management

The Great Wave calendar

Creative team

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Francis Turnly · Playwright

Francis is a playwright and screenwriter. He was a winner of a Channel 4 playwright bursary in 2015 and as a result was Writer in Residence at the Tricycle Theatre which culminated in him winning the Catherine Johnson Best Play Award in 2016. His play, The Great Wave, was co-produced by the National Theatre and the Tricycle in 2018. He is developing several projects for screen, including a feature film with Element Films/Film4 and has TV commissions with Balloon, Brightstar, and Bryncoed. Francis is Japanese/Northern Irish and is often inspired by stories from both countries.

Mark Wing-Davey · Director

Mark first came to prominence in the United States in 1992 with his celebrated production of Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest at New York Theatre Workshop. Since then he has worked extensively in New York for Labyrinth Theater Company, Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, and The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival. The Great Wave is his sixth show at Berkeley Rep: after Mad Forest made its West Coast premiere here, he also staged The Beaux’ Stratagem, The Life of Galileo, the world premiere of Naomi Iizuka’s 36 Views, and Pericles, Prince of Tyre. He directed an acclaimed Angels in America at American Conservatory Theater, and directed Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play at the Goodman, at Yale Rep, and for Epic Theater Ensemble. His other credits include productions of new writing and classic plays at theatres across the U.S., as well as shows at the Edinburgh Festival, London’s National and Royal Court Theatres, and musicals in the West End and Australia. He is an Arts Professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Chair of its Graduate Acting Program. He will be directing The Vagrant Trilogy by Mona Mansour at The Public Theater in Spring 2020.

Chika Shimizu · Scenic Design

Chika is a New York-based scenic and projection designer. Her design credits include Awake (The Barrow Group), Hunky Boys Go Ding-Dong (Adult Swim Network), Another Dream (world premiere, Tribeca Film Festival), The Winning Side (Epic Theatre Ensemble), The Naturalists (Pond Theatre Company), Vietgone (TheatreSquared), Buyer and Cellar (Bucks County Playhouse), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Yale Rep, Connecticut Critics Circle Award nomination), Romulus The Great (Yangtze Rep), False Stars (Corkscrew Theater Festival), The Seagull (Access Theater), Twelfth Night; Or, What You Will, The Visit (Yale School of Drama). She is a recipient of Donald and Zorca Oenslager Fellowship Award in Design. MFA in Design from Yale School of Drama.

Meg Neville · Costume Design

Meg’s Berkeley Rep productions include Imaginary Comforts; It Can’t Happen Here; Hand to God; One Man, Two Guvnors; Party People; Macbeth; Pericles; The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide…; Ghost Light; Eurydice. Regional credits include The Great Leap and Heisenberg at American Conservatory Theater, The Music Man at Arizona Theater Company, Blithe Spirit and The Cocoanuts at the Guthrie Theater, and Taming of the Shrew, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and The Cocoanuts at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, as well as shows at California Shakespeare Theater, the Magic Theatre, Joe Goode Performance Group, Marin Theatre Company, South Coast Rep, Yale Rep, Hartford Stage, Center Stage Baltimore, Second Stage, Dallas Theater Center, Atlantic Theater Company, BAM, New York Stage and Film. She resides in Marin with her family.

Lap Chi Chu · Lighting Design

Lap has designed Ruined and Emotional Creature at Berkeley Rep. He has also recently designed the world premieres of Lynn Nottage’s Mlima’s Tale and Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves. His other lighting designs can be seen at Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Mark Taper Forum, Geffen Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Shakespeare Theater. Lap’s awards include the Lucille Lortel, 2018 Obie for Sustained Excellence in Lighting Design, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Angstrom Award for Career Achievement in Lighting Design, Ovation Award, and multiple Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards. He is also the head of lighting design at California Institute of the Arts.

Bray Poor · Original Music and Sound Design

Bray’s Berkeley Rep credits include Dear Elizabeth, Red, Eurydice, For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday, Changes of Heart (as an actor). Broadway: True West, The Glass Menagerie, The Real Thing, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), American Plan. His sound and music have been heard in regional theatres all over the country and Europe. In New York, he has worked in numerous off-Broadway theatres, most recently at Second Stage on Bess Wohl’s Make Believe directed by Michael Greif. He’s been nominated several times for Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk Awards and won Obie Awards for Annie Baker’s John as well as for Sustained Excellence in Sound Design.

Tara Knight · Video Design

Tara is delighted to be designing at Berkeley Rep for the first time. Previous projection design credits include Hollywood! (Craig Noel Award nomination for Outstanding Projection Design) and A Dram of Drummhicit at La Jolla Playhouse, Amazons and Their Men and Ballast at San Diego’s LGBTQ Diversionary Theater, and The Floating World at the San Diego Art Museum (Emmy Award). Her award-winning short animations and dance films have screened at festivals in New York, Ottawa, Montreal, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Helsinki, London, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Zagreb, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei, and most recently at the Annecy International Animation Festival in France.

Amy Potozkin, CSA · Casting

Amy begins her 30th season with Berkeley Rep. Through the years she has also had the pleasure of casting plays for ACT (Seattle), Arizona Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre Company, B Street Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Marin Theatre Company, the Marsh, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Social Impact Productions Inc., and Traveling Jewish Theatre. She worked on various independent films, including Conceiving Ada, starring Tilda Swinton; The 8th Year of the Emergency by Maureen Towey; Haiku Tunnel and Love & Taxes, both by Josh Kornbluth; and Beyond Redemption by Britta Sjogren. Amy received her MFA from Brandeis University, where she was also an artist in residence. She has been an audition coach to hundreds of actors and a presentation/communication coach to many businesspeople. Amy taught acting at Mills College and audition technique at Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre, and has led workshops at numerous other venues in the Bay Area. Amy is a member of CSA, the Casting Society of America, and received an Artios Award for Excellence in Casting for Angels in America and Artios nominations for The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures; One Man, Two Guvnors; and An Octoroon.

Jillian Cimini, CSA · Casting

Select credits: Almost Famous, Bat Out of Hell, The Ferryman, Usual Girls, Apologia, American Girl Live, Travesties, Bobbie Clearly, Time and the Conways, 1984, Groundhog Day, Fun Home, Matilda the Musical, Cabaret, Kingdom Come, Brooklynite, What’s It All About?, Peter and the Starcatcher, Here’s Hoover, The Book of Mormon, American Idiot, Spring Awakening, and Jerusalem.

Andrew Femenella, CSA · Casting

Select credits: High Maintenance (HBO/Vimeo); Life Sucks (Wheelhouse Theater Company); Rinse, Repeat (John Gould Rubin/Signature Theatre); The Ferryman (Broadway, infant casting); Olay LIVE! The Road to Glow (New World Stages); David Bowie’s Lazarus (New York Theatre Workshop); Cloud Nine (Atlantic Theater); New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater (2014–16 and 2019 seasons). As casting associate: Russian Doll (Netflix), Stranger Things (Netflix), Red Oaks (Amazon), Glee (FOX), Hamilton (The Public Theater/workshops), Rent (New World Stages), Sister Act (Broadway). Languages: English, ASL (American Sign Language), Spanish. Advocate for #DeafTalent and queer people playing queer people.

Michael Suenkel* · Production Stage Manager

Michael began his association with Berkeley Rep as the stage management intern for the 1984–85 season and is now in his 26th season as production stage manager. He has also worked with the Huntington Theatre (Boston), The Public Theater and New Victory Theatre (New York), La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theatre, and many others. Internationally he has stage managed shows in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Among his favorite Berkeley Rep productions are Angels in America, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, Eurydice, Endgame, The Beaux’ Stratagem, and Mad Forest.

Hsiu-I Chiquita Lu* · Assistant Stage Manager

Hsiu-I Chiquita Lu is delighted to make her debut at Berkeley Rep. Originally from Taiwan—on the other side of the Pacific Ocean—Hsiu-I is a freelance stage manager who works internationally. Her Great Wave happened five years ago when she moved to the U.S. and pursued her career in San Diego. Favorite past productions include Men on Boats at Playwrights Horizons, Hollywood at La Jolla Playhouse, Taiwan Season: 038 in Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Cikawasay with Kuo Shin Chuang Pancah Dance Theatre. She earned her MFA from University of California, San Diego.

Additional credits

Sarah Rose Leonard · Dramaturg
Sango Tajima · Artistic Consultant
Emi Lirman · Assistant Director
Jake Maize · Assistant Lighting Designer
Anthony Jannuzzi · Assistant Projection Designer / Video Programmer
Lindsay Sair · Wigs and Makeup Design


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Julian Cihi* · Tetsuo

Julian is making his Berkeley Rep debut. He was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan before moving to the U.S. to attend Brown University (BA) and later NYU Tisch Grad Acting (MFA). Theatre credits include Doctor Zhivago (Broadway), Romeo and Juliet (Classic Stage Company), A Month in the Country (Williamstown Theatre Festival), and Wild Goose Dreams (La Jolla Playhouse). Julian has also performed in several musicals in Japan, including Rent and a musical adaptation of As You Like It, all in Japanese. He most recently appeared in the second season of Amazon Prime’s original TV series The Tick as a villain named Edgelord.

Julian Cihi

Yurié Collins* · Reiko

Yurié is honored to lend voice to the untold stories of people from her home country. Born and raised in Wakayama Japan, Yurié is currently based in New York City. She has appeared on stage with the Flea Theatre, 600 Highwaymen, Witness Immersive, and on screen for TV shows such as Bull (CBS), Gotham (FOX), and Orange Is the New Black (Netflix). Yurié also organizes with social and climate justice groups, and is passionate about combining acting and activism.

Yurié Collins

Stephen Hu* · Kum-Chol

Stephen is thrilled to be returning to the Bay Area with his Berkeley Rep debut. New York credits include F.O.B. (Sheen Center) and Puzzle the Will (Davenport Theatre). Select regional credits include Hamlet (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), Macbeth (Theatricum Botanicum), Ching Chong Chinaman (Artists at Play), and Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (The Old Globe). His last appearance in the Bay was for Vietgone at American Conservatory Theater, for which he received the Best Featured Actor SF Theatre Critics Circle Award. He was recently seen on TV in The Good Fight. MFA, The Old Globe/USD.

Stephen Hu

Cindy Im* · Jung Sun / Soldier Two

Cindy’s credits include Vietgone, The Orphan of Zhao, Stuck Elevator (American Conservatory Theater); Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, Julius Caesar, Great Expectations, The Winter’s Tale (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Marin Theatre Company); The Orphan of Zhao (La Jolla Playhouse); The World of Extreme Happiness (Manhattan Theatre Club); Twelfth Night (Cal Shakes); The World of Extreme Happiness (Goodman Theatre); Measure for Measure (Seattle Shakespeare Company); and 11 Septembre 2001 (Theatre Dijon Bourgogne/REDCAT). Film/television credits include Manifest (NBC) and Tigertail (Netflix). Cindy is a TCG Fox Acting Fellow, RHE Foundation Fellow, and holds an MFA in Acting from CalArts.

Cindy Im

Paul Juhn* · Official

Paul last appeared at Berkeley Rep in 2007 in after the quake. Theatre credits include Henry VI (National Asian American Theatre Company); the world premiere of Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, Merry Wives of Windsor, The Winter’s Tale, Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, Antony and Cleopatra (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Good Person of Szechwan (The Public Theater); Sides: The Fear Is Real (Ma-Yi Theater); White Chocolate (The Culture Project). Film and TV credits include Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Quantico, Salt, The Americans, 30 Rock, Person of Interest, Works of ART. He is a founding member of both Mr. Miyagi’s Theatre Company and Suffolk Street Films. Paul received his MFA from UCSD.

Paul Juhn

Jo Mei* · Hanako

This is Jo’s Berkeley Rep debut. Theatre credits include We Are Among Us (City Theatre, Pittsburgh), Babette’s Feast (off Broadway/Portland Stage), Fingersmith (American Repertory Theater), World of Extreme Happiness (Manhattan Theatre Club), King of Hell’s Palace (Goodman Theatre), You for Me for You (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company). TV credits include Crashing (HBO), Nicki (Freeform), Bones (FOX), and The Good Wife (CBS). Jo stars in and co-wrote the award-winning film A Picture of You; other film credits include Who We Are Now, Adult World, and The Grief of Others. Jo is a graduate of The Juilliard School’s Drama Division. @jotomato

Jo Mei

Paul Nakauchi* · Jiro

Paul is excited to be making his Berkeley Rep debut. Broadway: The King & I at Lincoln Center. Off Broadway: Long Day’s Journey into Night at Mint Theater, Chu Chem at Ritz Theatre. London: The King & I at the Palladium. National tour: Miss Saigon. Regional credits: Sunday in the Park with George at the Guthrie Theater, Allegiance at The Old Globe, Mikado, Inc at Paper Mill Playhouse. He has appeared in the films The Great Raid, Dark Metropolis, and Death Note. TV credits include ER, The Young and the Restless, and Deadbeat. He has voiced numerous characters for games, animated features, and TV, including Carmen Sandiego, which has been nominated for this year’s Emmy for best children’s programming.

Paul Nakauchi

Grace Chan Ng · Hana

Grace is thrilled to return to the Bay Area for her stage debut at Berkeley Rep, where she previously partook in The Ground Floor summer workshop of F*ck Miss Saigon. Recent regional credits include Dry Land and The Black Rider (Shotgun Players), You for Me for You (Crowded Fire), Hair (Bay Area Musicals), Fiddler on the Roof (Berkeley Playhouse), Life Is a Dream (Cutting Ball Theater), and the world premiere of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Bay Area Children’s Theatre), winner of three Theatre Bay Area Awards. Grace is a graduate of San Francisco State University.

Grace Chan Ng

Sharon Omi* · Etsuko

Sharon is thrilled to be back at Berkeley Rep. Before leaving for LA many years ago, she performed here in The Good Person of Szechuan, Top Girls at The Eureka Theater Co., Uncle Vanya at American Conservatory Theater, Tea at The Asian American Theater Co., among many others. She has worked at South Coast Repertory, Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre, East West Players, Playwright’s Arena, and Odyssey Theatre. Recent TV work includes The Resident, Forever, The First, How to Get Away with Murder, and Criminal Minds. She starred in the indie film Eat with Me for which she won a best actress award from the Out On Film Festival in Atlanta. Los Angeles theatre favorites include And the Soul Shall Dance, Blood Wedding, Innocent When You Dream, and Tales of Clamor.

Sharon Omi

David Shih* · Takeshi / Soldier One

This is Dave’s Berkeley Rep debut. His theatre credits include the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO) productions of Henry VI: Shakespeare’s Trilogy in Two Parts, Awake and Sing!, and [veil widow conspiracy]; KPOP (Ars Nova); Somebody’s Daughter (Second Stage Theater); Tiger Style! (La Jolla Playhouse); Bike America (Ma-Yi Theater Company); Crane Story (The Playwrights Realm). He has appeared on television in Billions, The Path, City on a Hill, Blindspot, Elementary, Madam Secretary, The Blacklist, and in the films Mr. Sushi, Eighth Grade, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Saving Face. Dave works with Only Make Believe performing for children in hospitals and care facilities.

David Shih

* Indicates a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Reviews for The Great Wave

Timely. Gripping. A fascinating story.”

Guardian (UK)

So enjoyed this show! Thought-provoking and heart-provoking. Great production!”

Shane S.

This was powerful and thought-provoking. Amazing staging. Still thinking about it.”

Beth F.

Will bowl you over. A deeply emotional story.”

The Times (London)

Fabulous story. So touching. Definitely a must see.”

Jill F.

The story, the acting, the scenery-changes…were all amazing! A gripping saga that really hits home. BRAVO!!”

Barbara S.

The Great Wave in the news

A sweeping storm and a sweeping epic inspires Turnly’s The Great Wave at Berkeley Rep

  • Francis Turnly speaks with Bay Area Plays.

APEX Express

  • Actor Yurié Collins talks about The Great Wave.

American premiere of The Great Wave at Berkeley Rep

  • Los Angeles Japanese Daily News article about Francis Turnly’s play.

KPFA Radio: Bay Area Theater

  • Actors Yurié Collins and Sharon Omi discuss The Great Wave.

Watch now

Official trailer: The Great Wave

Take a look at the American premiere of Francis Turnly’s play, The Great Wave, directed by Mark Wing-Davey.

Behind the scenes: Francis Turnly and Mark Wing-Davey

Playwright Francis Turnly and director Mark Wing-Davey introduce us to the American premiere of The Great Wave.

Listen up

REPISODES: The Berkeley Rep Podcast presents a series of conversations with artists and experts around the shows in Johanna Pfaelzer’s inaugural season. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud to keep up with the whole series.

See photos

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Photos courtesy of Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Photos may not be used for commercial or personal use without written permission from Berkeley Rep, and unauthorized alteration, reproduction, or sale of these images is strictly prohibited. Journalists and other members of the media, please visit our online press room.

Docent talks and discussions

Pre-show docent talks

Meet us in the Theatre 55 minutes before the show on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings and Sunday matinees for an engrossing presentation about your subscription-season play. Hear about the playwright’s perspective, dive into the historical context, and discover why the script is relevant right now. Each 25-minute talk includes plenty of time for your questions.

Post-show docent-led discussions

Join your fellow audience members after all matinees and share your thoughts on the show.

Interested in becoming a docent? Click here for details. For more information about Berkeley Rep’s docent program, please email¬†

Teen Night

Teen Night gives local teens the opportunity to meet for dinner and a behind-the-scenes discussion with a member of the artistic team before attending each subscription-season production at an extremely discounted price.

  • Friday, September 13, 2019

Teen Night begins at 6:30pm at the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre. Learn more and reserve your space.

Actor Q & A’s

Stick around after the show on select Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights for lively Q & A sessions with our artists.

  • Tuesday, October 8, 2019
  • Thursday, October 10, 2019
  • Friday, October 25, 2019



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