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Archive for Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

GHOSTS at Odyssey Theatre

Pamela J. Gray and Barry Del Sherman in Ghosts. Photo by Cooper Bates.

Pamela J. Gray and Barry Del Sherman in Ghosts. Photo by Cooper Bates.

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Plays we now regard as classics aren’t always well-received when they debut. Like The Birthday Party (reviewed on this site in June), Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts was much disparaged when it appeared in 1881— not for being too cryptic, which was the complaint lodged against Pinter, but for being salacious and grossly offensive. Launched in book form before it was staged (as was often the custom at that time), Ghosts stirred widespread indignation for taking on taboo topics like free love, euthanasia and venereal disease, the latter an especially hush-hush matter among that era’s “genteel” classes. Read more…

Through October 23

GO BACK TO WHERE YOU ARE at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble


Photo by Enci Box

Photo by Enci Box

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

One of the definitions of “meta-theatrical” is a theatre piece that constantly reminds the audience that they’re watching a play — one which comments on theatre in general. One famous example of this technique is Our Town, where the Stage Manager — not the narrator, mind you, but explicitly the Stage Manager — tells the audience immediately that watching a play is what they’re doing. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Playwrights love pouncing on our flaws, sometimes with harsh words or warnings for us or with outrageous exaggerations.Read more…

Now running through September 4

THE HAIRY APE at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

Photo by Enci Box

Photo by Enci Box

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Class warfare has surged and ebbed in the U.S. public consciousness during harder or more prosperous times throughout the past century, but the distorted perversion that it is something waged by the poor upon privileged victims gets exposed as a disingenuous lie by Eugene O’Neill’s 1922 The Hairy Ape – an anguished cry on behalf the exploited and dismissed. Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Throughout his long and productive career, playwright Eugene O’Neill pursued a course of experimentation, producing works both in a realistic style and in an expressionist mode that attempted to go beyond the limits of conventional theatre. The Hairy Ape in 1922 was the second of his attempts to transcend realism, following The Emperor Jones the previous year. Read more…

Now running through July 17

THE HUMAN SPIRIT at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble


Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Theatre has many functions, and sometimes its job is to remind or teach people about history. The trick, of course, is to do it in such a way that the piece still works as theatre, so it isn’t essentially a PowerPoint presentation with actors instead of graphics. Playwright has an interesting and worthy story to tell in her apartheid drama The Human Spirit, but, unfortunately, her well-intentioned play doesn’t work as well as it might. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Carole Eglash-Kosoff’s world premiere embodies the best and worst of storytelling. A fascinating, inspiring, informative slice of history is told with too-often ungainly craft, by the playwright and occasionally by director Donald Squires. Ultimately, though, because the audience cares for the characters, the result is uplifting. Read more…


Now running through June 29.

PASSION PLAY at the Odyssey Theatre


Photo by Michael Gend

Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly

A quartet of Big Idea plays has opened over the past two weeks, exploring the intersections of art, psychology and history. Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play, co-presented by the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Evidence Room, has been around since at least 2005, with productions at Arena Stage in Washington, Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and Yale Rep. No worries that it took so long to get here: A theological fantasia about a medieval passion play performed in a 1575 English village, then in 1934 Germany, and finally in South Dakota of the late 1960s isn’t going to age quickly. Read more…

Don Shirley – LA Stage Times

…. At the other end of the spectrum, Bart DeLorenzo and Evidence Room are introducing Ruhl’s intricate Passion Play to LA at the 99-seat Odyssey, which is co-producing it.

I recently wrote that Ruhl’s In the Next Room, or the vibrator play was her masterpiece of her plays that I had seen, although I noted that I hadn’t yet seen Passion Play.  Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Evidence Room has long been one of Los Angeles’ best and most ambitious theatre companies. The group has never been afraid to take on artistic challenges, from huge shows such as Pentecost or Berlin Circle to more intimate pieces such as Annapurna, not to mention a stylistic tour de force such as Margo Veil. It then makes perfect sense that the company would choose to do a play by Sarah Ruhl, one of the most adventurous modern American playwrights. Her work Passion Play examines how three groups of people in three different time periods (from 1575 to current day) are affected by performing the “passion play” detailing the arrest, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Read more…

Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

With its three acts set in 1575 Lancashire, 1934 Oberammergau in Nazi Germany, and from 1969-1984 in Spearpoint, South Dakota, the epically ambitious Passion Play presents the millennium-long tradition of local amateur stagings of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus as a kaleidoscopic metaphor for the aspirations of the individual and the community of faith in tension with the power of the State. Its amplitude marks an interestingly dogged departure from the more familiar allusive lyricism and incisive comedy of Sarah Ruhl’s other work (The Clean House, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Eurydice). Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Doesn’t it gently smack of hubris when people play Christ and the Virgin Mary, whether onstage in the safety of a theater, or in communally staged Passion plays, or in the re-enactments the fervently religious attempt? Because, as Sarah Ruhl repeatedly shows in her Passion Play, most of us are deeply flawed. Read more…

Now running through March 16.

ANNAPURNA at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

Photo  by Enci

Photo by Enci


ANNAPURNA by Sharr White


Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

In playwright Sharr White’s quirky two-person drama, directed by Bart DeLorenzo, a formerly married couple reunites and tries to make sense of their estrangement. Married in real-life actors Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally face off in this odd-ball drama of lost love and recriminations.
Read more…



Mutually Assured Destruction, Odyssey Theatre

Production photo by Ed Krieger.


Mutually Assured Destruction by Peter Lefcourt.


Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with this play and production. The acting is good. The staging is fluid. The storyline is amusing. The French farce underpinnings give the show some energy. The central conceit is clever and well developed… So why doesn’t this play work and why was I not having a good time? Read more…

The Irish Curse, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble


The Irish Curse by Martin Casella.


Bob Verini – ArtsInLA

As a dramatic event, Martin Casella’s The Irish Curse is a complete and utter contrivance. But within its rickety structure are some pungent, surprising observations on character delivered with a good deal of sincerity, and that’s not nothing.  Read more…