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Archive for January 2014 – Page 2

JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

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Photo by Neil Thomas Douglas

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Stagecraft and education combine here, as two performers from Scotland’s Visible Fictions theater company reenact the myth of the orphaned ancient Greek prince and the brave sailors who went with him to the ends of the Earth, looking to bring their nation peace, justice, freedom, and, Jason hopes, fun. The myth, needless to say, is shortened, simplified, and sanitized here, as written by Robert Forrest, directed by Douglas Irvine. Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

An exciting and fun show for children (perhaps best for ages 6-10) is now playing at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, in their intimate 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater. Jason and the Argonauts, based on the classic Greek myth, is performed by two actors (amusingly aided by a fistful of GI Joe-type action figures) from the Visible Fictions children’s theater of Scotland. Read more…

Now running through February 9.

THE TWILIGHT OF SCHLOMO at the Elephant Space

David C. Nichols – LA Times

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“I’m smarter than most people. That’s why I’m unemployed and living in a one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood.”
So says the protagonist of “The Twilight of Schlomo” at the Elephant Space, and there’s more than just sardonic humor in that assessment. Timothy McNeil’s maturation into one of our most original playwrights continues with this compelling study of a former stand-up comic at the crossroads, possibly his best work yet.
Read more…

Neal Weaver  – ArtsInLA

The antihero of Timothy McNeil’s play, the third work in his Hollywood Trilogy, is Richard (Jonathan Goldstein), a former standup comedian who abandoned his profession seven years ago—or perhaps it abandoned him. Now he lives in a drab one-bedroom apartment in east Hollywood and works as a wine salesman. Read more…

Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

The Yiddish term schlemiel is defined as “an awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right.” In The Twilight of Schlomo, by accomplished Angeleno playwright Timothy McNeil, the plight of an unseen but mentioned character named Schlomo underlines the play’s key themes. The fine line between a typical schlemiel and the ill-fated Schlomo illuminates the ways that despair and humor can be only a heartbeat apart. McNeil’s seriocomedy about contemporary ennui in the urban jungle offers a portrait of the midlife crisis of an endearing lost soul named Richard, struggling to maintain a meaningful existence in a funky East Hollywood neighborhood. Read more…

Now running through February 9.

I’LL GO ON at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly

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Photo by Craig Schwartz

“That’s the story!” repeated with droll unctuousness becomes a motif in actor Barry McGovern’s solo performance of stories by Samuel Beckett, presented by the Gate Theatre of Dublin at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The texts — “Molloy,” “Malone Dies” and “The Unnamable” — were selected by McGovern and Gerry Dukes, and the show was directed by Colm O’Briain.
Read more…

Bob Verini -   ArtsInLA

An interesting irony about Samuel Beckett is that while he wrote brilliantly about everybody’s anguish, that writing is hardly to everybody’s taste. This is especially true of his seminal trio of novels from the 1950s, variously dealing with man’s relationship to death and the infinite. Malloy; Malone Dies; and The Unnamable are long, dense, and largely unparagraphed, tough for even the most fanatical of English majors to work their way through.  Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Prominent Irish actor Barry McGovern, who is considered one of the leading interpreters of the work of Samuel Beckett, performs texts selected from three of Beckett’s novels, Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable. While Beckett is best known for his stage works, the novels reflect the bleakness of Beckett’s world view and his obsession with language. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

After dazzling audiences as Vladimir in Waiting For Godot in 2012 at The Mark Taper Forum, Barry McGovern has returned to Center Theatre Group with I’ll Go On, a two-act monologue pulling excerpts from Beckett’s three novels, Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable, now playing the Kirk Douglas. McGovern is triumphant as three displaced title characters who luridly mull about death and sex. Read more…

Now running through February 9.

FOXFINDER at the Pasadena Playhouse

Dany Margolies – Arts In LA

Photo by Owen Carey

Photo by Owen Carey

Dawn King’s play is set in Britain, in the near future. As with all good literature, it’s meant to represent the here and now. So when an inspector arrives at a struggling farm, interrogating the farmers too inappropriately and searching the home too thoroughly, a certain Notorious Safety Administration may come to American minds. Never fear, though: The word government appears only once in King’s script.
Read more…

Myron Meisel – Hollywood Reporter

Set on a distant, hardscrabble farm in a future designated by playwright Dawn King as “Soon,” Foxfinder posits a paranoid government supervising the food supply by intrusively scrutinizing family plots for contamination by feared foxes, wily conspirators responsible for all social ills and who provide a pretext for authoritarian witch-hunts.  Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly

The story in Dawn King’s Foxfinder — being presented by Furious Theater Company at the Pasadena Playhouse’s Carrie Hamilton Theatre — attempts to offer a window onto the soul of our body politic. It’s a futuristic fable set in the countryside, somewhere in the north of England, that’s a bit like a blend of Tartuffe and The Crucible.
Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

Somewhere on a farm, in rainy rural England, a farming couple nervously awaits a government inspector. When the tall young man shows up at their door, drenched and firing questions at them before he even enters the premises, the tension of Dawn King’s disturbing play begins to build. Directed by Damaso Rodriguez, British playwright Dawn King’s play imagines a world in the not-too-distant future where a totalitarian regime grills and monitors its citizens in a bizarre fashion, subjecting them to intrusive interrogation and unrealistic accountability. Read more

Sharon Perlmutter  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Foxfinder is one of those plays in which the rules of the universe in which it takes place slowly unfold. The action takes place at an English farmhouse; the program helpfully tells us the time is “Soon.” It is, actually, a useful piece of information, as you would think from our farmers’ appearance (and use of a pocket watch) that we might be in the past, rather than the future. Read more…
Now running through February 2.

SUNNY AFTERNOON at the Asylum Theatre

Deborah Klugman – ArtsBeatLA

Most Americans of a certain age still bear the imprint of that day in Dallas when President Kennedy died.

Sunny Afternoon 2

Like myself and others, writer/director Christian Levantino has had trouble wrapping his head around the official version – the notion that Lee Harvey Oswald was Jack Kennedy’s sole assassin. A nagging skepticism provoked Levantino to write Sunny Afternoon, which speculates on what might have gone down in the Dallas Police Headquarters interrogation room between the time Oswald was apprehended and his murder before TV cameras and in front of millions of Americans two days later.
Read more…

Now running through February 1.

RX at the Lost Studio

rxMelinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

We take pills to sleep, pills to stay awake, pills to diet, pills to prevent pregnancy. Why not a pill to help you like your job? Such is playwright Kate Fodor’s premise in the witty and very contemporary cautionary tale about our societal desire for chemicals to make life easier. The Fodor-concocted Schmidt Pharma is conducting a controlled drug study that could make millions of dollars if successful.
Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Kate Fodor’s clever if uneven comedy “Rx,” in its West Coast premiere at the Lost Studio under the direction of John Pleshette, has a great premise. The Schmidt pharmaceutical company is conducting clinical trials for a new drug, code named SP-925, which specifically targets workplace depression — “a startling drop in norepinephrine levels during the working day,” as neurology team leader Allison Hardy (the wonderful, terrifyingly peppy Kirsten Kollender) explains at a shareholders meeting.  Read more…

Now running through March 1.

GOD’S GYPSY at the Lillian Theatre

Les Spindle – Frontiers L.A.
Coco Blignaut as Sister Teresa and Tsulan Cooper as sister Teresa and sister Angelica in the play God's Gypsy, Hollywood, Calif. photo by Silvia Spross

Religious fervor, scandal in the Catholic Church and the horrifying rule of the Inquisition in 16th century Spain form the backdrop for actor-playwright Coco Blignaut’s three-hour biographical opus, God’s Gypsy, in its world-premiere run. Based on the novel Sister Teresa by Barbara Mujica and directed by Joel Daavid, the ambitious production clearly reflects the dedicated efforts of several creative artists. Unfortunately, the project doesn’t fully succeed in its premiere rendition.
Read more…

Now running through January 12th.