Sunday, November 13, 2022

Belleville by Amy Herzog

 

Heidi Ramee - Photos by Maria Proios

By Joe Straw

 

Abby (Heidi Ramee) seems to have everything going for her as she opens the door to the entryway of her beautiful apartment in Paris, France.  She’s young, beautiful, yoga fit, and outward appearances suggest she has the world at her feet.

 

She settles inside her apartment and walks into her bedroom.  She screams and steps back out.

 

Zach (Tomas Pais), a tall and majestic figure, walks out of the bedroom pulling up his pants.  It’s obvious they have a relationship; they are married, and she has caught him masturbating while on his computer.   

 

Abby is okay, just a little startled.  She wasn’t expecting him home so early in the day.

 

“Zach, what are you doing here?” – Abby

 

Crimson Square Theatre Company presents Belleville by Amy Herzog. Directed by Benjamin Burt, produced by Crimson Square Theatre Company in Association with Beverly Hills Playhouse & Cheshire Moon, Inc. through November 20, 2022 at the Beverly Hills Playhouse.

 

Zach, a little ruffled and unshaven, says that he was taking the day off, nothing was going on, and they wouldn’t miss him at Doctors Without Borders.  He says he must clean up, feeling a little moist, and walks into the bathroom to take a shower.

 

While in the shower Alioune (Andrew Tyree) the landlord knocks on the door. Alioune wants to speak with Zach.  Abby says Zach is in the shower, and Alioune says he’ll come back another time, but she insists that he is welcome to come in and wait.

 

Small talk on the couch as Abby gets uncomfortably and intimately close to Alioune when a towel wrapped Zach tiptoes off into the bedroom. Alioune moves away and sensing something and Abby has an angry moment in the conversation that catches him off guard, but he manages to remain calm.

 

L - R Andrew Tyree and Thomas Pais

 

 

Zach, knowing what Alioune is there for, comes out of the bedroom and immediately heads for his stash so they can smoke together. Abby excuses herself and heads into the bedroom.

 

Although Alioune participates and is now somewhat relaxed, he is there for one purpose only, to collect the rent. He tells Zach that he has put up with him because they are friends, but he is now four months behind in rent and his boss is starting to get angry.   

 

Zach blames Abby for spending a lot of money on Christmas gifts, plus she has psychological and pharmacological issues, and Zach promises that he will get Alioune the money tomorrow.

 

Moments in this beautiful apartment suddenly become disquieting when information released puts the audience into a head spin leading us into a terrifying sense of upheaval within the relationships.  Ms. Herzog, the writer, leads us every step of the way with small moments that questions our inner beliefs as to what side we should be on. And all of this takes place within the course of a day as each bit of information is released. Why would we not believe a “doctor” when he is only trying to help his wife with all her emotional problems, the constant worrying about her pregnant sister, and talking with her dad on a regular basis? He comforts and soothes her worries, doctors her bleeding foot, and takes her phone away from her when she is intoxicated.  What?  And all is not right with the “doctor in wonderland”, head of the household, and the truly responsible financial party, becomes, within each waking moment, more emotionally terrifying especially when slipping behind the hanging beads into the kitchen only to appears with a large kitchen knife.  Every moment sends us into the terrifying ending.

 

Benjamin Burt, the director, has directed a wonderful production. Each second is carefully crafted giving us tidbit of a relationship that may not endure, and he does that one step at a time. It is rare in small theatre, or any theatre at all for that matter, that the acting is that finely tuned.  The moments accumulate to the terrifying ending, the doors are not locked, and there is no way out of that apartment. This direction of this play would rank as one of the finest works I’ve seen in a very long time.

 

Heidi Ramee is excellent as Abby. Abby has talked about going to Paris for five years before her husband decided to move them there. But while there, Abby has not tried to learn the language, she is afraid of riding on the metro, the people that bother her and the trouble she can get into. She is happy to teach her yoga classes but taking her medicine to ease her mental suffering belies something deeper in their relationship. Also, she seems totally oblivious to his job and the money they have in their bank account.

 

Tomas Pais is equally excellent as Zach a man who on the outside has many wonderful qualities. He is fit, pleasant to be around, and seems knowledgeable on many subjects including the welfare of his wife and his in-laws. His physical appearance shows the clink in his armor with the unkept hair and the scruffy beard. Certainly not the look of a gentleman, or a doctor. But things start unraveling as information comes to light and managing the information has him on edge especially when his stash of weed dwindles down to the forgotten scraps in the bottom on the can. As Zach’s world seems to shrink, he grasps his Ulna bone of his wrists and squeezes it in a very nice character trait.

 

Andrew Tyree is also exceptional as Alioune. A neighbor, a friend, a smoking buddy, and the landlord.  He is in a small dilemma first with his boss and secondly with his wife who knows nothing about his use of weed. He tries to be the best friend, but money always gets in the way.  And when his friend crosses the line there is no turning back.  Tyree is excellent in the role.

 

Olabisi Kovabel

 

 

Olabisi Kovabel is Amina, Alioune’s wife. She is at home with the baby and hardly able to come out to find out what’s going on.  But she has an inkling as to what might be happening. Amina has trouble believing that Zach is responsible and seems to take out her frustration against Abby especially when Abby is intoxicated. Kovabel has a strong presence on stage and is very enjoyable in the role.  

 

Beautiful set design was by CS Build Team and the set construction was by Thomas Pais, yes, the same man playing Zach. The work was wonderful.

 

Nancy Paley was responsible for the Wardrobe, and it did indeed look European!

 

Faye Viviana was the Executive Producer and the show was magnificently produced.  

There were also excellent sounds reverberating from various places baby noises compliments of Miles Cooper and Jeffrey Sun.  And very nice music by Jacob Yoffee.  

 

Shannon Spangler, Sean McBride, DeMarcus Brooks, and Yaya Ogun were understudies and did not perform the night I was there.

 

Other members of the crew are as follows:

 

Karla Kamm – Associate Producer

Jeffry Sun – Head Stage Manager

Derrick McDaniels – Lighting Designer

Sandra Kuker – Publicist

Jessica Ott – House Manager

Jeffrey Sun – Graphic Design

V3 Productions & Karla Kamm – Marketing/Social Media

 

You’ve got one week to see this incredible show.

 

Run! Run! Run! And take a lover.

 

For information and tickets:  www.crimsonsquare.org or www.onstage411.com/belleville or call (323) 657-5992

 

 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Rent – book, music, & lyrics by Jonathan Larson

L - R Eddie Vona, Ricky Abilez and Mitchell Johnson - Photos by John Klopping

 

By Joe Straw

 

One has been to The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles one other time to see a terrific production Nice Fish written by premier Shakespearian actor Mark Rylance and author/poet Louis Jenkins.

 

Parking is a little difficult, so it is best to come early.

 

Entering the theatre, one notices the stage surrounds the seating.  Office chairs with no arms (the kind they give temporary workers) are used to view the action all around with instructions not to go beyond the green stars on the floor. A first thought was that patrons would push themselves in and around the circle, but everyone was polite and stayed within their own circular motion, using the one-foot swivel turn, or the bunny hop turn, the silly spin, or simply moving their necks to uncomfortable positions.  All works and all moves are allowed.  One thinks a younger audience, more involved, would participate more to the actions on stage.

 

Jonathan Larson’s Rent at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles is a wonderful work of art and the folks at Courage Ensemble do justice to his legacy. It is an inspired movement of the creative forces that survive and thrive from the lower east side on Manhattan, bohemians saturated in garment district clothing, barely subsiding in tenement buildings. If you have or haven’t seen it in any incarnation, you should run to see this production.

 

No one is shy about adapting someone else’s art to their own styling, Rent is an adaptation of La bohème by Giacomo Puccini, which was also based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. Be that as it may, in the world of art all is accepted.

 

So as the story goes Mark (Eddie Vona) is a filmmaker, or a storyteller of sorts, and he is filming himself and his roommate (Roger) just to get something artistic down on film.  The tenement they live in does not have heat so they resort to burning manuscripts for heat knowing at any time the electricity will go off.  

 

Mark’s Mom (Carrie Madsen) calls just to check up on him.  Mark doesn’t answer her call.  And just for that mom says she found out that Maureen (Shanelle Darlene), his girlfriend, dumped him and ran into the arms of another woman.

 

L - R  Nicole Ledoux and Shanelle Darlene

 

 

Collins (Mitchell Johnson) a friend calls from a payphone outside his window and Mark throws down the key to his apartment.  But then Collins gets seriously mugged.

 

Seconds later Benny (Kevin Matsumoto) calls wanting to collect the rent. It’s money they don’t have and probably will never get the way they are going. They reminded Benny they were once roommates, before he married up, and remind him that he said they would never have to worry about the rent. Things have changed. But, catching up he finds that Joanne (Nicole Ledoux) is Maureen’s new girlfriend.

 

And then the electricity goes off.

 

A beaten Collins picks himself off the street and meets Angel (Ricky Abilez) a street drummer. There is an immediate attraction, and they both admit to having AIDS. And, then the relationship starts.  

 

Roger, Mark’s roommate, also has AIDS, notified by way of his girlfriend April who left a note saying, “We’ve got AIDS.” and then slits her wrists in the bathroom.  Now, he takes his AZT and besides not having any money he will not go out of the house. He stays home to write that one great song and happens to meet Mimi (Allie Aviles) dying from the cold and needing heat for her candle. But once she sees Roger there is an immediate attraction.  

 

In their struggles to be someone, to do something significant in their lives however brief that might be, they try to overcome the conflict in their lives to achieve those goals.  Two sources of conflict are rent and eviction. Some make it, others don’t. For today a temporary fix, to find an ounce of hope in a 16-ounce box of misery.

 

Reena Dutt directs an incredible cast giving life in 360-degree view. It is an inspired vision that has actors in and out and using every space imaginable. Despite the misery, their goals are beautiful, and Dutt has them singing and dancing their hearts out.

 

Vicki Conrad’s work as Costume Designer gives us the exact time and place 1989 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

 

Rebecca Graul is the Musical Director, and her work is off the bohemian charts! On this night, due to unforeseeable circumstances, she calmly filled in the gap to a rousing and enthusiastic audience.  Dan Graul and Tom Zygmont added to the supreme enjoyment of the musical night.

 

Front L- R Graham Kurtz, Sofia Bragar, Ricky Abilez, Mitchell Johnson, Sean Cruz    

                  Back L - R Nicole Monet, Eddie Vona, Carrie Madsen, John “Rusty” Proctor

 

 

Eddie Vona is exceptional as Mark. Carlos Padilla, Jr.’s vocals on Glory were beautiful and set the tone or this musical in the right direction. Ellie Aviles (Mimi) lent love in all the right places. Mitchell Johnson (Collins) brought knowledge to the game. Ricky Abliez (Angel) is very sympathetic and with nothing to lose gains the most. Kevin Matsumoto (Benny) despite being the bad guy is prophetic when he says he will help. Nicole Ledoux (Joanne) is very angular and does a very nice tango. Shannnell Darlene (Maureen) puts everything into her performance despite being pulled in two different directions.

 

Sofia Bragar, Sean Cruz, Graham Kurtz, Carrie Madsen, Nicole Monet and John “Rusty” Proctor all fill in and in spectacular fashion to move the musical along as significant beings in the life of the people who live on the Lower East Side.

 

This is a huge undertaking for Kirk Wilson, Scenic Design, as the stage in 360 has been elaborately designed and works wonders to all that magically play on its stage.

 

The alternates that did not perform the night I was there are Ary Auxais, Shanna Beauchamp, Sofia Bragar, Nyx Ciel, Graham Kurtz, Danni Moreno, William Norris, Janet Song, and Danni Spring.

 

There is more to write, but little time to do so. Rent is a show that presents so many gifts that it’s impossible to accept them in one viewing.  Suffice it to say that Rent is a monster of a show that begs for you to come back again and again!

 

Other members of the crew are as follows:

 

Azra King-Abadi – Lighting Design

Dean Harada – Sound Design

Felicia Rein – Prop Design

Talya Camras – Production Stage Manager

Pedro Armendariz – Assistant Stage Manager

Tasheena Medina – Choreographer

Ellie Aviles – Associate Choreographer

Jo Ann Mendleson – Fight Choreographer

Carly DW Bones – Intimacy Director

John Klopping – Production Photographer

Ken Werther Publicity – Press Representative

Sara Holder – Dei Consultant

Kyle T. Hester – Graphic Designer

Darrell Morrison – Lead Carpenter

Matthew Case & Kaspar Abbo – Audio Engineers

 

Run! Run! Run! And take a very special friend.

 

And if you can’t make it consider a donation to this wonderful company at www.coeurage.org/donate, or through the VENMO account: @Coeurage.  Coeurage is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.  

 

 

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Man’s Favor Devil’s Plan by Kwik Jones

L - R Nic Few and Darrell Phillip - photos by Jermaine Alexander

 

By Joe Straw

 

There are a couple of things one can be sure of when venturing downtown to see a new project at The Robey Theatre Company. One is, the acting will be way above par, and the second is that the new works of art being presented will send you home questioning art as it relates to the social fabric of this country.

 

The Robey Theatre Company in association with The Los Angeles Theatre Center presents a world premiere – Man’s Favor Devil’s Plan written by Kwik Jones, directed by C. Julian White, and produced by Ben Guillory though November 20, 2022.

 

Man’s Favor Devil’s Plan was selected to be produced as part of the Robey 2022 Paul Robeson Theatre Festival readings and while one witnessed a play about “workers’ rights, women’s rights, mistreatment of the underrepresented…” one saw a play about oppression.

 

The play lies under the grim canopy of the great depression.  Black Americans, last on the employment list, fled their place or origin, for one reason or another, to find employment on the west coast in 1938 Los Angeles, California.  Currently some now find themselves working in Mr. Avery’s Hotel.

 

Ladie Nolan (Matt Jennings) stands mightily outside on the loading dock of the hotel. Spiffy in his bellhop uniform he dances.  His steps are sure and carefree as he glides from one side of the dock to the other while making sure no steps are missed and the timing is smooth.

 

Smooth until Mr. Avery (Darrell Phillip) steps out onto the dock, slightly disheveled, drenching from sweat, and taking a handkerchief to wipe the perspiration from his brow. There are no subtle allusions about this man.  He is the owner of the hotel, and he feels a need to keep workers in line and under his control.  

 

Ladie is about as agreeable as one can be but once the degrading words are spewed forth from Mr. Avery mouth it’s hard for him not to turn the other cheek.   

 

Without coming right out and saying it Mr. Avery is looking for DD Nolan (Ashlee Olivia Jones).  He makes mention of the fact that she is late. Ladie says she is at the doctor’s office this morning, and this concerns Mr. Avery.  

 

Set off in a primal moment Mr. Avery, who upon seeing Ladie’s watch, pulls a gun on him and tells him that it’s his.  (One believes it’s less about the watch and more about DD.) He places the gun back into his back waistband, gives the watch back to Ladie, and then offers him a sandwich with mustard.    

 

Mr. Avery says he wants to see DD as soon as she gets in not knowing that DD is hiding nearby before he makes his way upstairs.   

 

Nevertheless, to the order of business, Mr. Avery has Ladie watch for the truck bringing the entertainment that will save his hotel.  He confides to Ladie his father never believed that he could run this place and tonight will be the make-or-break deal.

 

And when DD comes out of hiding, she isn’t in a hurry to go see Mr. Avery.  DD says that she’s sick but preface that with, “I ain’t that type of sick.” To liven up the mood Ladie enlists DD to dance with him and they have a grand dance.

 

Butchie (Nic Few) steps out of the backdoor, getting a breath of fresh air, away from washing dishes and the kitchen.  It’s a job, slightly beneath his dignity, as he was once a boxer and doesn’t mind reliving those stories to anyone within earshot.  But he wants something better. A bellhop job would be nice, and Ladie is willing to teach him how to be nice to the customers and how to act.

 

L -R Ashlee Olivia Jones, Christina Childress, and Crystal Nix


 

 

Mabel Lynn (Christina Childress) steps out to fold laundry and tells DD say she has a bone to pick with Butchie.  She is in a little financial trouble and needs some help.

 

Kwik Jones has written a marvelous play where one just sits back and enjoy the dialogue. The characters are richly developed and three dimensional, each having a backstory that is projected through the dialogue. The play is brutally honest and oftentimes funny when black folks try to negotiate their lives beyond the lens of a white man’s world. Man’s Favor Devil’s Plan is a tragedy that sends a strong message to the onlooker and a play that stays with you weeks after you have seen it.

 

Time plays an important part in this piece. The physical is the pocket watch and the significant role it plays. There is a time element in the waiting. In their lives, the characters represent the beginning, middle, and end of their time.  These are the not so obvious elements that make this production soar under C. Julian White’s direction. His interpretation adds to the fascination of what the theatre, and in particular The Robey Theatre, is all about.

 

One generally doesn’t like coming on opening night realizing there are a few items that need the finishing details.  And the small items that need attention are the relationships.  Ladie and DD’s relationship is confusing mostly because DD is offstage when they were talking about her and then DD appears, and we are not sure who this woman is until someone mentions they are siblings. Also, other actors appear on stage without a finished purpose in mind. Mabel Lynn moves out into the dock and folds towels without a purpose as to why she is there. She is there for Butchie, but she doesn’t appear to seek his whereabouts.  

 

Christina Childress, as Mabel Lynn has very expressive eyes. She wants one thing but plays it close to her heart, possibly because of other relationships she has had. But she must feel that her current love interest is the one great last love that she will ever need. That her heart skips a beat when she spies him across the deck. Maybe that is another interpretation, or another choice that was tried and discarded. But one thinks in her case love wins out before it’s too late.

 

Nic Few plays Butchie and is tremendous in the role. Butchie won’t put up with much especially from his white counterpart. Being a former boxer, he knows what pain is about. He’s not afraid of any man. He is fearless and generous but makes one big mistake in the end. Does he get the watch back in the end?  One is not quite sure.

 

Matt Jennings plays Ladie Nolan a young man who will put up with the white man’s world.  He is slightly naïve but plays along and gets along in order to keep his job. He moves through life thinking he’s a wanted man, so it is in his best interest to keep a low profile. Possibly one thing missing in the character is someone who will protect his sister at all costs.  Which means keeping her away from their boss. Jennings last seen in One Way Ticket to Oregon grows in every performance.

 

Darrell Phillip and Ashlee Olivia Jones

 

 

Ashlee Olivia Jones is DD Nolan and is exceptional in the role. DD has a couple of secrets.  The first one is obvious when she admits “I ain’t that type of sick”. And while everyone (in the audience) knows what she is talking about the characters don’t respond or are indifferent. She also withholds a secret from her brother but once that information has been given the brother does not respond in a meaningful way and doesn’t propel the character into action or reaction. DD is in a predicament and the one thing that must weigh heavily throughout is, what is she going to do about it? Jones is a wonderful performer and there is always more to add to the character.

 

Crystal Nix as Ms. Pearl is always there to provide words of wisdom.  She is the focal point to help the others along in their daily struggle.  But Ms. Pearl hangs on to her secrets as well.  And that secret has given her the advantage to keep the rooms on the top floor that will give her better tips. She loses it all in the end, but she manages to keep the dignity she has left. It is a terrific performance.  

 

Darrell Phillips plays the ruthless, socially repugnant Mr. Avery.  In retrospect Mr. Avery is a beaten man and will take out his frustration on his employees who he considers chattel. He’d like to think of himself as a nice man, but his misguided generosity doesn’t sway anyone to come to his side.  And to level his playing field, he carries a gun to oppress those who step out of line. The ending is horrific as he takes out his cigarette, pastes his hair onto his head, and slightly disturbed waits. And, after all of that, Phillips is wonderful in the role.

 

Nathan Gary Stuffel’s stage design is impressive and is a work of art on The Robey stage. It’s the first thing one sees when entering the theatre and admires a great place for the actor to do their magic.

 

Run! Run! Run to see this new work of art.  And take a sociologist with you.  I did, and she got a little excited when she was moved enough to shout expletives toward the stage. Human interaction makes for an interesting night.

 

Other crew members who were also responsible for making the night a wonderful event are as follows:

 

JC Cadena – Associate Producer

C. Julian White – who directed was also responsible for the Sound Design

Jermaine Alexander – Video Editor/Production State Manager

Carlos Vasquez – Assistant Stage Manager

Jason Mimms – Graphic Artist

Benedict Conrad – Lighting Designer

Naila Aladdin Sanders – Assistant Costume Designer

Phillip Sokoloff – Publicist

Dylan Southard – Dramaturg

Jan Bouldin Blunt – Choreographer

Caesar Bijou – Carpenter

Marva Smith Robey Development

Princess Guillory – Food & Wine Coordinator

Akosua Hobert – Friends of Robey Volunteer Coordinator 

 

Tickets:  https://ci.ovationtix.com/28125/production/1140735

 

 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

All in the Timing Six One Act Plays + Mere Mortals by David Ives

 

L - R Melodie Shih, Patrick Warburton and Talon Warburton - Production Stills by Chris Devlin

By Joe Straw 9

 

David Ives has plays running all over Los Angeles, in a few short months one has seen “Metromaniacs” an adaptation at Theatre 40 and “All in the Timing” at the Zephyr both were excellent productions.

 

The best thing one can say about David Ives’ work is that he has a warped sense of humor trapped in a bizzarro world, and he uses those ideas to create works that ring an existential truth and one that also delves in a deeper meaning of life.  

 

All in the Timing, a 90-minute series of one-acts, written by David Ives and directed by Michael Yavnieli is now playing through November 20 at the Zephyr Theatre on Melrose in Los Angeles, California.

 

All in the Timing is a lot of fun with marvelous performances all around. The one-acts are wonderfully directed by Michael Yavnieli. The work is excellent and there is something here for everyone to enjoy. And you get Patrick Warburton to boot. If there is one show you should run to see in Los Angeles this weekend, this should be that show.

 

Also, the show features animation that will delight, excite the senses, and/or annoy depending on your frame of mind. And that was created by Ron Yavnieli.

 


 

 

When one walks into the Zephyr Theatre one sees a pipe projected on the upstage wall with a caption underneath labeled “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (this is not a pipe). Your job may be to discern the meaning of that statement given what you believe is before your eyes.

 

Each of the one-acts takes place on August 21 in various years and the one that is verifiable is 08/21/1940 the death of Leon Trotsky.   

 

Taylor Behrens and Meadow Clare

 

 

“Sure Thing” takes place in a café.  Betty (Meadow Clare) is waiting when Bill (Taylor Behrens) interrupts her to get to know her. But as these things go each has a second chance to make good on the relationship simply by ringing the bell and beginning again at the break-off point.  

 

Meadow Clare and Taylor Beherns are exceptional in the roles and neither miss a step to get what they want. Their work was superb.

 

L-R Bill Butts, Talong Warburton, and Patrick Warburton

 

 

“Mere Mortals” appears to be about high-rise construction workers based on the animation of a bird flying by a construction site.  Joe (Bill Butts), Frank (Talon Warburton) and Charlie (Patrick Warburton) get ready to lunch and for the most part a normal day.  But this is no ordinary day, they want to throw away the mundane, and speak as to why they are exceptional. And the truth is, well the truth flies out the window.  

 

Patrick Warburton led this group with his dry deadpan delivery, the squinting eyes, and remarkable timing.  Bill Butts and Talon Warburton follow suit with their words of deception and one-upmanship.

 

 

L-R Melodie Shih, Maram Kamal and Meadow Clare

 

“Words, Words, Words” is the story of three chimps, who somehow or another have been captured and given life until infinity. The goal of the unseen researchers and their hypothesis that, given time, chimps can write “Hamlet”. Possibly not these chimps who can barely peck a manual typewriter, but they are able to speak English. Given a chance to present, they revert to ape form and start screeching when things are not going their way. The researchers have given the writers names: Swift after Jonathan Swift, Kafka for Franz Kafka and Milton for John Milton. Swift (Meadow Clare) is a chimp that barely stands upright.  Milton (Melodie Shih) screeches with the best of them. And Kafka (Maram Kamal) is an introspective chimp and the one moving in the right direction.

 

Marma Kamal’s Kafka is low-key and is concentrating on her work but ignores the antics of her partners in crime. If Kafka is moving the right direction, she must prove it to her partners before the ending. Swatting away the lice picking friend and closing her ears to the screeching are the annoyances of the learning processes and must lead her back to the typewriter.  

 

Just to step aside for a moment, the one-acts directed under Michael Yavnieli starts getting better and better.  

 

Mark Haan and Tania Gonzalez - Photo by Maram Kamal

 

 

“The Universal Language” is the story of Dawn (Tania Gonzalez) wanting to come into a language program to cure a stutter. (That’s what the program said but I don’t remember the stutter at all.) Nevertheless Don (Mark Haan) wants to teach Dawn a new language “Unamunda” and it’s going to cost Dawn a lot of money that she doesn’t have. Don starts the lesson right away. Dawn picks up the language and by the end of it she is fluent. Haan and Gonzalez make an incredible duo in this play, playing off each other, moving along in a language not their own. Haan has a strong voice and Gonzalez makes the most of her moments. Both are wonderful.

 

“The Philadelphia” is a state of mind.  Unsuspectingly it captures Mark (Talon Warburton), and he is absolutely lost when the waitress (Melodie Shih) can’t get his order.  It’s up to Al (Patrick Warburton) to explain to Mark the manner to which he has been captured and the resolution to the problem.  

 

“Variations on the Death of Trotsky” Leon Trotsky was a politician and a theorist who escaped from Siberia twice after being arrested and later in life is found, to his detriment, living in Mexico City. It is here the play takes place after an ice axe has already struck his head. Trotsky survives the attack for a time and continues to work with the help of Mrs. Trotsky (Maram Kamal) while his attacker Romón (Mark Haan) watches his slow demise. It’s hard watching a character on stage walking around with an ice axe in his head. (Actually, his parietal bone) But that is how Trotsky (Talon Warburton) live and died. (08/21/1940)

 

One can imagine all that went on after the axe went through his skull, the chaos, the screaming, the medical attention, and the shedding of tears but none of that happened.  There may be more the actors can include to highlight their performances including the killer who waits for death and the concerned wife.

 

Run! Run! Run!  And take someone who enjoys the heck out of crossword puzzles.  They’ll enjoy talking about the word play in this offering on the way home.  

 

All in the Timing Six one Act Plays + Mere Mortals was produced by Western Warburton in association with MY / Acting Studios.  The Executive Producer was Patrick Warburton and produced by Tania Gonzalez and Michael Yavnieli.  

 

Other members of the crew are as follows:

 

Nick Foran – Production Design

Angelica Diaz Estevez – Production Stage Manager

Sandra Kuker PR – Publicist

Tania Gonzalez – Music Supervisor

Emmy Newman – House Manager

Chris Devlin – Graphic Design

 

 

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