Monday, May 28, 2018

Mr. Pim Passes By by A. A Milne

By Joe Straw

De mortuis nihil nisi bonum – Of the dead nothing but good is said.

soft white  
toddler pig,
the barn and

small boys
Throwing corncobs

Laughter as
away - Narrator

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents Mr. Pim Passes By by A.A. Milne produced by David Hunt Stafford.

A.A. Milne, was a playwright but is famously noted for writing about animals in other mediums.   

One thinks wistfully about the Winnie the Pooh books, but there’s also that gnawing realization that the commercialized bear gets his name above the title, his own movies, TV shows, merchandise, theme park, and the slight Mr. Pim gets very little notoriety despite being just as forgetful as Winnie was, is, and will be.  


So, Set Designer Jeff G. Rack creates the beautiful setting. One can look at the living room and definitely call it home, but in an old, old fashion way, with light coming in from God’s knows where.  The ancestral family thought it was enough, to bring in the sun during the day or the starlight at night.  And leaving the windows without curtains was part of the reason for this day.  Still, it was nice to bathe in the beautiful blues from the sky.  

Olivia Marden (Roslyn Cohn) wants to spruce the place up a bit with some interesting curtains.  But, these curtains are not to the liking of George Marden (John Wallace Combs), a stanch conservative, who likes his abode unchanged, just the way his great-great-grandfather left it.  

But please, let’s not mince words; the place was looking rather timeworn and obsolete and by all accounts, it needs some sprucing up, new life, and new blood.  

And there’s no piano.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Narrator (Laura Lee Walsh) introduced us to the home, a fine character in the plot of the story, and later becomes Ann, the household help, when she meets Mr. Caraway Pim (Jeffrey Winner), a bird of a man who is as forgetful as the metaphor that escapes me.

Mr. Pim flits about the room in abject puzzlement latching on to nothing in particular until an excessively happy and naïve Dinah finds him to explain the household relationships.

George is Dinah’s uncle and her legal guardian since she was two years old. (No mention is made of her parents.) And they lived on this pig farm in a New England community. Five years ago, George married a widow, Mrs. Telworthy, now Aunt Olivia.  

Dinah’s strong urging at the moment is to tell Mr. Pim that she got engaged last night but really hasn’t enough fortitude to do that right away.

Mr. Pim is confused by all the attention he is getting. Mistaking cues, Mr. Pim wants to make a fast getaway.

“…You’re a very kind little girl.” – Pim

“I want to know if you’re married” – Dinah

“Oh, no, I’m not married.” – Pim   

Brian (Troy Whitaker), her secret betroth, enters the home, from his meeting with George. Dinah casually greets him and introduces Brian to Mr. Pim.

“Brian, this is Mr. Pim!  Mr. Carraway Pim.  He’s been telling me all about himself.” – Dinah

“I haven’t said a word.  I never opened my mouth.” – Pim

(Interesting dialogue that says quite a bit about the makeup of the mysterious Mr. Pim, his relationship to a young woman, and his relationship to a young strong virile young man in that brief meeting.)

In the course of discussing their matrimony…

“We shall never be rich,…” –Brian

(That should have sent red warning flags of conflict but passes like ships in the night.)

Soon Olivia enters the living room and hears the news.  Dinah and Brian enlist Olivia to break the news to George.

George, comes back from viewing the pigs, but doesn’t find Mr. Pim, doesn’t know who he is, or what he wants (perhaps that is a diversion). That is when the happy trio proceeds to break the news to him.

George is not pleased.

Later Mr. Pim shares more information (or what could be considered misinformation). When Mrs. Julia Marden (Casey Jones) George’s aunt finds out, she wants George and Olivia’s marriage annulled.

This version of Mr. Pim Passes By by A.A. Milne is a two-act play rather than the three act as had been written.  Overall, the truncated and altered version of this play is charming and has its moments, but there is more work to be done.  Not so much for the leads but rather the supporting players who don’t give it enough punch to carry it along.

Nathalie Rudolph is Dinah and physically slides into the role without much problem.  But there are the emotional moments that slide by, and are not accompanied by much of a backstory.  Dinah wants to get married desperately and, at first, she so wants to tell the world that, including Mr. Pim.  But, that really doesn’t happen.  When her betrothed enters the room, she greets him like an old boyfriend twice removed.  When her guardian tells her that he won’t allow the marriage, she appears largely unaffected. When she finds out her future husband wants to remain poor throughout their marriage, she hardly flinches. Rudolph needs to find a stronger objective, followed by a creative physical life to get what she wants, and an emotional core that powers her though her perceived conflict.  Rudolph would do well to creatively define the relationships to her uncle, her aunt, her boyfriend, and to Mr. Pim.

Troy Whitaker is Brian Strange.  Whitaker has a strong speaking voice and that works in his favor.  But, there’s not a lot of depth to his character.  Shirttail out of his pants and ruffled hair does not make an artist. Also, he’s not affected by the criticism of his artwork, which he passionately loves. The artwork, however, looks like crayon on paper rather than something that is aesthetically pleasing. Whitaker needs to find the makeup of this character, his strength and weakness. One weakness is his virility—he’s unable to make his point in his first meeting with George.  The second is bringing in that history to his first appearance.  After not telling George, he has to confront his betrothed and tell her that he has failed. But his objective should be to find his strength for the purposes of marrying the girl!

John Wallace Combs is George Marden and does well for the most part.  There is a great deal of strength in his character especially in the latter half of the show, where his reality plays a crucial part in the play.  This part of his performance was tremendous. And if I could make a point about his costume; the costume for this pig farmer is immaculate, not a speck of dirt on his clothes, shoes, or anywhere. He must have been a supervisor, someone who doesn’t touch the pigs, the pen, or the food.  That aside, Combs gives the production a lot of vitality.

Roslyn Cohn plays Olivia Marden with so much heart it is heartbreaking when she doesn’t get what she wants.  As Mrs. Telworthy, she had a checkered past but now she is committed and she wants to be with this man the rest of her life.  The warmth presented in her smile goes beyond a simple gesture.  It has life and substantial meaning. Cohn is an outstanding actor and presents a persona and a character one loves to see in intimate theatre.   

Casey Jones plays Mrs. Marden. In this production, she seems to be George’s sister although the relationship is ambiguous enough to be anyone’s guess. That aside, Jones does well as Mrs. Marden, a woman who appears to have money and power.  In the original play, she is George Marden’s aunt, Lady Marden and she wields a kind of power that comes with the title.  Truth be told, Jones is too young for the original version of the role. But in this version, she appears to be a wealthy New Englander wanting to rid herself of her pesky sister-in-law.  Jones’ brings a lot of maniacal power to the role, in her beagling outfit, in the way she wants Olivia out of the picture.   

Laura Lee Walsh presents an impressive figure as Ann/Narrator.  She is very tall and has a wonderful voice.  While there is not a lot of meat to the role of Ann, Walsh would do well to find a stronger objective and recognize conflict inherent in the role of the character.  

Jeffrey Winner is Mr. Caraway Pim a man filled with so many mannerisms, it is difficult to determine to know what he wants. The mannerism, wonderful in construction, takes over the objective of the character. Relationships are the key to this character; his relationship to Dinah, to Anne, to Brian, Olivia, and George must be dramatically different for reasons known only to his being. The bottom line is his objective, how does he get it, and what gets in his way, the conflict.

Jacob Osborne will be playing Brian Strange from June 2nd through June 17th, 2018 but did not perform the night I was there.

There is little to fix with this production that Jules Aaron, the director, can fix. It mostly has to do with the relationships, the conflict, and the timing of what characters get what they want.  And these are moments that define the changes in relationships, boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, outside relative/unexpected guest, those relationships need defining, and change must somehow be profound and creative.  Through the course of this play – life-changing moments happen all of the time, and at inopportune moments – those moments must be realized.

Other members of the crew are as follows:

Michéle Young – Costume Designer
Ric Zimmerman – Lighting Designer
Gabrieal Griego – Sound Designer
Betsy Paull-Rick – Stage Manager
Richard Carner – Assistant Stage Manager
Susan Mermet – Assistant Director
Phillip Sokoloff – Public Relations

Run! And take someone who love A.A. Mile’s work.

RESERVATIONS: (310) 364-0535.
ONLINE TICKETING: www.theatre40.or

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Giant Void in My Soul by Bernardo Cubría

Top: Kim Hamilton, Bottom: Karla Mosley

By Joe Straw


Sometimes something comes along that is, at first glance, startling and then manages, by the very nature of theatre, to capture the imaginative spirit.  It is rare when you come across a new play that is breathtaking, breathtaking in the way that it fills the senses and settles the intellectual beast within.

There is a dramatic intimacy in Bernardo Cubria’s work of art, a fire breathing, soul searching familiarity that leaves one delightfully lightheaded when stepping out into the cool night air.  

The Ammunition theatre company presents The Giant Void in My Soul, written by Bernardo Cubría, and supremely directed by Felix Solís, is now playing at the Pico Playhouse through June 3, 2018.

Cubría has written a play that respires the human condition and defines it exquisitely, all for the benefit of understanding the human kind.  This play is a major work of art that veers off from heightened realism to highlight the struggles of humanity - all realized in a clown costume.   

Solís, the director, has overseen and has executed a show that is almost flawless. The moment the performers step onto the stage their eyes reflect a deep objective and a history of the character.  Solís is a master craftsman and what we see is the craft, brilliantly implemented, and exceptional in every conceivable way.

Let it be clowns to help us understand the deeper meaning of life.

But what is it about this particular play that touches so many humanistic chords? Simply put, it is the story of the human condition, and the searching of a salvation that will fill the void.

Funny, but, when we enter the theatre we are face to face with a red curtain, blocking our view, that bathes us in an eerie red shadow.  Cramped behind the red cloth, knee to keen, elbows to elbows, there is unusual feeling of wanting out, or wanting more until the curtains slowly open.  

Fool 1 (Karla Mosley) and Fool 2 (Kim Hamilton) are the best of friends.  In real life, they don the articles of comic entertainers, in white clown suits, in clown makeup, and painted faces – the works. They are inseparable juvenile clowns excited to be making their place in the world.

They speak to create an original thought or the one thought that would change the world.

On two grey sawhorses they sit, one sawhorse with fur fabric and the other with a plain leathery fabric that one might find in a three-ring circus to hold back the humanistic throngs of indulgent fans or wild animals.

Tonight, they grow tired of the banter that leads them into cavernous pit of self-doubt until a red bow falls from the sky and that “falling star” sends them into a tizzy.

Seriously, clowns take life exponentially, which is why they are clowns.

The bow unfolds – a tattered piece of red cloth – but, exponentially now, a small red curtain. But, what does it all mean?  

And through a ceremonious inclination Fool 2 places the red curtain in front of Fool 1’s eyes and lifts it as Fool 1 immerses herself.  And through the act of mental inertia Fool 1 feels a strong need to fill a giant void that is now in her soul.

So, they sally forth on an incredible clown journey, with copious resources in hand, to that place, in a faithful act of fulfillment and gratuitous suppostions.  

This would be, beyond a doubt, the finest cast ensemble I have seen in intimate theatre. 

L - R Claudia Doumit, Kim Hamilton, Karla Mosley

Karla Mosley is Fool 1 who rides the sawhorse of naivety, grows up, has a child, and is still a clown, always searching for something to fill the void. Mosley is terrific in the role, a clement clown that wants only one thing. Mosley gives an outstanding performance.

Kim Hamilton is Fool 2, a clown that has aged wisely and leisurely seeks to discover something that is not.  But she takes the journey for the sake of her friend.  It is a crash and burn journey, still things turn out well because she waits and listens. Hamilton conveys the strength in this character nicely. She also presents a deep concentration while in her character, one that sends a delicious shiver down one’s spine.

Claudia Doumit has a number of roles as the Bartender/Woke 1/Deep Thinker/Partner; in each role, she is decidedly different.  Doumit has a very sultry look, (despite the wonderful clown makeup) and is incredible in each role.  She has a level of concentration one rarely finds in intimate theatre and her physical performance was inventive and joyous to watch.

Top: Liza Fernandez, Bottom: Claudia Doumit

Liza Fernandez was also outstanding as Drunk/Woke 2/ Coworker/Baby/Parent.  Her round face works perfectly as the Drunk and as the crying Baby.  But there is more to her than just the look as she glides effortlessly throughout the night in her performances.

There are three actors who did not perform the night I was there.  Xochitl Romero (Fool 1 understudy), Malorie Felt (Bartender/Woke1/Deep Thinker/Partner understudy), Karen Sours Albisua (Drunk/Woke 2/Coworker/Baby/Parent understudy) and Liza Fernandez will move into the Fool 2 role on May 27th 2018.

The extraordinary Producer on this project were Julie Bersani, Michael Feldman, and Bernardo Cubría.

Sami Rattner, Costume Design, and Lighting Design by Lauren Wemischner paint a brilliant chiaroscuro as the white clown costume blend in with the natural colors of their mood in yellows, blue, and reds. It is mesmerizing in its effect.

Mischa Stanton’s Sound Design takes us through another time and place.  It places the audience in the void and helps us to come out.

Erica Smith’s Makeup Design, the clown makeup, highlights the individual characteristic of each clown that helps to send us on a delirious journey.

Arian Saleh was the Composer, and Brian Nichols was responsible for the Projection Design.

Run! Run! Run! Run!  And take someone who likes to explore the intimate details of all things.

The Pico
10508 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90064

Saturday, May 12, 2018

SOLO MUST DIE: A Musical Parody Book by Jordan and Ari Stidham Music and Lyrics by Hughie Stone Fish and Ari Stidham

L - R Hughie Stone Fish, Jordan Stidham, Ari Stidham - Photos by Aaron Tocchi

By Joe Straw

Hugh (John Ryan) has a highly active imagination as he waits for his friend, who is always late, Colm (Jordan R. Coleman).  The purpose of the meeting is for Colm to read his script - a musical parody of the movie Star Wars.

But when Colm arrives late he is not too interested, says he doesn’t read English, and really wants no part of it until he does. After all, Colm implies he’s done it, read it, heard it, and smelled the Star War stories inside out, outside in.  There’s nothing much left in the genre. 

Sitting and reading the script Colm doesn’t see the light, feel the action, or hear the John Williams music.  

But, that doesn’t deter Hugh.  Not one bit as Colm is handed the script and characters suddenly appear on stage.

Grand Moff Levine (Ari Stidham) loves to break the fourth wall and interact with the audience mostly urging them on to applaud his being onstage. (A little less of this would work.) Grand Moff Levine is the good guy or likes to think of himself that way.  

(This Moff is a healthier version than the pale; sickly looking Peter Cushing who played him in the films.)

Grand Moff Levine is the protagonist, but how good can you be when you want to kill Han Solo (Jordan Stidham) who has just crash-landed on the planet in Cloud City?

Well you sit down, or something, talk to your second wife Galaxia (Selorm Kploanyi) and your daughter Annie (Kaitlyn Tanimoto) and come up with a plan to rid the galaxy of Han Solo in order to gain favor from the dark side of the force.  

Jordan Stidham, Keenan Montgomery

Han, in another location, needs a place to crash (pun intended) and he meets with Lando (Keenan Montgomery) to see if he can hang at his pad while he gets the Millennium Falcon together.  Lando says okay and goes to sleep, cape flowing behind as he escapes to his bedroom.

Meanwhile everyone wants something from Han, and Han, with time management issues, wants to cram his life with adventures, every single moment until the end, until Han Solo is dead, dead, dead.  

SOLO MUST DIE: A Musical Parody book by Jordan & Ari Stidham, Music & Lyrics by Hughie Stone Fish & Ari Stidham, and Directed by Ari Stidham through May 27th, 2018 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard on theatre row in Hollywood.  

“Solo…” is a musical parody and in that aspect one must have a familiarity to the films to get most of the jokes but it is not a necessity.  The music by Hughie Stone Fish is enjoyable, keeps the night moving at light speed, and overall the show is entertaining from top to bottom.  

Tevyn Cole keeps the night lively with his choreography that is enjoyable and manages to give light to the parody.

Ari Stidham, director, co-writer, stagehand, makeup artist, and as Grand Moff Levine has a lot on his plate, but seems to be having the time of his life. (One would suggest that he wear a belt to keep things up nice and tidy.)  One get’s the mustache, but not the beard for this character.  Grand Moff Levine has his reason for wanting Han dead and he moves in that direction for the most part. A parody is something that accentuates a trait of a character to an extraordinary degree and one is not sure how this is a Grand Moff parody. Also, the show needs a better ending.

Jordan Stidham, Co-Writer, and plays Han Solo takes a while to get used to but then manages to capture the night in wig and song. Stidham has a charm and is funny throughout the night. If adventure is what Han wants, Stidham should be searching and finding creative ways to find it every moment he is on stage.

Alex Lewis plays a number of characters Greedo, Kylo Ren, Postmate and others and has a nice presence on stage and manages to keep the action moving with those characters.

Jordan R. Coleman does some nice work as Colm, mostly stage right with expressive facial expressions.  It is difficult to determine what Colm’s objective is in the manner he is dismissive of his friend’s work. Coleman also plays Rogue One Leia.

Luke hasn’t got much to do played by Sean Draper in this musical parody mostly because he is not the lead in a musical that is called “Solo Must Die”. He also plays the real Darth Vader (not the one with a bucket over his head) and Priest.

Zach Green plays Jabba The Hut and as strong as the character is on film, I don’t remember the parody of this particular character.  Possibly, more needs to be added.

Cooper Karn has a very nice look and presence as Chewbacca and a definitive charm on stage.

Selorm Kploanyi is exceptional as Galaxia.  She is an excellent actor with a wonderful voice and also a character that needs more time on stage, and one more song preferably a solo that highlights her voice.  The lipstick was space age and wonderful.

Keenan Montgomery as Lando is smooth.  The character Lando is a shade seedier than Solo and is ambiguous enough for the audience to never get a handle on what he wants.  Lando would sell his mother for a cracker and a nice slice of Brie. There is much to like in Montgomery’s performance and in his singing voice.  

John Ryan is rather impish as Hugh, a character who thinks like the thousands living in Hollywood today that think they have created the next Star Wars.  His beliefs are bigger than his imagination and we never get a final resolution to the character as Ryan also hops into the C3P0 and J. J. Binks roles.

Kaitlyn Tanimoto is enjoyable as Annie, Grand Moff’s daughter, who is never satisfied with her life or the things that her father is trying to accomplish. (A typical daughter).  Tanimoto is enjoyable as an actor and singer.

Selorm Kploanyi, Ari Stidham

Michelle Wicklas has a strong presence on stage and is a trouper when it comes to operating BB8 (A white ball with duct tape and a pasta sieve).  She also plays Smart House and Yoda.  But, whenever she is on stage her craft is prevalent and the force is strong with this one.  

There is no credit for costumes but the costumes were just enough to give flavor to the characters on stage.

Steven Brandon, Producer, Ashley Tavares, Co-Producer, and Alex Lewis, Co-Producer give life and support to a large cast and musical accompaniment to the singers on stage.

Jimmy McCammon was the Tech Director/Stage Manager. Nora Feldman was Public Relations.

While there is really no one particular song by Hughie Stone Fish that a person sings on the way out of the theatre all is not lost. (Cats only had one song.) The singers are remarkable, personable, and give strength to the genre and that’s more than half the battle.

The Act One Finale parodies Les Misérables and was wonderful.

B - L to R - Michelle Wicklas, Alex Lewis, Cooper Karn, Sean Draper, 
F - Jordan Stidham, Keenan Montgomery

Telephone: 323-960-7788

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Intimacy Effect by Jeff Tabnick

Jordana Oberman and Tim Fannon

By Joe Straw

Extended through May 13th, 2018

Appel: noun – a tap or stamp of the foot, formerly serving as a warning of one’s intent to attack, but now also used as a feint. –
Amy Appel (Toni Christopher) was crying, alone, at her dinning room table, in a cozy—more like confining—apartment. 

Tonight, the severity of her tears is astonishing. It was just a quiet gathering of family, (the gathering probably caused it) and a sense of loneliness possibly aggravated her sense of being.

Across the table from her was an empty baby’s high chair, which is probably the saddest sight known to human kind but this is not the reason for her tears, or maybe it was.

(And for the love of God, what was that noise out in the lobby of the theatre?) 

No, that’s not right. 

There was noise of people talking and it is in the hallway of Amy and Matt’s apartment building. Matt Appel (Tim Fannon) welcomes his brother, Doug Appel (Robert Bella), and his wife, Merrily Appel (Jordana Oberman), as they arrive for a visit.

Doug remarks the apartment might be 800 square feet but a somber Matt tells him that it’s only 600 square feet. A bit of downsizing here, I wonder why?

Matt instructs them to take off their shoes before walking around.

There is something offsetting in Matt’s manner on his 40th birthday, his jaw is clenched, and his head bolted upright.  It is his birthday and his wife is drawing attention to herself, yet again, and it’s really not his fault, nothing is really ever his fault, whatever that fault may be.

Anyway, Matt is cooking and doesn’t want to discuss Amy’s problem. Still he’s rather perturbed by the discussion in the dinning room as he bangs pans and dishes in the kitchen.  A diversion perhaps?

L - R Jordana Oberman, Cassidy Schiltz, Tim Fannon and Toni Christopher

And Merrily goes to the source of the problem—to Amy’s side, offers a solicitude, and then stares at everyone to get a sense of what is happening.

Baby Jesse (now two and not seen) is all right. She is with Amy’s mother, so she is not the immediate cause of concern.  There’s something else and it will come out later.  There are important adult things to discuss, so the baby needs to be out of the way.

JTK Productions presents the West Coast Premiere of Jeff Tabnick’s new drama The Intimacy Effect directed by Eric Hunicutt at The Lounge Theatre.

The Intimacy Effect by Jeff Tabnick is an exceptional night of theatre that explores the harshest moments of reality in the most intimate way.  It is a production that deserves more than one viewing, if only to catch the nuances as characters receive and dispense the information during the course of the evening.

L - R Robert Bella, Cassidy Schiltz, Tim Fannon, Jordana Oberman, Toni Christopher

Toni Christopher is outstanding as Amy Appel a woman who has an insatiable craving for one thing from her husband but is unable to find the right words to make him understand.  The conversation moves in a direction for which she will have no part in.  There is only one thing she is after and she will not let go, not tonight, and not ever.  Christopher is solid in this outing and gripping in her determination to leave no stone unturned.

Tim Fannon as Matt Appel is offbeat, living on the downbeat of life because of his temper.  His anger is a mistake and one that cost him dearly and probably the reason for downsizing in this apartment barely fit for three.  Tonight, Matt can’t face his wife, the discourse that needs to be addressed and resolved.  The odd thing is that Matt doesn’t think that he has done anything wrong and rather than talk to his wife about the problem he shifts the conversation to another significant topic one that threatens to destroy his brother’s life.  One doesn’t see much of the anger or temper in this character but rather a man that wants to move in the right direction.  The hit comes way too late and then comes off as things boys do.

There is something sinister in Robert Bella’s portrayal of Doug Appel.  Bella gives a performance that would be ideal to see more than once to gage if his reactions are sincere to the action on stage. His inner dialogue suggests a man of indecorous ferocity, a moral discontent, and one who cares little about who he hurts, whether it’s his brother or his sister-in-law, not to mention his wife. And, in the end, he seems not to care who he harms.  When the truth is presented to him, in small increments, his mendacious manner suggests he was not the slightest bit concerned.  Maybe there are better choices to be made for this character.

Jordana Oberman is wonderful as Merrily Appel.  The name Merrily suggests the person is kind and willing to go along with what the others have to offer. Merrily has the intrinsic quality of being a happy homemaker with a wonderful family and a giving husband, but little does she know.  The downside to Merrily is that she is slightly daft in not seeing the truth before her eyes and the truth keeps getting bigger and bigger until it is finally blurted out, and in black and white. That is when she finally grasps the reality of the night.  Oberman is an actor that displays a tremendous craft, and just enough nuances to keep one guessing the entire night.  It’s just terrific work.

Cassidy Schiltz plays Jennifer as a somber pregnant woman who invades the household without having any idea of knowing anyone in the room (can’t give away too much here). Jennifer is a woman who enters with a position of strength and purpose.  She should not lose that purpose but she becomes confused by the players and the outcome before she wanders off.

Jeff Tabnick’s play is fascinating starting with the last names of four of the characters, Appel, a fencing term.  And looking back at what happened it almost falls in line with what the character are doing.  The characters are constantly attacking and engaging in ways one would conceive a fencing match. But, instead of foils, their words cut deep, as all tattered personage barely survive the night.

The director Eric Hunicutt manages to showcase the actors in all of their glory.  The production is layered with intimate details, shadowy vibrations, and sideway feints to protect the least guilty.

Matt and Amy have a secret, and their inscrutable intentions are difficult to understand. What are their motives for inviting the other couple when they require a dedicated and meaningful night’s discussion about their own family?

Matt Appel doesn’t think he has a problem and wants to avoid the discussion at all costs.  So he employs a diversion.  He’s angry that he doesn’t have a significant job and he takes it out on his successful brother.  Doug must pay the price.  This seems to be the direction; the dialogue is ambiguous enough that the characters engage in hiding secrets from their significant others and used diversion tactics to steer the conversation in another direction.

The inner dialogue moments – where one character speaks while the others are frozen - works for the most part - but there are other similar moments where the non-speaking characters are not really frozen.  Those moments need to be clearly defined and performed in a way that is unique to the purpose at hand and character objectives.    

Also, the movement in dialogue, should be clearly defined in the ways the characters respond to information.  As an example, the dialogue at the table with the three at the table and Matt in the kitchen making a bunch of racket, wanting to move the infelicitous conversation in another direction.

Doug Appel is a successful lawyer on his way to securing a judgeship but his costume does not suggest that.  (Costume Design by Serena Duffin) It might have worked better to have this character in a coat and tie to give him the advantage of appearing to be the most successful of the gathering.

The Intimacy Effect gives us another reason to venture out to see intimate theatre in Los Angeles. Given the stormy vicissitudes over the course of the night the production is ambiguous enough to wonder if any of the relationships will survive. And, that is the mark of great theatre.

Michael Fitzgerald’s Set Design looked eerily familiar to The Rabbit Hole and was effective.

Other members of the crew are as follows:

Jesse Baldridge – Lighting Design
Jason Whitton – Sound Design
Darren Bailey – Fight Choreographer
Schuyler Helford – Assistant Director
Mark Gokel – Stage Manager
Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio – Associate Producer

Run! Run! Run!  And take the person you most admire, with plans to speak about that person’s one little fault.

The Lounge Theatre
6201 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA  90038

Reservations:  800-838-3006