Saturday, July 27, 2013

Revelation by Samuel Brett Williams

L - R Ben Belack, Zibby Allen, Marco Naggar

By Joe Straw

And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” – Revelation Chapter 9 vs. 6 The Holy Bible – The Authorized King James Version

“Growing up, as a young boy in a deeply religious south, comic strip booklets, that littered lawns and roadways, were always a curiosity.  All of these comics started so nice, nice people with nice haircuts, and good folks doing good deeds.  That is until a character, with ruffled hair, does something rotten. And, as I turned the pages, the frames got darker; the expression of angst on this character’s horrific twisted face sent him on a downward spiral, to that dark place. Turning the page his body is now misshapen, his hands plug his ears, drowning out the evil sounds exploding in his head, all because he didn’t do one thing. It was enough to send shivers down a young boys spine.” – Narrator

Elephant Theatre Company presents the World Premiere of Revelation by Samuel Brett Williams, directed by Lindsay Allbaugh, and produced by David Fofi now playing at the beautiful Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. 

Revelation is a visually stunning, emotionally satisfying, and tenebrous comedy about relationships, before, during and after the rapture.  And isn’t that something you always wanted to see?

Or is it just two bodies, in various stages of undress, when we first enter the theatre?

A careful glance and one notices slight movements in bed as audience members marched to their seats, inconspicuously, so as not to disturb them.  Not peaking, but from my vantage point, I can only see a sensuous foot moving slightly, toes twisting from time to time.

At the same time I was trying to ingurgitate the wonderfully monstrous set by Jeffrey Eisemann, a multi-dimensional layered “L” shaped set that darkens the entire stage.

The play begins on a very quiet somber morning, which is suddenly interrupted by Brandon (Marco Naggar) who enters Rebecca’s (Zibby Allen) apartment screaming the rapture is coming.

“Jesus has comeback!  This is the rapture!  We’ve got to get to Arkansas!” – Brandon

The “we’ve” is, Rebecca, a lustful medical student, and Brandon, until he discovers that she is in bed with another man, Dan (Ben Belack) a wealthy pleasure seeker. Still Brandon grabs the suitcase, throws it on the bed, and suggests she start packing.

Rebecca and Dan don’t believe it until Brandon asks Dan to look out the window.  Below, on the streets of New York, are scenes of a horrific bloody carnage.  They immediately flip on the TV to get a first hand account, the man on the street point of view. And, simplistically enough, things are worse on screen, with all those strangling noises and burning flesh sounds.

The three decide to leave when clothes drop from the ceiling.  Which are the fortunate people whisked away, sans clothes, completely naked, compliments of the rapture.

Dan has had enough.  He wants to go home and be protected by his rich surroundings. He tells Rebecca they were “not dating” just sleeping together. And, leaving his sex partner, he runs out of the apartment building and burst into flames.

And if that wasn’t bad enough Holly (Carolina Espiro), a woman disguised as a police officer shoots him in the head - to put him out of his misery. And with gun in hand she robs Rebecca and Dan, tells them to get out of the apartment, and decides to live there.

With no one to turn to Rebecca becomes obsequious to Brandon’s plan to follow him to the promise land, New Jerusalem, Arkansas. So, among the screaming and chaos Brandon and Rebecca run to the dock off the red soaked Hudson river where they meet a lascivious man, Melvin (John Charles Meyer) who will take them across the river for $2,000 - offered by a not so savvy Brandon - and sexual favors.

L - R Marco Naggar, Zibby Allen, John Charles Meyer

With transaction complete they slowly cross the Hudson.

After crossing Brandon pulls out his - end of the world kit - and they stop to eat.  It is here we learn why their relationship was not successful.

“The sex was horrible.” – Rebecca

“It was my first time.” – Brandon

So this is why they didn’t get taken in the rapture. And while they sleep they are approached by two travelers Dr. Wilcox (Patrick Pankhurst), a professor and his student Annie (Chloe Peterson). Dr. Wilcox and Annie chose to swim the blood soaked Hudson River and have arrived on the other side with extreme boils on their faces.

Rebecca carefully, and completely, wraps Annie’s face with gauze bandage, possibly to help, but mostly to cover those unsightly boils.

Chloe Peterson, Patrick Pankhurst 

Rebecca and Brandon part their company only to be captured by Sally (Etienne Eckert), an evil woman in a wheelchair, and David (Lawrence Dillard), a wonderfully confused gun-toting torturer.  

And as they make their escape Brandon and Rebecca drive to their safe haven to meet his dad, Jacob (Tony Gatto) to live out their lives in the beautiful world of New Jerusalem, Arkansas.
Marco Naggar as Brandon enters the bedroom as though he were going to save her from the rapture, or at the very least warn her.  But wasn’t really surprised she was in bed with another man.  Good deed undone.  He is a decent man with one transgression and that got him where he is today.  Or so he thinks. Still he gathers her and off to Arkansas for the journey to paradise, New Jerusalem.  Naggar does some really good work here and has exceptional moments.

Zibby Allen as Rebecca is a lot smarter than her sexual endeavors. An atheist caught in bed with someone who cares nothing for her.  She does it for what? His monetary wealth?  She has the right to shout execrations to her former lover because sleeping with him means dating! Doesn’t it? Shame, and that seems to be one thing that has got her into this trouble and not taken by the rapture.  But, she is studying to be in the medical profession and maybe she is needed, if only to take care of the boils. Allen is remarkable and is a statuesque comic foil.

Ben Belack plays Dan and there is a reason he is not taken by the rapture.  He’s rich and openly engages in the conquest of flesh.  He does not want it to be known that he is dating the woman he’s slept with. They are just sex partners without benefits. The self-absorbed character cares only for immediate gratification and little that is beyond the length of his genitalia. And with that denial, well, the moment he walks out of that self protected apartment was the beginning of the end for Dan and that’s what got him into this sorry predicament. Belack does some fine work but would like to see a much broader defined self-absorbed character.

Carolina Espiro plays Holly, a gun toten faux security officer, who shoots everyone to put him or her out of their misery because: the spontaneous combustion of people just irks her. She figures she is doing them a favor.   She also plays Michael a nasty angel who comes to the rescue.  Espiro does some great work with both characters and has some very fine moments.  

John Charles Meyer is Melvin, a guy with the boat that gets folks out of the city.  But he is really revolting about what he wants and how he wants it.  Oddly enough he seems okay with the chaos going on around him, not smart enough to realize he is in a living hell. Meyer is incredibly funny and the boat ride (for some unknown reason) had the audience laughing to death, myself included.  

Patrick Pankhurst is Dr. Wilcox, a professor from the local university, is traveling with a companion who, they claim have just met.  But they know too much about each other especially after Wilcox’s wife died.  He was with her when maybe he should have been home with his wife.  I actually think more needs to made of this. Dr. Wilcox has a plausible explanation of the chaos around him and wishes for the boils to go away so that he can get on with the romantic interests with whoever is available. Pankhurst is very delightful in the role and hits the professor role with incredible precision.   

Chloe Peterson as Annie has found a new love, the professor. Unfortunately it happens when the seventh seal is broken.  Not a good time.  Still, she loves him, if she could only get rid of the boils. Annie seeks solace in someone who could actually help her, someone greater than the love of her miserable life. Peterson is marvelous in her craft.

Etienne Eckert plays Sally a nasty woman in a wheelchair trying to find the truth.  Only her truth requires that others suffer painfully.  And why shouldn’t they?   After all she’s stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.  Is that any reason to take it out on others? Eckert is marvelous in the roll (role).

Zibby Allen and Lawrence Dillard 

Lawrence Dillard gives a grand performance as David.  It is so unusual and so specific that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. David has a strange way of getting the truth out of anyone, which makes Dillard performance so remarkable.

Tony Gatto plays Jacob and he is not what we expected when we get to New Jerusalem, Arkansas. Without giving too much away, Gatto is marvelous.  He brings a sincere truth to this performance and is wonderful in the role. 

Other members of the cast that did not perform on this night are: Micah Cohen (Dan), Larvell Hood (Melvin), and Julie Mann (Rebecca).

Lindsay Allbaugh, the director, does a terrific job creating moments that lift you off your seats.  The night is a visually stimulating night that sends you out into the world questioning. Allbaugh is one of the finest directors working in Hollywood today.  She is a director that understands the through line, character development, and defining moments.  Overall, it was an inspirational and very funny night.

Samuel Brett Williams, the writer, has written a marvelous show.  There is a lot to think about when leaving the theatre.  Not everything worked this particular night but what does work, works magnificently.

Still, I want to throw my two cents worth, not as any form of criticism but just two cents. Jacob should be built up as a God in New Jerusalem so their journey means more and gives them a reason to get there quickly.  And when they get there, well, the situation is completely different (See “Wizard of Oz” for: deflated expectations). Dr. Wilcox and Annie should have an aggressive physical relationship, despite the boils. Jacob and Brandon’s relationship should add another physical element, despite the gun. The parishioners have disappeared in an unsightly way, and not too funny.  Is there another way to make this funny?  

David Fofi, the Producer, brings to Hollywood another work of cutting edge theatre.  The play was grand, the night spectacular, and the show greatly satisfying.

Tony Gatto was also the Assistant Director.  Cheryl Huggins, and Tara Norris served as the Associate Producers.  The effective lighting was by Matt Richter.  Peter Bayne provided the incredible Sound.  Costumes by Michael Mullen are wonderfully creative and did the trick.   The wonderful Projections by Corwin Evans were in short very stimulating especially the newscast and driving sequences!

Stage Manager was Rebecca Shoenberg and the Press Representative was Ken Werther Publicity.  Wonderful photos by Joel Daavid. 

Other members of the fine crew are as follows:

Producing Director – Greg Borrud
General Manager – Tony Foster
FX Scenery/Properties – Adam Hunter
Assistant Producer/Prop Master – Danielle Ozymandias
Prop Assistants – Caryl West, Mim Drew
Graphic Design – Sam McCay
Program Content Design – Brad Steinbauer

I’d also like to mention the movement of the stage pieces was incredibly effective and done with an astonishing flair.

Run!  Run!  Run! And take someone who carries a rapture kit with them at all times.

Through August 25, 2013

Reservations:  855-663-6743

Monday, July 22, 2013

Leading Ladies by Ken Ludwig

L- R Michael German (Standing), Darcy Silveira (seated), David Narloch (seated)

By Joe Straw

Okay, this time I brought chairs, and it was a little easier to enjoy the park when you are sitting on chairs. Away from the bugs and other crawling creatures, one can relax under a shady tree and enjoy the show.

Culver City Public Theatre, celebrating its 15th Anniversary, presents Leading Ladies by Ken Ludwig and directed by Lewis Hauser.  Produced by Heidi Dotson and Ria Parody Erlich, this production has plenty of laughs and makes for an enjoyable afternoon.  And it’s free.

“Florence Snider (Ria Parody Erlich) has died.  Gently taken this spring of 1958, she died peacefully in her sleep surrounded by doctor, friends and family. Florence, not a minimalist being by any stretch of the imagination, was the owner of the biggest house in York Pennsylvania.  We are saddened by the tragic lost of the filthiest richest woman on the hill and regretfully we send our condolences.  She is survived by a niece Meg Snider and…” York Daily Record *

Meg Snider (Rosie Mandel), wealthy niece to Florence and promising thespian, loves the theatre.  It is early evening and she is waiting for her beau, the Reverend Duncan Wooley (P.J. Waggaman) for a night of Shakespeare at the Moose Lodge. Impatient, she commands him to run to her.  And he does. Unfortunately, the honest Reverend has loaned out his car and now they have no way to get to the theatre (eh hem…Moose Lodge).  Meg is incensed that she will miss performances by two of the finest Shakespearian actors in the world, or, at least,  the ones she knows.  

At the Loyal Order of The Moose Lodge in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania, Doc Myers (Phil Hunter) and his moose minions are dipping into the buffet spread as Leo Clark (David Narloch) and Jack Gable (Michael German) perform their Shakespeare tidbits, an annotation version, if you will.   And both of them together, of course, are Clark Gable in names only. 

Doc, not liking the performances, runs them out of the lodge and asks them not to come back.

Now they are stuck at a train station, with no money, Clark and Gable scouring the local paper for opportunities finds a rich local woman has died (Yes!  It’s Florence Snider) and has left her relatives Max and Steve one million dollars as an inheritance. Leo Clark suggests they arrive at the doorsteps and claim the inheritance.  It is a beautiful plan, which according to Clark cannot fail.

But there’s a problem.  Neither one knows Florence Snider (Ria Parody Erlich).  So they ask a local book loving, roller-skating waitress Audrey (Darcy Silveira) about the Snider family.  Audrey says she has worked for them and fills them in to the details but tells them Max and Steve are really Maxine and Stephanie.

This does not present a problem for Clark.  They’ve got a suitcase filled with costumes, they are both actors, and Clark sees this as a minor impediment to their future wealth. Gable, with his deep manly voice, doesn’t think it’s a good ideal. Clark says he will do all of the talking and that Gable can play the deaf mute complete with fake sign language.

When they get to the house dressed as women, Clark is immediately enchanted with Meg. Suddenly they find out that Florence Snider is not dead, just deathly ill, well not even that, and she greets her long-lost nieces as though they were her daughters. Gable is infatuated with Audrey and Butch Myers (Daniel Ray Litz), Audrey’s boyfriend, is strung out like a polish sausage.

Reverend Duncan Wooley doesn’t like what he sees and he tries his best to get the goods on these two intruders.

  L - R -  Daniel Ray Litz, Phil Hunter, Michael German, Darcy Silveira, David Narloch, P.J. Waggaman, Ria Parody Erlich and Rosie Mandel

Rosie Mandel is charming as Meg Snider.  But slightly misses in creating specific relationships with each of her loves. Not enough details are given in her characterization or in the fact that she might be crossing over to the other side, her side. Her dialogue suggests she is fed up with the Reverend, also her dialogue says she like to go into her bed room, strip down, and sprinkle water over her naked body and lie on the bed with the intention of enticing another woman.  But, she does little in her physical life to reach that objective. That said, she has some very nice moments citing Shakespeare.

P.J. Waggaman played Reverend Duncan Wooley and he must be totally in love with the money. Nothing else.  The comedy is better when it’s about the money. And with that said the character must never take his eyes off the money.  He must have a reason to loan his car (the money), to console his future wife (the money), to rat on his recently acquired acquaintances (the money!) All of his actions on stage must be about the money.

Phil Hunter plays Doc Myers and his performance is enjoyable from start to finish.  His characterization, his movements on stage, and his truth in his being all rang true for me. He has a marvelous instrument and is wonderful in his craft. And he is funny to boot.  But what makes him such a lousy doctor?

Michael German plays Jack Gable and Stephanie.  Dashing in a suit and, oddly enough, better looking in his wig and dress.   German provided plenty of laughs in this production.

David Narloch plays Leo Clark and Maxine and does it with a lot of Shakespearian flair. Among his human vanities is his overstated belief in his perspicacity that appears to be surface in nature.  The scene where Leo and Maxine are both vocalizing off stage was incredibly funny and not fooling anyone. Narloch has some very nice moments when Leo, as Maxine, falls in love with Meg. And Narloch has a marvelous voice.

Darcy Silveira does a nice little turn as the roller-skating Audrey (No pun intended.).  I’m sure there’s a little something extra needed in this character. Audrey comes out in roller skates, infatuated with books, and immediately takes an attraction to the exciting actors suggesting that she doesn’t want her current boyfriend.

Daniel Ray Litz has a very good look as Butch Myers.  The name Butch gives away something about his character, which was not fully loaded and was not specific in his objective. The character really has to try harder to keep the girl, to fight off other suitors, and to take a stand, drawl a line in the sand, etc. All this would help this character realize the comedy.

Ria Parody Erlich was Florence Snider and I saw a lot of substance in her characterization. Probably the hardest thing to do is to pull off a good character when you’re dying and Snider is dying throughout the play.  From beginning to end, she was marvelous.

Lewis Hauser, the director, gives us delightful moments throughout. But no character really takes a good look at the two in drag nor makes any kind of distinction, when in real life we do that everyday.  We take notice, make a mental note, take action, and move on.  Don’t see that happening here. The hugs don’t really work with Audrey and Gable unless they carry the relationship to another level after each hug. The actors tend to wander about the stage and this should be cleaned up. Also a rather strange occurrence happened when both actors left the stage looking for a newspaper prop that was nicely tucked under a seat. After what seemed like an eternity of an empty stage the actors came back on and recovered – something about buying a cup of coffee. Also, not much is made of the name Clark Gable and it could be.

I read that Ken Ludwig, the writer, has written a show that is fun for all ages and could be performed in venues all over the United States.  Ludwig’s play captures the essence of a British farce with and places it in Pennsylvania with American characters. And he succeeds marvelously.  This is a show that is pure camp and everyone needs to go to camp.  

Sometimes I think that having no set in the park is a better option.  Let the actors create the space and see how real we can get. A little symbolism goes a long way.  I saw this set last year in Goldoni’s A Servant With Two Masters.  Possibly there is something out there, a prefabricated set that can be used and set up many ways.

Other members of the crew are as follows:

Danit Rothstein – Stage Manager
Robert Ballo – Set Designer
Sheridan Cole – Costumes (Note:  a very nice job with the particular period)
Susan Stangl – Sound Design
Victoria Miller – Choreographer (Note:  Also a very nice dance sequence.)
Producers – Heidi Dotson and Ria Parody Erlich

Run!  And bring lots of friends that love to laugh.  

Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm through August 18, 2013

* A parody of an obituary.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Trouble in Chiozza by Carlo Goldoni

Angela Dubnow and Daniel Jimenez - Photo Garth Pillsbury

By Joe Straw

La baruffe chiozzotte (Brawling in Chioggia) by Carlo Goldoni was first performed in 1762 at the Teatro San Luca in Venice, Italy.  Although it’s been said that people don’t see much of Goldoni’s work, this makes the second play by Goldoni that I’ve seen in a year.  The first was A Servant for Two Masters at Dr. Paul Carlson Park in Culver City. Not bad for Goldoni who died in 1793, over two hundred and twenty years ago.  (I wonder if he still gets royalties.)

The shading was exquisite, the songs delightful, the women beautiful, and the men acted with rugged determination. All this makes for wonderful mix of amorous rhapsodies of life along the Venice canals and who doesn’t like to see young lovers making mistakes and getting into a lot of trouble.   

The City of West Hollywood presents Free Theater in the Parks - Trouble in Chiozza by Carlo Goldoni, produced by Classical Theatre Lab, and directed by Louis Fantasia, with English translation, a rifacimento, of a classic Italian work by Robert Hoyem. Trouble in Chiozza was performed at the beautiful Kings Road Park in West Hollywood and was the perfect setting for this delightful Venetian comedy. 

In a heartbeat, love can go so wrong. 

Trouble in Chiozza is a soup made from besotted lovers. It is a tangy but tasty soup blended naturally with the finest ingredients.  Throw in a dash of oregano, a bay leaf, and passionate hot Italians, and the effect is an entire Venetian village on the verge of chaos.  

But, what could be more enchanting than listening to music sung on a bridge over the Canal Vena’s Chioggi lagoon? It is there that the women of two families sit on opposite sides of the bridge (no bridge - just my imagination) discussing life in general while sewing pretty lace on envisaging pillows.

On this day, Toffolo (Daniel Jimenez), a gondola boat owner, chooses to flirt with Lucietta (Carolyn Reese Crotty) by buying her a roasted slice of hot sugar pumpkin.  All this in front of his love Checca (Tatiana Lopez) who is now livid because she doesn’t want her man flirting with another woman.

But that doesn’t bother Lucietta who loves hot sugar pumpkin and cares little for Checca or her family. Lucietta savors the delicious snack with her sister-in-law, Pasqua (Christine Avila). And so they enjoy the flirtations of the young and manly Toffolo, as they apply patterned lace on the pillows.

Checca is there with her younger sister, Orsetta (Angela Dubnow), and her older sister Madam Libera (Maggie Palomo). Of course, the insults go back and forth between the two sides of the bridge – involving comments about being old maids and remaining so for the remainder of their days.  This raises their hackles and a fight ensues.

Meanwhile Paron Toni (Donald Wayne), husband to Pasqua, comes home singing “There’s No Tomorrow” with his crew on his boat including Beppo (Dex Matthews)—his younger brother and Titta Nane (Paul David Story)—a young fisherman who is madly in love with Lucietta. 

Paron Vincenzo (Joe Hulser), a buyer of fish, is haggling over the price of fish and, from a business perspective, throws everyone into a tizzy.

Beppo confides he wants to marry Orsetta but Lucietta doesn’t think Orsetta is fit for human consumption, much less marriage.  Somewhere along the way, the word gets out that Toffolo bought Lucietta hot sugar pumpkin and Titta Nane is infuriated.  Titta Nane, panting frightfully, confronts Toffolo and an argument ensues, words are exchanged, threats are made, and a rock is thrown.

Paron Toni wants none of this and breaks up the fight that, in all of its comedic elements, looks serious.

“That woodchuck is going to pay for this!” – Titta Nane.

Woodchuck is a nickname. They all have cute little nicknames—Toffolo is Woodchuck, Checca is Cream Cheese (because of her beautiful smooth skin), and pretty Orsetta is Mixed Bread (I didn’t get this one.  Hmmm, mixed bread in the soup of life?)

Later, Paron Fortunato (Steve Peterson) comes home and greets his wife Madam Libera and her sisters. All of them are hysterical because of the problems with Madam Pasqua and Lucietta.  Fortunato tells them; as best he can because there is something wrong with his speech (possibly a fishing accident) that everything is going to be okay and not to make trouble.

Both Paron Fortunato and Paron Toni want things to remain calm.  They’ve been to sea and it seems as though the rough seas have followed them home to hysterical woman rocking their familia boat.

Toffolo has had enough and he reports the crimes to Isodoro (Michael Matthys) who sends his Constable (Zeijka Z. Gortinski) with a summons to gather the information to see if a crime has been committed.   That’s when all the fun starts.  

I’ve had a run of luck lately seeing productions that have exceptional actors and fine direction.  Trouble in Chiozza is no exception.  This company has an experienced cast and they work hard to put on a brilliant show. And I can’t say enough about the diversity in this program.  Hollywood could learn a lesson.

L - R Michael Matthys, Carolyn Reese Crotty, Angela Dubnow, Daniel Jimenez - Photo Garth Pillsbury

Christine Avila as Pasqua is wonderful and has a marvelous voice.  She is the older married sister who has her younger sister-in-law living with them.  (This was probably a cultural thing back then.).  Pasqua is devious accepting the slice pumpkin and letting the sister accept it as well.  She creates a stir for reasons only known to her but I believe it has something to do with keeping her sister-in-law with her for reasons of enterprise and help around the house.  

Carolyn Reese Crotty as Lucietta was grand in her performance and had some really fine subtle moments in her character. She is stubborn but wants to get married if only to get away from her sister-in-law who is taking advantage of her.

Angela Dubnow plays Orsetta and did a fine job.  She has a very interesting look and always seemed to find the perfect light of this shady park to showcase her performance. She is a maiden in an enchanted forest – and that is a delightful image.

Zeijka Z. Gortinski plays the Constable and the Servant and did her job rather well inclusive of her Yugoslavian accent.

Joe Hulser was Paron Vincenzo.  This is an interesting character that appears to want to buy fish at the lowest possible price but doesn’t come right out and say what he is willing to pay, or how much he wants to screw the fisherman.  The men work hard fishing to get a good price and get paid a nice wage only to come back home and get a small pittance of what they deserve.  He got what he wanted unscathed and returned to his happy home.   

Daniel Jimenez was excellent as Toffolo and captured the essence of the very verbal Italian persona.  He explodes onto the set and never lets up.  He was very physical in the role, tough when he wanted to be and a coward when he needed to be. He also plays string instruments, which fit in nicely with the songs of the production.

Tatiana Lopez was a very pretty Checca.  There were slight problems hearing her on this day. (Not sure what to do about the helicopters passing overhead, just wait or say the lines louder.) Lopez is very charming and tantalizing in the role.

Dex Matthews is an outstanding Beppo.  Easily fooled by slander and innuendo to run off in a very wrong direction.  I think his character has to try harder because Orsetta is the hardest one to get. Matthews does an outstanding job.

Michael Matthys is brilliant as Isodoro Adjunct of the Court Chancellor.  The scene where he is interviewing the sisters are specific, nuanced, and establishes a different emotional relationship with each interviewee. Matthys is excellent and exciting to watch.   

I would say Matthys’ performance is worth the price of admission, but admission is free. But if you like, his or anyone else’s performance, please fill free to put money into the collection plate.

Ernest McDaniel as Conocchia/Stage Combat does some very fine work.  It not enough to hand out hot pumpkin.  A commitment must be made to give to one family and ignore the other. Still a fine job. 

Magie Palomo plays Libera. Married, she may have wanted what her counterpart wanted for her sisters to remain with her and help her with her husband and around the house. But, on the outside chance she wants her sisters to be married she must protect their honor against neighbors and protect their reputations. Palomo is marvelous in the role.

Steve Peterson plays Paron Fortunato. While it is not understood why Fortunato speak with a slight disability, possibly the reason he fribbles on stage. Still, I found his physical and vocal performance funnier as the play proceeded and could not stop laughing.  Fortunato wants his sister-in-laws married and out of the house and he tries to cool tempers before everything gets out of hand. This was a wonderful performance.

Paul David Story plays Titta Nane and does an exceptional job. Story is a focused and concentrated actor, catching the moments as they come to him. He is not bad to look at and has a remarkable presence on stage. His character is in such a hurry to defend his honor he forgets about his love and manages to secure her in the worst possible way.

Donald Wayne plays Paron Toni. He tries to restore order but nothing seems to work until it is all out of his control.  Wayne does some very first-rate work.

Louis Fantasia, the director, does some really fine work here.  I believe I was at the opening and I noticed the actors were, at that time, getting acclimated to the space.  And the space was grand.  One can almost see the bridge, the canals, and the homes all in this park. Fantasia gets the most out of his actors and over all it was a wonderful production.

Playing the park has its challenges.  Someone should call the city and tell them to turn off their helicopters devices.  Here’s a question: Do you stop the actors and wait for the helicopter to leave? Would you treat it the same as phone?  Or would you speak louder? I think waiting is a better alternative.

Other members of this fine production company are as follows:

Suzanne Hunt – Producer/Co-Artistic Coordinator
Laura James – Assistant Director/Producer/Co-Artis Coordinator
Laure Jamme – Stage Manager
Dorothy MacLean – Costume Design
Alex Wells – Producer/Chair/Co-Artistic Coordinator
Nora Feldman – Publicist

Run! Run! Run!  And take a young love.

Free but call for reservations:  323-960-5691

Through July 28, 2013 at 4:00pm