Archive for March, 2010

ENCORE L’AMOUR! at Highways, 4/16 to 4/18

March 29, 2010

April 16th, 17th and 18th will be a very special weekend of performances at Highways Performance Space, celebrating the departure of a great artist.

Nathalie Broizat is being expelled from the U.S, and is providing us with one last production.  This is through no fault of her own.  She is a fantastic artist, caught up in the politics that trample artists, and disourage cutural exchange.

Mixing theater and dance, Broizat creates a poetic and metaphorical world with French cabaret influences. ENCORE L’AMOUR! will include live music by the stylish, soulful accordion led combo Mad Alsacians.

Broizat has recently been seen in TOHUBOHU, under the direction of Rachel Rosenthal.

Thematic content includes:  Dance/ Movement, Love, Highbrow, Live Music

ENCORE L’AMOUR! runs from 4/16 to 4/18 $20
F,Sa 8:30pm Sn 7pm
Map of Highways Performance Space
Buy Tickets
Visit the Highways website
Visit the Nathalie Broizat website

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Thomas Hampton Reviews THE EVENT -Needtheater at Son of Semele

March 25, 2010

When I saw THE JAMB back in early ’10, I got in a huff about the fourth wall, and self reflexive theater.  The goals productions are attempting to achieve are now much clearer to me, after seeing this stunningly executed one act, THE EVENT.

This production of John Clancy’s short one man show, directed by Ian Forester, is certainly written for a crowd that has already fallen in love with the theater.  Paul Dillon narrates our communal experience, slowly unraveling the artifice of the performance, the relevance of the crew, and the unspoken contract between the audience, actor, and critic.

Dillon’s brash, no nonsense attack on Clancy’s words is the perfect fit.  None of the simple, yet effective, theatrical tricks up their sleeves are forced.  And the result is incredibly effective.

THE EVENT attempts to preempt and silence the thoughts in your head, muffling your inner dialogue.  And then it steers you towards the understanding that the event itself is the simple act of communication.  And the only way to truly communicate is face to face; live and in person.  A give and take including physicality as well as emotion, information, personality, disorder, and discomfort.

Thus the question; what are we in danger of losing as we avoid true communication through technological complication? Or perhaps, have we passed the tipping point, and our loss, quite simply, has not yet been understood?

Thematic content includes:  Highbrow, Humor, Singing

THE EVENT runs from 3/2 to 3/25 $15
EXTENDED 3/26 &3/27
T,W,Th,F,Sa 8pm
Map of Son of Semele
Buy Tickets
Visit the Son of Semele website
Visit the Needtheater website

*THE EVENT runs in conjunction with THE INTERVIEW (which follows an intermission.)

Press Photos of THE EVENT -Needtheater at Son of Semele

March 24, 2010

THE EVENT, starring Paul Dillon, is in its closing week at Son of Semele.  Here are some production stills.


See and download the full gallery on posterous

Photo by Jason Paul Bennett

Thematic content includes:  Highbrow, Humor, Singing

THE EVENT runs from 3/2 to 3/25 $15
EXTENDED 3/26 &3/27
T,W,Th,F,Sa 8pm
Map of Son of Semele
Buy Tickets
Visit the Son of Semele website
Visit the Needtheater website

*THE EVENT runs in conjunction with THE INTERVIEW (which follows an intermission.)

 

Thomas Hampton Reviews ABOVE THE LINE at Bootleg/ Indecent Exposure

March 23, 2010

“The world is a bright and shiny apple that’s mine, all MINE.”
Frank Sinatra, Pocketfull of Miracles

Playwright Susan Rubin continues her trilogy (that started with BITCH a couple of years ago,) with ABOVE THE LINE (Below the Belt: A Comic Play About the Making of a Hollywood Movie) presented by Indecent Exposure at Bootleg.  Ms. Rubin has once again partnered with director Mark Bringelson to bring us a Hollywood tale dealing mostly with the pre-production of a movie musical, “TEA!” yet sharply focused on the sexual lives and gamesmanship of the players behind the scenes.

For anyone “making it” in Hollywood, or struggling while trying (or struggling whilst making it, even making it while struggling,) it is always a wonderful schadenfreude-istic experience to see your worst fears/ firsthand knowledge of the duplicity and dunce-ocracy that is the sausage grinder of the “real work” of the producers who get pictures green lit and thrown up on the screen- with their names attached, of course.

It is easy to feel contempt for Jeremy, the mama’s boy producer who epitomizes the worst of a never-ending nepotistic line of Hollywood royalty, and Angela, the studio exec frantically swimming up river to keep her job and social station while barely able to juggle her once a month custodial weekend with the only remnant of a failed marriage.  Neither are familiar with the events of, or leading to, the Boston Tea Party.  Each exude ignorance by equating all of Silverlake to a Homeless Shelter, and mistaking the underlying tenets of Judo for Kung Fu.

The inside baseball Hollywood dramedy is nothing new.  Perhaps best brought to life on film by Altman’s The Player, sometimes these stories don’t have much resonance outside of our LA bubble, or even East of La Brea.  Does anyone remember what became of Action, on Fox?  Fortunately for the team behind and in ABOVE THE LINE, they are playing to a crowd who enjoys seeing their own foibles laid bare on stage (or at least those of their bosses.)

What truly lies at the core of ABOVE THE LINE, however, are sexual politics and power plays.  Even though they may seem to be powerful players in the business, and acclaimed successes in their chosen professions, the uber producers and A-list screenwriter are not satisfied to merely be in charge.  They have to dominate, emasculate, and completely eviscerate the intellect and challenging natures of anyone before they jump in to bed with them (literally or figuratively.)  And in this town, it is this ability to lord over others, to fulfill wishes and crush dreams, that creates the opiate like lull of invincibility that drives each of Rubin’s characters to their ultimate comeuppance.

Like an episode of Law & Order, the plot moves, the performances are steady and worthwhile, and the audience is afforded it’s fair share of red herrings.   ABOVE THE LINE, as whole, does not disappoint… that is if it is your cup of tea.

Thematic content includes:  Sex, Singing, Humor, Violence, Love

ABOVE THE LINE runs from 3/19 to 4/24
Th,F,S 8pm $12 to $20
Map of Bootleg
Buy Tickets
Visit the Bootleg website
Visit the Indecent Exposure Theater Company website

Press Photos of ABOVE THE LINE -Bootleg/ Indecent Exposure

March 19, 2010

Press Photos of ABOVE THE LINE, opening this weekend at Bootleg.


See and download the full gallery on posterous

Photo by Piper Ferguson

Produced by Indecent Exposure Theater Company in association with Bootleg, ABOVE THE LINE is the second part of a trilogy by playwright Susan Rubin.  Director Mark Bringelson and Rubin collaborated on BITCH, the first play in the trilogy, which premiered at Bootleg in June 2007.

Thematic content includes:  Sex, Singing, Humor, Violence, Love

ABOVE THE LINE runs from 3/19 to 4/24
Th,F,S 8pm $12 to $20
Map of Bootleg
Buy Tickets
Visit the Bootleg website
Visit the Indecent Exposure Theater Company website

Thomas Hampton Reviews DIALOGUE BETWEEN A PROSTITUTE AND HER CLIENT at Fremont Centre Theatre

March 17, 2010

Dacia Maraini’s DIALOGUE BETWEEN A PROSTITUTE AND HER CLIENT is just receiving it’s Los Angeles premiere after over 30 years of productions in multiple countries (and languages.)  This piece was first produced by Teatro del Maddalena, a feminist experimental theater the writer established in Rome, Italy.

There is so much fun to be had with the show, as Manila and her political pr-man client lay bare some of the sexual politics that fester beneath the surface of (certainly) the sex trade, but also all interactions between men and women.

This production, directed by Mark Kemble, unfolds like the stages of grief, with both Manila and her client working through their own and societies’ issues…

    •    The client is saddled with a family-approved fiance he hasn’t slept with in months.
    •    Manila speaks of the ability to read a man’s dick like a fortune teller reads palms, or a child reads a “Swedish Fish,” even as she claims that the dick is the least expressive part of a man’s body.
    •    Even as he purchases the services and use of Manila’s body, the use of the term “cunt” turns him off so completely as a “lack of respect.”
    •    Manila speaks from experience of the complete separation of a man from the libido/ penis attached to it.
    •    The client admits that his father has been seeing the same prostitute for over 25 years.

Was it boring to read these bullet points of some of the topics covered?  Maybe, but shouldn’t it be more fun when fleshed out in a show where performers can breathe some life in to it?  Shouldn’t it?  Yes; in theory.

Unfortunately, the two characters in this production of DIALOGUE BETWEEN A PROSTITUTE AND HER CLIENT, while they do share a room, seem to inhabit entirely different worlds, and barely connect with one another.  I am not speaking of the man/ woman divide.  Or the have/ have not divide.  Or the different realities that shape the characters’ lives (and drive them to sell themselves or buy time with another person) divide.  Manila and her client suffer from the delusion that they are in two completely different shows.

Francesca Fanti’s prostitute seems to be so disabled by the weight of all of the abuses perpetrated upon women over the history of history (and pre-history) that she appears unable to be present in the moment, even as her character admits to her mind’s desire and body’s need to loose herself and enjoy “the ride” while servicing this particular client.

Eric Murdoch’s client fails in an attempt to slightly modernize himself out of the machismo inherent in a “man’s world,” especially the Italian male of the recent past.  His approach to emote passion of any sort seems to be a change in volume, as if the louder he gets, the more the audience will believe the client is angry/ frustrated/ afraid etc…

The dialogue seems to suffer as well.  Maybe the actors were just struggling with remembering lines on opening night, but at times in the performance it seemed as if each character was stopping to translate their words from Italian to English before opening up their mouth to spit out a line.  Manila’s attempt to share the pain of womanhood and prostitution through interpretive dance fails to engage the audience, and the emotive depth of the client/ prostitute relationship never really feels explored, even as the intellectual ideas behind it are clearly mined for the audience to see.

This production of DIALOGUE BETWEEN A PROSTITUTE AND HER CLIENT never opens itself up to the audience, and feels more like a thesis on stage than the clever exploration of gender and sexual politics that it promises to be.  The best thing to be said of this show, besides a cute little set by Victoria Bellocq, is that it clocks in at around 70 minutes.  Unfortunately, even the brevity of this performance did not keep me from watching the ticking clock onstage, hoping for a brilliant resolution that never came.

Thematic Content includes:  Love, Adultery, Sex, Violence, Dance/ Movement, Humor

DIALOGUE BETWEEN A PROSTITUTE AND HER CLIENT runs 3/13 to 4/18
Friday and Saturday at 8pm Sunday at 3pm $20-$25
Map of Fremont Centre Theatre
Buy Tickets
Visit the Fremont Centre Theatre website
Contact the production/ producers

Press Photos of DIALOGUE BETWEEN A PROSTITUTE AND HER CLIENT at Fremont Centre Theatre

March 13, 2010

Enjoy these Press Photos of DIALOGUE BETWEEN A PROSTITUTE AND HER CLIENT, opening tonight at Fremont Centre Theatre.  This show features the talents of Francesca Fanti and Eric Murdoch, and is made possible in part through the support of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura.






Photo by Pina De Cola

Thematic Content includes:  Love, Adultery, Sex, Violence, Dance/ Movement, Humor

DIALOGUE BETWEEN A PROSTITUTE AND HER CLIENT runs 3/13 to 4/18
Friday and Saturday at 8pm Sunday at 3pm $20-$25
Map of Fremont Centre Theatre
Buy Tickets
Visit the Fremont Centre Theatre website
Contact the production/ producers

Press photos of TOHUBOHU! at Espace DbD/ Rachel Rosenthal Company

March 12, 2010

Here are some nice press shots from TOHUBOHU! at Espace DbD/ Rachel Rosenthal Company.  It is running one weekend a month through July.



See and download the full gallery on posterous

photo credit:  Martin Cohen

Thematic content includes:  All performances will differ, but expect Dance/ Movement, Highbrow, Humor, Live Music, Violence, Love

TOHUBOHU! runs March 12,13,14 April 9,10,11 May 7,8,9 June 11,12,13 July 9,10,11
Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm Sunday at 7:30pm $20
Map of Espace DbD/ Rachel Rosenthal Co.
Buy Tickets
Visit the DbD/ Rachel Rosenthal website
Contact the production/ producers

Thomas Hampton Reviews TOHUBOHU! -Rachel Rosenthal Comapany

March 11, 2010

TOHUBOHU!

"We just create art on the spur of the moment."
Rachel Rosenthal

In a sentence, that pretty much sums up the experience that is TOHUBOHU! at Espace DbD.  For those of you unfamiliar, Rachel Rosenthal has been performing and teaching and pushing the boundaries of experimental theater for over half a century.

Over the course of an evening of TOHUBOHU!, the audience, or witnesses, have the pleasure of experiencing some rather "pure" improvisation.  That is, full and total freedom of the performers to find the truth of the moment, with no pressure to create anything- be it drama, humor, or a wacky wrap up.

For those of us who have studied theater games, be it Compass Players, Spolin, Piven, or even Groundlings/ IO/ UCB/ etc… TOHUBOHU! will be a pleasant reminder of the best that these techniques have to offer:  skilled players, surprising coincidences, revelatory moments.

And not to offend any of you "lovers of the herald" out there, but TOHUBOHU! also dismisses with the worst of what performances based on the games have become- an excuse for performers to grand stand, steal focus, push forward horrible jokes and insults, and see who can be more outrageous than each other.

The evening is almost like a spiritual or religious experience, with Rachel Rosenthal as your shaman, guiding not only the performers in their quest, but the audience as well.  The seating is limited, with only 35 patrons per performance, and the experience is quite intimate.  It felt as if the audience was a voyeur, a nearly invisible yet necessary element in the progress of an incredibly talented corps of dedicated performers.

TOHUBOHU! realizes what many scripted performances attempt yet fail at achieving; it poignantly deconstructs the human condition, and awakens the audience to confront their own place within it.

Thematic content includes:  All performances will differ, but expect Dance/ Movement, Highbrow, Humor, Live Music, Violence, Love

TOHUBOHU! runs March 12,13,14 April 9,10,11 May 7,8,9 June 11,12,13 July 9,10,11
Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm Sunday at 7:30pm $20
Map of Espace DbD/ Rachel Rosenthal Co.
Buy Tickets
Visit the DbD/ Rachel Rosenthal website
Contact the production/ producers