Saturday, February 22, 2014

Nocturne by Adam Rapp

George Regout - Photo by Ute Ville

By Joe Straw

He, The Son (George Regout) came in and sat as though he were going to sell his book, Nocturne.  Isn’t that the purpose of a book signing?  He is obviously in a bookstore, one can tell by the bookshelf, the books neatly layered as if they were steps to heaven, all just a few notes behind him.

Irma Productions Presents “Nocturne” written by Adam Rapp and directed by Justin Ross featuring George Regout in his North American stage debut through March 9, 2014 at The Other Space @ The Actors Company, 916A N. Formosa Avenue, West Hollywood 90046.  

But, he didn’t sign one book, not one.  The books were, all there, in front of him, on the desk. Not one signature. Pity.  And there wasn’t anyone buying either. Double Pity.

I want you to come to me and sell me your book, damn it, Kindle or hardcover, it matters little.  

Another purpose was to read something from the book, and he did that. He had a strange accent, almost foreign sounding, from someone who was from the Midwest, better yet Joliet, Illinois, but then a lot of people living in the United States have accents.  

But why quibble about accents?  We were there to listen to the word, his words, or as near as the truth we could get for someone who remembered everything that hurt.  And the words poured from his lips, offering us a prowess of inscrutable intentions and still severely hurting from grief. And things did hurt, because beyond that hurt, things were connected. Scars so deep, and pain like rapids running over rocks. It’s a wonder his heart kept beating.

“Fifteen years ago I killed my sister.” – The Son

But despite the pain his heart beats on, tragically, skipping here and there, thump, thump-thump.  

And somehow it is all connected, the percussion instrument we know as a piano, now watching the back of his hand move, and trying to find a simple correlation between death and the three hundred pound elephant that is not in the room, the piano.    

“The piano doesn’t sing.  It sobs.  It aches without release.  Like a word that can’t wrench itself from the throat.”

Nocturne: Grieg’s, Chopin’s, Tchaikovsky’s, take your solemn pick  

The Son is a former pianist, was a child prodigy of sorts, winning the smaller competitions and losing the larger ones.  (Why is art a competition?) Suddenly he finds himself behind the wheel of a used ‘69 Buick Electra doing 45 in a 30 mile per hour on a residential street coming home from Sub-Diggity, a summer job, deciding not to stop but to speed past.  

Why was a prodigy working at Sub-Diggity?

“We’ve lived on Gael Drive for most of my life.  My mother, Jan; my father, Earl; and my little sister and I.”

And then there was a swerve, a thud, culminating into an unfortunate tragedy, resulting in a reality with far-reaching consequences, and the destruction, no, the total annihilation of a family.  

And still, he is selling a book.

Nocturne, by Adam Rapp, in his exquisite brilliance, takes credit for this superb play. It’s pictorial beauty and the inclusion of sound lends itself to an overall emotional satisfaction of night in the theatre.  Also the play lends itself to be open to many interpretations and creative choices.  And in this case the creative choices are in the hands of the director, Justin Ross, and the actor George Regout.

As a visceral component, Nocturne is visually stunning, and what makes it so is the Lighting Design by R. Christopher Stokes, and the wonderful Production Design by Carol Strober, which transports us to various places in The Son’s life. 

But while mood lighting takes us to other places it’s not completely clear the actor or the director has made a definitive choice to the place or his mental being on stage in that place.  So we have an actor who is not purposefully moving to a spot, and telling us his unique moment, at a unique moment in his time, even though it’s been 15 years.  

Plain and simple, The Son, is trying to sell books.  That’s why he is there.  And he does so with diligence, so much so, that he goes back to the book and reads on a number of occasions.  But then he mentally steps away and relives the tragedy that haunts his very being. Is he still reading?  Or does he step away into private moments to relive something that is not in the book?  One is not sure from this performance.

Yes, it has been 15 years since his sister was killed but that doesn’t mean the pain is less great, or the pictures less vivid, and Regout has the opportunity to succumb to the bottom rung of the emotional ladder with an outpouring of emotions that somehow never comes.

Also one must never lose sight of the piano that is constantly playing, the chords, the notes, and the music that must take him away to emotional unchartered territories.

“A C-sharp.  The death of a small bird.  An F.  A stranded car’s horn bleating for help on the highway….An aluminum bat hitting a ball is one of the greatest notes of July. A D, I think. A split-second song.  A little chink of hope.”

Justin Ross, the director, has made the choice that Nocturne is about forgiveness in the program he states, “ On closer inspection, however, it (the play) reveals itself to be a universal story of forgiveness – forgiveness of oneself and of others.” But in order for the through line to be about forgiveness, The Son must seek forgiveness, to beg for forgiveness, to demand forgiveness, he must go to the object that is calling him and implore forgiveness whether it is from his parents, the piano, or us the audience members.  

The characters – Jan his mother, Earl his father, and his sister, all portrayed by Regout – necessitate additional development thus creating a distinctive personality for each character, especially the sister.  The beautiful nine-year-old sister who was so funny, and someone who was always by his side coloring as he played the piano, actions that require a portrayal of a beautiful life.  

“She proposed marriage to me at least once a week.  She’d go to a knee and say, Marry me, you big hunk of yummy boy steak.”

There is a dog, a bird, a green plastic trashcan, and a miskicked football before the musicless “thud”.
 Each time The Son remembers this, it must take us on an emotional journey and we must feel his impotent despair.  

“She imitated dogs.  She would get down on all fours and howl at the siren from a distant fire truck.”

George Regout - Photo by Ute Ville

George Regout, The Son, does a very fine job and is a fine acting specimen.  Finding a strong emotional core always works best for me and if that is not possible on a given night then physically working toward the objective is the next best thing. The Son is an entangled mass of differing emotional thoughts that, one day, will come to his senses.  For the actor it is discovering those demonstrative moments that clears the character's emotional path to a better life.   

Justin Ross, the director, also does some fine work. The play is ninety minutes and one hopes the moments that take you in a specific direction plays to perfection. But in reality, nothing is ever perfect.  One just hopes on any given night the choices hit all the right notes.

Gregory David Mayo, Executive Producer, does an amazing job bringing the show and the talent to Los Angeles.

Mike Abramson is the Producer.

The Production Stage Manager is Valerie Salas.

Christopher Moscatiello, responsible for the Sound Design, brings a wonderful natural element of sound that only adds to a wonderful night of theatre.

Ken Werther Publicity is the Press Representative.

Allison Schenker is the Production Carpenter.

Brandon Devaney did a very nice job with the Graphic Design along with Brad Steinbauer who did the Program Layout.

Production Photos by Ute Ville.

Run! Run!  And take someone who wants to understand his/her emotional self after grieving.  

Reservations:  323-960-4443

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez

L - R Shawn Savage, Ricco Ross 

By Joe Straw

I grew up in the south, mainly Tennessee, and also spent time with my grandmother and grandfather in northern Georgia. 

There, my relatives still referred to the Civil War, as the War of the Northern Aggressors.

Putting the pieces together.   

Years later – as a tourist in Savannah – a number of tour guides spoke the expression: “…when cotton was king.”

Later - in the day – at the beautiful lush Bonaventure Cemetery – a large Jewish celebration?

Jewish refugees immigrated in 1732 to Savannah?  

And Jewish slave owners?

It was an unrecognized portrait of my southern collective being.   

Pictures. – Narrator

The West Coat Jewish Theatre presents the Los Angeles Premiere of the Whipping Man written by Matthew Lopez and directed Howard Teichman at the Pico Playhouse through April 13, 2014.

The Whipping Man is a wonderful end-of-the-Civil-War drama about a Jewish confederate soldier coming home and having to deal with his former slaves. This play is wonderfully directed by Howard Teichman and performed by a superior cast who will knock your socks off and have you enjoying every moment.  

The play takes places four days after General Robert E. Lee’s April 9th 1865 surrender at Appomattox Court House.

A violent thunderstorm envelops the DeLeon home, a once grand house in Richmond, Virginia. Now it’s dilapidated.  The wallpaper is peeling, and the roof leaking – compliments of munitions explosions.  The living room picture window is boarded up – possibly to keep out looters or other undesirables. A cast iron bed sits dry in the only place that doesn’t leak.

A young man pushes the door open. He stands a dirty, coffin-like shadow, wearing an unrecognizable uniform, too dark to see, obviously hurt, and falls to the floor in excruciating pain.  Crawling to a box to get back on his feet, the pain forces him to scream and because of the pain he momentarily blacks out.

An older man from another part of the house hears the noise, and takes his rifle and lamp to explore God knows what.  He notices the front door open, closes it, and turns around to see a body lying on the floor. And with rifle pointed he wakes the injured man.

“Get that rifle out of my face, old man.” – Younger Man

“Seeing as I’m the one holding it, I think I’ll make the rules.” – Older man

But, the light illuminates as both inch closer together.  

“Simon?  Simon, is that you?” – Younger Man

“Caleb?” – Simon

Simon (Ricco Ross) is happy to greet his former owner Caleb (Shaw Savage) with a hug but he does it with a slight hesitation as Caleb delights in the fact that he is finally home. 

Simon, who is Jewish like his owners, greets him with a blessing for the revival of the dead.

“Baruch atah adonai elohenu melech haolam mechaye hametim.” – Simon

Caleb wants to know where everyone has gone, especially Sarah.  Simon tells him that his wife Lizbeth and his daughter Sarah are with his pa.  He tells Caleb that his mother went to visit her mother in Williamsburg.

Caleb asks where is…? And before he can get it out, Simon tells him that he’s probably on a drunk somewhere.

Caleb then orders Simon to get him some water and suddenly Simon stops, not wanting to move one inch more on this order. But then he thinks better and moves to another room to get the water.

Caleb tries his best to stand and, without making his way completely up, screams.  Rushing into the room, Simon wants to know what all the screaming is about.  Caleb tells him he was wounded a week ago.  Simon suggests a week old untreated wound has a way of killing people.

Simon tells Caleb the war has taken a toll on the town, this house, and most people fled the violence.  He moved to Chimborazo and lived with his ma and the women from the temple, nursing and dressing wounds.

“And (ma) told you to come here and wait for everybody.” – Caleb

“She asked me.” – Simon

Simon looks at Caleb’s wound and discovers that a bullet hole has pierced his left leg.  He gets some whiskey and pours it on the wound, and stops when Caleb starts screaming.

After the pain has subsided Caleb wonders what they have to eat and it’s not much.  The markets not open, everything is dead including the horse he rode in on.

“I had a horse.” – Caleb

“Had?” – Simon

“He’s dead.  Out front.” – Caleb

Well, there’s meat, if they need something to eat.  

Simon looks at the wound and walks into to the kitchen to get rags and as he is in there someone is outside looking through the window.  Caleb screams for help and Simon grabs the rifle and checks but there’s no one there.

Then Simon looks at the wound and tells Caleb he’s got gangrene, but the good news is it’s not above the knee, still, with certitude, the leg has got to come off much to Caleb’s protestations. Naytheless, Simon has to teach Caleb the hard reality of what gangrene does to the human body, and it ain’t pretty.  

Simon needs to clean the wound first and then take Caleb to the hospital.  But Caleb wants none of that, if his leg has to be taken off, and he’s going to die, he wants to die at home, sans leg.   

It’s tough going for Simon and he doesn’t like all this ordering about.

“All these things you’re telling me to do, by right now you need to be asking me to do.” – Simon

And while Simon goes for the rags and whiskey, the intruder opens the door dressed with a mask over his head asking for a Captain DeLeon.  And this man delight in revealing himself as John (Kirk Kelleykahn), a former slave to the DeLeon family.

John has got a bloody bandage around his right hand and with a whiskey bottle in his other hand points to the animal carcass outside the door.

“This your dead horse here?” – John

“It is.” – Caleb

“I don’t know which of the two of you looks worse.” – John

John wants to know about Caleb’s surrender and Caleb wants to know about things going on around Richmond. They share a bottle of whiskey like they’ve done it a million times. Caleb accuses him of stealing the whiskey but John sees it as liberation.

“What do I call you now?” – John

“Call me?” – Caleb

“’Master’ doesn’t quite fit no more.” – John

Caleb says John has never call him that but that doesn’t stop John from rubbing in the results of the war in his face.  When Simon discovers that John is back, Caleb also notices the bandage around John’s hand.

Simon, older and wiser, has got a plan to take Caleb’s leg off.  He also has reasons for sticking around because he says Caleb’s father has promised him money when he gets back and it’s in his interest to keep Caleb alive. Simon enlists John’s help to remove Caleb’s leg and he describes, in detail, just how they are going to do it.

But Simon really doesn’t want to do it.  He’ll bring the tools out from the basement and try to scare Caleb into having them take him to the hospital, but when that doesn’t work, they go into action.

Caleb now has a change of heart and tells them they are not to take the leg off.  But it’s too late as Simon grabs the saw, and with the help of John, they seize the leg, Caleb screaming, thunderstorm raging, a torrential downpour, and three working against each other to help one another.  And with a ferocious discretion Simon starts sawing.

Matthew Lopez, the writer, has written a fascinating and enjoyable play.  He has taken us into a tenebrous situation.  But despite the Civil War, leg amputation, murder and mayhem, this is a very funny play and has numerous comedic elements.  And, like participants musings of a funeral gathering, each character has something in his life he has to get off in order to move on. John puts a burlap bag over his head when he goes out not only because he is a liberator of whiskey and the finer things of life but also because he has committed a crime some would consider heinous. Simon thinks of his family and the money that awaits him when the owner of the house returns.  And Caleb comes home, in a hurry, because he knows that something, or someone is waiting for him. All of the characters need one another in order to survive despite having to set aside the miserable indignities of the past.

I enjoyed every minute of this show.  The acting is superior and the hard work is up on the stage guided by the extremely talented director/producer Howard Teichman. But what are really interesting on stage are the relationships and the interactions between characters. Caleb and John are so much alike in manner plays well with what is discovered near the end.  And Simon is like a father figure to both. And, in the manner of presentation, the moments work to near perfection. The “amputation planning scene” between John and Simon needs a slight adjustment and the life discoveries need more emotional impact.  

L - R Kirk Kelleykahn, Ricco Ross, Shawn Savage

Shawn Savage plays Caleb DeLeon and he appears to have stepped right out of the Civil War.  The look is genuine and the acting is superb. Caleb rides his horse to death for a reason, which is not known until later in the play. He obviously and desperately wants to get back now the war is over despite the bullet hole through his leg. Caleb needs both men to be there, without them he would surely die.   

Ricco Ross is Simon and also does a tremendous job.  There is not a wasted moment in his portrayal, and his pauses are exquisite. Simon has an exceptional temperament despite the history with the family. He waits for his family to come back and for the money so that he can buy a farm.  And taking care of Caleb is one way of taking care of the money, but that aside, he waits mostly for his family until there is a terrible reality revealed.  

Kirk Kelleykahn has a very good look as John.  John is pathetically mendacious and is in a lot of trouble.  The reason he has injured his hand is revealed later in the play, but it’s also the reason he is on edge, because trouble and in particular, Freddy Cole (not seen), an “ol cracker”, is just outside the door.  But now John has embraced indolence, probably because of the outcome of the war. Although he is a liberator, he has to be very careful about being seen outside of the DeLeon house and he needs his counterparts to help him in that regard.   Kelleykahn brings a lot of humor to the role. There are many secrets to hide until the moments are right, and Kelleykahn does a tremendous job letting those secrets slip, one moment at a time.

Bill Froggatt does a tremendous job as the Sound Designer and also served as the Associate Producer.

Jean Himmelstein is also the Associate Producer and Prop Mistress.

The Stage Manager is Priscilla Miranda.

Kurtis Bedford did a fantastic job as the Set Designer.

Michéle Young worked wonders as the Costume Designer making the costumes look authentic.

Ellen Monocroussos is the Lighting Designer and the candles were a marvelous touch.

Kelsey Boutte is the Make Up Artist.  The bullet hole, gangrene, and whipping scars were very well done.

Jessica Erin Bennett is the Fight Choreographer.

And Michael Lamont is the Photographer.

Run!  Run!  Run!  And take someone who loves the history of the Civil War.

TICKET INFO: Reserve online at or call (323) 821-2449.

LOCATION: The Pico Playhouse, 10508 W. Pico Boulevard, in Los Angeles, 90064.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Cat Named Mercy by Josefina López

By Joe Straw

I would hope that when I die, and leave this earthly plane, I’m looking my historical best, where my hair was just right, my complexion perfect, and the body strength that I worked on for so long stayed with me as I traveled into the white light. I couldn’t ask for more or less.  - Narrator

Casa 0101 presents A Cat Named Mercy, a world premiere play by Josefina López and directed by Hector Rodriguez January 24 through February 23, 2014.

A Cat Named Mercy starts at the end where Catalina Rodriguez (Alex Ximenez) is dying and walking into the light. Then everything is in flashback mode and we travel to the beginning. Or so it appears.

“I have to go home.” – Catalina

And, reminiscent of Emily Webb going back home in Our Town, Catalina is now home, feeding her blind diabetic mother, Mama Rodriguez (Blanca Araceli), confined to a wheelchair.   

And there Mama Rodriguez sits, crying, but mostly she shed tears for the taste of a good chorizo. Frustrated dependable Catalina tries her best to take care of her mother by giving her healthy food, like that insufferable hard-boiled egg, topped with a tasteless cup of applesauce. Looking at the food on the tray Mama begs her daughter to kill her.

Catalina just rolls her eyes.  And while she is at it, Mama laments about her other daughter Marga (Maricela Guardado) who went away (later we learn she has committed suicide).  Catalina tells her to eat her healthy breakfast and leaves for work.  Her mother takes her breakfast, rolls to trash container, and slides the food into the long empty repository.

At work in a nursing home, Catalina greets Mr. Smith (Henry Aceves Madrid) who is feeling his age.  A moment later, he falls down, dies, and after resuscitation, comes back to life with her help.  As if awakened by a beautiful sleep Mr. Smith says that he has seen his wife, that dying is beautiful, and that he not afraid anymore.

Kitty Randolph (Susan Davis), a new patient, is being escorted in a wheel chair to her room by her grandson Brad (Alex Denney).  It seems Kitty and her son has had a falling out.   For reasons unknown to us, her son has thrown her out of the house. Brad is sorry this has happened but wants to speak to his grandmother about his new business venture.  

In the hallway, Catalina has a friendly conversation with her co-worker Kate (Marquel Skinner).  Kate, liberal arts major, is a wall bumper, someone who doesn’t look where she is going, and gets a lot of things mixed up.  She mixes up the urine with the apple juice. (Note to Kate:  The urine is warm.) Not a good combination when you’re giving pills to the elderly. But Catalina tries to smooth things over and helps her to overcome the critical moments of her job.

Meanwhile Mrs. Randall, a southern woman, tells Joy Acosta (Minerva Vier), the manager of the nursing home, that she doesn’t want Mexicans touching her, only the white staff so that she feels safe, and by all means “no blacks”.

Trying to get the best “white” person suitable for Kitty Randolph, Joy asks Catalina about Kate’s performance.  Catalina, trying to be helpful, gives Kate a “9” only to find out later that Kate will replace her.  Joy then cuts her hours and her medical insurance.  When Catalina protests, Joy warns that she can find work elsewhere.

Later Catalina finds out from Doctor Dubois (Rebecca Davis) that she has cancer in the uterus and needs surgery.  Catalina tells the doctor that she no longer has insurance. 

“No insurance.  No surgery.” – Doctor Dubois

Catalina runs outside and has a panic attack.  There she meets a white cat that consoles her.  She calls the cat Mercy (Beatriz Eugenia Vasquez).

Meanwhile the incompetent, fair-complexional Kate has been promoted, is full time, and even has her own office. And when Catalina asks Joy for the reason, well.

“Kate got a “nine” from you and you got a “seven”.  - Joy  

Later Catalina comes home to find that her mom has been out on the streets and is hurt but cannot go to the doctor because she is undocumented.

And back at work, Catalina finds out that Kate has almost killed Mrs. Randolph by mixing up the drugs. Catalina saves her and Mrs. Randolph has an epiphany.

Later, the angular, square-jawed Brad runs into Catalina in the hall of the nursing home.  He is somewhat smitten by her and asks her out.  She hesitantly says yes, before he rushes in to see his grandmother with a plastic potted plant.  

But Brad has a nefarious purpose in mind.  He asks his grandmother for money but Mrs. Randall says she has given it away to the Negro College Fund.  And now she wants to see Catalina.

“Bring that Latina girl in here.” - Mrs. Randall

Here’s where it gets a little tricky.  Mrs. Randall wants Catalina to perform a service for money.  When Brad finds out, he aggressively and ruthlessly goes after Catalina and the money.  And when other patients find out what Catalina is doing, they also want to be a part of the action.   

There are a number of clever moments in Josefina Lopez’s play. She wrote to inspire discussion about death and dying.  And that part succeeds.  I, for one, am always talking about the hereafter, more so after this play. But this show is not really about the title, A Cat Named Mercy.  Mercy, yes.  Cat, no. Strangely enough, I had seen the news report about the cat that sat with the dying and found it fascinating.  But… Where is the focal point of this play, the through line?  It’s not about the cat.  It’s not about nursing homes.  It’s not about dying.  And it’s not really about health care.  What is the show about?  Well, maybe it’s about all of these things because they are connected in some fashion or another.  But I would love to have this play have a stronger through line and a provocative structure. The needle with a lethal dose, that Catalina carries around in her pocket, is there as a matter of convenience rather than something she has to get, or find, or concoct in a hurry.  In the end, Catalina does not end up in the bright light, which is slightly confusing.  But, all in all, I felt better coming out of the theatre this night and that is a testament to the play.

Hector Rodriguez, the director, has some very fine moments in this play, in particular the death scenes worked very well.  But a lot of action requires more thought.  At times, characters are standing around center stage speaking to each other without regard to character, action, and objectives.  And the 911-operator is seated on another level without any reason.  Is he supposed to be a God-like figure and, if so, why is God flirting with Catalina? In the opening moments of the play, I really got the impression that Catalina died – walking into the white light means dying. And based on this opening, the rest of the play should have been stylized to create or to give it a stronger through line.  The director, in rehearsals, should throw in the kitchen sink, discard what doesn’t work, and keep the wonderful creative moments that do work. The blackouts between scenes should be kept to an extreme minimum.

The actors had some opening-night jitters and were for the most part believable, and physically suited for the part. I, for one, would like to see stronger characterizations, and more levels.   The actors were saying the words rather than playing developed characters, with many layers, as one likes to see on stage.  

In the play “Sylvia” by A.R. Gurney, Gurney’s use of a human actor to play a dog, Sylvia, worked well.  Based on this, my initial suggestion for this production was to keep the girl (Beatriz Eugenia Vasquez) and get rid of the cat puppets, Mercy and Pacifico (or save for a younger audience). Still, Beatriz Eugenia Vasquez does a very fine job with the dancing and puppetry.  

Alex Ximenez plays Catalina and she is very likeable and has some fine moments.

Blanca Araceli is Mama Rodriguez and I thought her performance was superb bordering on sublime. Every moment was played to perfection. And as the character of Spirit of Mama Rodriguez, she looked twenty years younger.  Araceli is the kind of performer one hopes to see when venturing out to see theatre.

Michael Cota plays the 911 Operator and the Cameraman and needs to find out why he is stuck way up in the balcony and find a way to come down and relate to the character in spirit or find a stronger characterization way up in the booth. As the cameraman he appeared to shoot the reporter only, which I found odd.

Rebecca Davis as Doctor Dubois/Health Insurance Agent/Manager/Surgeon/Prison Inmate does some really fine work, has a very nice look, and is no stranger to the stage. Her work is very specific and detailed.

Susan Davis as Kitty Randolph had some slight problem in the opening moments of the play but settled down and finished in grand style.

Alex Denney plays Brad Randolph and the Spirit of Mr. Randolph. Denney is the angular and bad Anglo in this production.  An interesting aspect of this characterization is how physically abusive he becomes in a manner of a heartbeat. I would have liked to see this character as extremely polite and conniving all in the same person with the same goal without becoming abusive just to see how this would look. Killing them with kindness.  Denney has a good look and should do well in this industry.

Maricela Guardado does some very good work as Spirit of Marga Rodriguez/Spirit of Smith, and TV Reporter.

Henry Aceves Madrid is Harold Smith/Spirit of Harold Smith/Spirit of Papa Encarnación did a fine job of near death, death, and departed. Madrid has a very good look and is always a welcomed sight at Casa 0101.

Carmelita Maldonado plays Belinda Ortiz (Social Worker) and Prison Guard.  Maria G. Martinez is Martha Encarnación and Spirit of Martha Encarnación. Bill Reyes is the Radio Announcer/Judge.

Marquel Skinner plays Kate Scott/Prison Inname/Surgeon Nurse.  The words suggest she is incompetent but her actions on stage say little in that regard.  Skinner requires a deeper focus on characterization, more layers in her character, and specific actions that will give the character more body and life. There’s nothing wrong with what she is doing if only she would add more to the character.

Minerva Vier plays Joy Acosta/Filipina Lady and has a very lovely voice, projects well, and has a nice Filipina accent. Vier should find ways to liven the scenes where is speaking to her counterparts, which seemed stilted at times.  Her managerial style is perfectly suited to a business situation, but lacks the layers one would need for the stage. She needs to find ways to improve the nursing home around her while giving dialogue.  Humor could be brought in as well as a including strong persuasive desire to change another character’s way of thinking.

Other members of the crew are as follows:

Mary Mendoza – Co-Producer/Assistant Director
Benjamin Pohlmeier – Co-Producer
Matthew Sanchez – Stage Manager/Props Manager
Marco De Leon – Set Designer
Dorothy Amos – Costume Designer
Vincent Sanchez – Lighting Designer/Sound Programmer/Casa 0101 Facilities Manager
Jorge Villanueva – Light Board Operator
Emmanuel Deleague – Casa 0101 Executive Director
Mark Kraus – Webmaster, Casa 0101 Administrator
Sohail e. Najafi – Casa 0101 Technical Director
Ed Krieger – Production Photographer
Steve Moyer – Public Relations

Going to Casa 0101 is a very pleasant experience.  Josefina López and Emmanuel Deleague open their arms to greet patrons into their theatre.  It is a wonderful theatre and an adventure going there.

Run!  And take someone who is afraid of dying and cats.

Tix and info at