Berkeley Rep's 'It Can't Happen Here' Imagines a Demagogue as President

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David Kelly as Buzz Windrip in the world premiere of "It Can’t Happen Here" at Berkeley Rep . (Photo: Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)

More than 80 years ago, as fascism was spreading through Europe, writer Sinclair Lewis wrote a satirical novel imagining an American version of fascism. Berkeley Rep's adaptation of the novel, "It Can't Happen Here," follows as a populist demagogue is elected president and subsequently tramples civil liberties, creates paramilitaries and institutes work camps. Forum talks with Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone and director Lisa Peterson about the play, Lewis' novel and its parallels to today's election.

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Tony Taccone , artistic director, Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Lisa Peterson, director, "It Can't Happen Here," Berkeley Repertory Theatre