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Archive for Open Fist Theatre Company

ANATOMY OF GRAY at Open Fist Theatre Company

Jeremy Guskin, Beth Robbins and James Fowler. Photo by Frank Ishman.

Jeremy Guskin, Beth Robbins and James Fowler. Photo by Frank Ishman.

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

First produced with the title Gray’s Anatomy at New York’s Circle Rep Theatre in 1994, Jim Leonard’s family-oriented coming-of-age fable strives for the unvarnished poignancy of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town as it recounts the story of a fatherless teen in 1880s rural Indiana. Leonard’s revised version, published as Anatomy of Gray in 2006 and currently directed by Ben Martin at Open Fist Theatre Company, doesn’t hit that mark. It does, however, serve as a platform for well-crafted performances among a seasoned ensemble. Read more…

Through January 15

Dream Weavers – Puck and The Sandman

Azeem Vecchio, Syanne Green, and Malik Bailey in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Frank Ishman

Azeem Vecchio, Syanne Green, and Malik Bailey in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Frank Ishman

Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw, Notes From Arden

At the northern edge of LA County, in Santa Clarita, The Sandman (played by adult actor Jackson Caruso) is the title character in Dane Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, “Ole Lukøje,” (“The Sandman”), presented by Eclipse Theatre and the Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival. Phil Lantis’s play for kids (and performed with kids), adapted from Andersen’s story and directed by Nancy Lantis, tells of this Sandman’s ability to send children to sleep (sprinkling their eyes with fairy dust) and deliver them dreams — or not. If they’ve been well-behaved, they receive pleasant dreams. If they’ve been less than well-behaved, their punishment is to receive no dreams at all. There are worse punishments, as the German Brothers Grimm had imagined, slightly before Andersen (severed limbs, baked in a witch’s oven, etc.), but perhaps that’s the difference between the Danish temperament and the Teutonic one.

Meanwhile, in the center of LA County, in Atwater Village, Puck (Monazia Smith, sly, impish and, at times, pissed off) sprinkles fairy dust into the eyes of any number of White Athenians (as in Athens, Georgia) in Open Fist Theatre Company’s adaptation (by director James Fowler) of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which Fowler sets in the American antebellum South, circa 1855. Without giving away the plantation, Fowler’s strikingly cogent concept is to endow slaves with cosmic powers (which become comic powers) over their mortal Athenian overseers — not unlike the way in which the slaves outwit their masters in their quest for freedom, in the ancient Roman comedies of Plautus and Terence. Read more…

The Sandman – through July 30

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – through Aug 13

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at Open Fist Theatre Company

Monazia Smith. Photo by Frank Ishman

Monazia Smith. Photo by Frank Ishman

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, originating in the 1500s and one of William Shakespeare’s most beloved and produced plays, has been adapted in countless ways over the past few centuries, including as films, musicals, ballets, operas, an animated Disney short, and even a disco-oriented off-Broadway takeoff called The Donkey Show, while having an impact felt in everything from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Dead Poets Society, and Woody Allen (A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy). Following all that, it is given a fresh spin by the Open Fist Theatre Company, changing the setting from Athens, Greece, to Athens, Georgia, in the antebellum South to mixed results. Leaving the original text intact, the comedy takes place on a plantation and focuses on both the wealthy family living there as well as their slaves, who are tasked with putting on a show for the gentry’s amusement. Hilarity ensues with magic, fairies, and shapeshifting. Read more…

Now through August 13

RORSCHACH FEST, INKBLOT C at Atwater Village Theatre

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In a Rorschach test, an individual is presented with a series of abstract images and asked what they see. Their answers are used by the administering psychiatrist or psychologist to gain insight into that person’s state of mind.

Open Fist Theater Company’s current production is titled Rorschach Fest. Presented as three separate programs, it’s a series of short plays by John O’Keefe, Harold Pinter, Daniel MacIvor and Caryl Churchill — four playwrights widely recognized for the distinctive style and/or content of their work.
Read more…

Now running through April 5

 

ALL NIGHT LONG at Atwater Village Theatre

Darrett Sanders

Darrett Sanders

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Not every work of art is designed with the mass audience in mind. Some are experiments or explorations, or maybe just a diverting goof. All these terms might apply to John O’Keefe’s All Night Long, a kaleidoscopic fever dream of a play that revels in erudition and silly humor but doesn’t hew to a traditional dramatic structure or feature a standard resolution.
Read more…

Now running through October 7

UNDER MILK WOOD – Open Fist Theatre Company at the Atwater Village Theatre

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

If one were to attempt to find a work comparable to Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, it would likely be Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. Both plays deal with the mundane and the sacred, and both delve into the complexities of small communities.
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Now running through August 25

DON’T YOU EVER CALL ME ANYTHING BUT MOTHER at Atwater Village Theatre

(Photo by Jen-Ann Kichmeier

(Photo by Jen-Ann Kichmeier

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

The second in a set of two one-person plays, John O’Keefe’s Don’t Ever Call Me Anything But Mother may be that unique monologue that is literally unlike anything you’ve witnessed before — though whether it will beguile or appall you really depends on your mood and ability to deal with creepy darkness. Read more…

Now running through May 30