The Glass is Half Full at this Thriving Film Company

by Peter Foldy

That’s a wrap for another American Film Market in Santa Monica, which hosted companies from over 28 countries, many attending for the first time. Despite that, AFM actually saw slightly less traffic than in years past, due in part to the new, stricter entrance guidelines.

But one up-and-coming sales company had its busiest market ever in its young existence: NY and LA-based Glass House Distribution. Co-founded by Wall Street Broker-dealer, Bryan Glass and Actor/Writer/Producer, Tom Malloy, the company’s latest comedy, The Outdoorsman, starring Brent Morin (How to Be Single) and Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live) just released theatrically in the US this past Friday and will hit digital outlets November 20th through their partnership with Comedy Dynamics.

David Lawrence, Tom Malloy, Michelle Alexandria and Robert Deege of Glass House

Part of Glass House’s jam-packeded AFM itinerary and recent success can simply be attributed to pure hustle by its four members, President, Tom Malloy, Head of Sales, Robert Deege, Head of International Sales, Michelle Alexandria, and Head of Acquisitions, David Lawrence. But Malloy has another theory. “I can’t tell you the number of times we heard this week that we were this buyer’s or that filmmaker’s favorite meeting here at AFM, which was truly wonderful.”

Sunset at the American Film Market, Santa Monica.

Indeed, it doesn’t take long for anyone in the same room to feel the enthusiasm and jokes, the candor and respect, and the breadth of deep knowledge and experience, the combination of which garners genuine appreciation from across the table.

While it remains to be seen how much business they’ll close in the coming weeks, their upbeat and collaborative spirit has fostered a robust network of relationships, and their titles continue to notch up a level in quality at each market.

Shasheer Zamata at “The Outdoorsman” premiere.
(Photo by: David Levin)

Recent acquisition, Reinventing Rosalee has moved audiences, young and old alike, with its inspirational story. Along with the smiles, Glass House doesn’t shy away from edgier fare. They have just launched a new horror label, Blood House with a handful of scary movies.

One thing’s for sure – if their momentum continues, this company’s glass will be overflowing.

“Oppenheimer” Is Rogue Machine Solid

Review by Peter Foldy

OPPENHEIMER by Tom Morton-Smith is a sweeping and complex play that examines the moral issues and personalities surrounding the invention of the nuclear weapon that was used to devastate Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII.

Boasting a cast of 24, the production stars James Liebman as the multi-faceted J. Robert Oppenheimer, a man who is best remembered as the father of the atomic bomb.

When we first meet him, Oppenheimer and his youthful cohorts share a common hatred for fascism and lean toward communism as an acceptable political stance.

With the war raging and the German’s making strides in developing a powerful bomb, Oppenheimer is recruited by the military to lead the work on the Manhattan Project. Before long he distances himself from his communist past and dives into the task at hand. He struggles with the rigors of army life, is challanged by an alcoholic wife and tries to be supportive to his mentally unstable mistress. Causing further problems are Oppenheimer’s brother and sister-in-law who refuse to step back from their communist leanings.

Michael Redfield, Dan Via, Rachel Avery, James Liebman, Jennifer Pollono, and Mark Jacobson

The competative political climate at Los Alamos ultimately finds Oppenheimer under the U.S. Army’s, and perhaps the FBI’s, microscope–but the military need him as much as they are confounded by him. Oppenheimer and his young scientists, who come to be known as “Oppie’s boys” eventually manage to split the atom. They send the bombs, “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” to be dropped on Japan, and while they win the war for America, Oppenheimer and his team change the dynamics for the survival of mankind.

Realizing the full impact of his accomplishments, Oppenheimer feels like “he has dropped a loaded gun in a playground.” He understands that the bomb he has created could wipe humanity off the face of the earth.

Its a heavy burden to carry.

Mark Jacobson, Kenney Selvey, James Liebman, Brewster Parsons, and Zachary Grant

Liebman cleverly balances Oppenheimer’s social unease, his brilliant mind and his sexual appetite. He is supported by a talented, hard-working cast who all deliver impressive performances. There are no slouches on stage. Every actor has a moment to shine. Particularly impressive are Zachary Grant as Robert Wilson, Ron Bottitta as General Grove, Ryan Brophy as Oppenheimer’s brother, Frank, Miranda Wynne as Jackie Oppenheimer, Landon Tavernier as Peer de Silva and Kenney Selvey as Giovanni Rossi Lomanitz.

Special mention also needs to go to 14 year old Sophie Pollono, who in a brief but memorable turn delivers some powerful dialogue with the ease of a seasoned professional.

Ron Bottitta, Landon Tavernier, Brendan Farrell

John Perrin Flynn’s fluid direction keeps the lengthy piece moving at a good clip. I especially welcomed the staging of a wild, ritualistic dance number in the second act, based on the Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman’s bongo playing. It’s a climactic, tension busting moment that celebrates the success of the Manhattan Project, allowing the cast to cut loose while also giving the audience a moment of much needed levity.

Other cast members include Jason Chiumento, Mark Jacobson, Kirsten Kollander, Brewster Parsons, Scott Victor Nelson, Jen Pollono, Rachel Avery, Michael Redfield, Dan Via, Brendon Farrel, Brady Richards, Daniel Shawn Miller, Rick Garrison and Marwa Bernstein.

Scenic design by Stephanie Kerley Schwartz, sound by Christopher Moscatiello and lighting design by Matt Richter and Tom Brown are all solid, as are the 1940s costumes by Dianne K. Graebner. It’s clear that a lot of thought and hard work went into making Rogue Machine’s first production in their new space at the Electric Lodge in Venice a memorable one.

Oppenheimer is absorbing and powerful. It should not be misssed.

Oppenheimer runs at 8pm on Saturdays and Mondays, 3pm Sundays through December 30, 2018 (no performances on 11/12, 11/17, 11/26, 12/1, 12/2, 12/8, 12/9, 12/10, 12/24).

It runs in rep with Finks by Joe Gilford, son of parents who were blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Both plays look at America in the 30s, 40s and 50s. The characters are dreamers who became activists. These plays are not about politics but about the universal ideal that we could be better than we are.

Rogue Machine is located in the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue in Venice, CA 90291.

Tickets are $40.

Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com

 

Bridget Griggs Returns To L.A. With New And Vibrant Art

by Peter Foldy:

Artist, Bridget Griggs, loves California! She has recently returned to Los Angeles. to showcase Tribal Love, a David Bowie-inspired work of art, as well as her intriguing abstract Infinity series that was birthed in L.A. in 2015. That was the year she drove from Toronto and found a new and powerful direction that has since led to many opportunities.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, because less than two years later she was back to painting live with David Bowie’s band at The Wiltern Theater.

Bridget also created a David Bowie inspired mural in 2016, on Lafayette Street in NYC, that Bowie’s wife, Iman, gave a nod to by sharing it with her many followers.

Born in Canada, where she began her creative journey, Bridget is recognized for her artistic virtuosity. Her paintings can  be seen in numerous public spaces across Canada and the US, including the lobby of The Fairmont Hotel in Calgary,  Odgers Berndtson at the Royal Bank Plaza, Totum Fitness Life Science, offices of the TD Financial Group to name just a few.

Bridget has a strong symbolic message in her work and it inevitably evokes positive feelings. Her expression is spontaneous and prolific. Her work is dynamic and her painting are being seen and appreciated in private and public collections across the globe. Without a doubt she is gathering new fans and supporters every day.

Most recently, Iman Bowie, again blessed Bridget’s work a big shout out via Instagram, praising her “We Can Be Heroes” series.

You can see more of her work here://bridgetgriggsart.com/new-infinity-infinities-series-black-and-white-on-paper/

Bridget is in Los Angeles until November 19th/18.
Contact her direct to align with her work:
artistbridgetgriggs@gmail.com
www.bridgetgriggsart.com

Antaeus’ “Little Foxes” Are Irresistibly Cunning

Review by Lucy Houlihan

The Little Foxes at Antaeus Theatre is stunning in both its appearance and its execution, and powerfully kicks off the Glendale Theatre’s new season. From the set, to the acting, to the costumes, this production gives an updated and captivating take on Lillian Hellman’s Post-reconstructionist Southern drama.

Rob Nagle, Deborah Puette, Timothy Adam Venable, Mike McShane, Calvin Picou, Jocelyn Towne

The extraordinary set (designed by John Iacovelli) is covered in perfectly ostentatious details: from sculptures of lounging women to black marble columns. However, the thing that draws the eye most intensely is the bright blue, velvet cameo back sofa. It is this extravagance, this garishness that drives the story of the Hubbards in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes.

The sofa acts as a center for the action and the emotion of the room, Cameron Watson’s direction ensures the characters circle the grandiosity while scheming with and against each other. While the Hubbard siblings each grasp for the wealth they believe they deserve, they use the sofa to stoke their fires, a gorgeous reminder of a “by-any-means-necessary” itinerary.

Jocelyn Towne and Deborah Puette

Deborah Puette plays the brilliant and severe Regina Hubbard Giddens, who uses the sofa to trap her family where she wants them, a spider in a web full of seats. Her husband (John DeMita) and her brothers (Mike McShane and Rob Nagle) are at her whims, try as they might to stay ahead.

Jocelyn Towne’s remarkable performance as Regina’s sister-in-law and foil, Birdie,  is honest and captivating in its frenzied victimhood. Judy Louise Johnson shines in her kindness and poise as Regina’s black maid, whose presence in the script both solidifies the play in its 1900s setting and draws attention to the racial issues still present in America today. Kristin Couture is powerful as the the young daughter, who holds onto the hope of escaping and standing up to the locusts “who eat the earth and eat all the people on it.”

John DeMita and Judy Louise Johnson

The Little Foxes is written with the women at the forefront, and Puette, Towne, Louise Johnson, and Couture certainly stand their ground and provide a compelling, poignant view of feminism both then and now. The acting on all sides is superb, and Watson’s direction shows deep knowledge and reverence to Hellman’s characters and her story.

Anteaeus Theatre’s production is designed and performed to perfection, an enchanting two-and-a-half hours that should not be missed.

Where: Antaeus Theatre Company

Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center

110 E. Broadway

Glendale, CA 91205

When: opens Oct. 25 and runs through Dec. 10.

How much: $35

Photos by: Geoffrey Wade Photography

antaeus.org

“Cal in Camo” Is Compelling and Suspenseful

Play Review by Peter Foldy

Writer, William Francis Hoffman’s CAL IN CAMO, making it’s West Coast Premiere at the VS Theatre is a chilling, metaphoric drama with dialogue as raw as it’s wounded characters. The story revolves around Tim and Cal, a young married couple adrift in what seems to be a hopelessly doomed relationship. Like their newly bought home in rural Illinois, their marriage is at risk of sinking. Cal suffers from postpartum depression and is unable to produce breast milk for their newborn baby daughter  We soon learn that her problems go a lot deeper. Abandoned as a young child by her mother, Cal grew up in foster homes and has no family other than a brother, Flynt. A hunter with a deep connection to nature, Flynt has recently lost his wife in a tragic drowning accident.

Bree Turner and Brad Raider

To help her brother heal, Cal invites Flynt to spend a few days at their recently bought, isolated home in rural Illinois. This doesn’t bode well with Tim, especially when he learns that Cal flew Flynt first class, despite the fact that they are struggling to make ends meet. Tim has also not forgotten that Flynt walked out in the middle of their wedding reception, taking Tim’s favorite tie that his brother-in-law borrowed for the occasion.

Tim Cummings

A loner with a connection to nature, Flynt arrives wearing camouflage. Never a good sign. He says little and when he speaks he talks of pending doom. With turbulant weather on the horizon, and a rifle that is introduced into the mix, one gets the sinking feeling that this story will not have a happy ending.

Flynt’s visit does ultimately prove purposeful. Though he can’t give his sister what she asks of him,  Flynt does inspire Cal to seek what she desperately needs.

Brad Raider and Bree Turner

Bree Turner delivers a powerful performance as the vulnerable Cal, bravely exposing her character’s broken heart. Brad Raider’s Tim manages to evoke empathy as a failed beer salesman, struggling to keep his marriage together. Tim Cummings brings a cloud of mystery to this brooding tale, his presence elevating the sense of danger that builds throughout, not unlike the approaching storm that will either wreck havoc or clense the wounds that need healing.

Tim Cummings and Brad Raider

With solid direction from Amy K Harmon, impressive set design by Se Hyun Oh, and an outstanding score by Chris Moscatiello, who also created the sound design, Cal in Camo delivers a compelling and emotional roller coaster ride.

Cal in Camo plays at 8pm Thursdays-Saturdays, and 3pm Sundays through November 9, 2018.

VS. Theatre is located at 5453 Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles, 90019.

Tickets are $20 – $35. Reservations: reddogsquadron.com

For more information call: 323-739-4411

Photos by: David Rodriguez

 

A Poignant Look at Homelessness in “The Bench” at the Hudson Theatre

Review by Peter Foldy

Homelessness is a situation that devastates lives. Most of us avoid thinking about it. We look away as we pass the ever growing army of homeless souls the now seem to have become a permenant fixture in Los Angeles. We avoid eye contact, even as we make a small contribution. A new play at the Hudson Theatre directed by Jay O. Sanders confronts the issue head on and, at least for an hour, it makes the problem hard to ignore.

Robert Galinsky in “The Bench”

The Bench, a Homeless Love Story is set in the urban decay of a crumbling city during the start of the AIDS crisis. Mined from true stories of people in the New York neighborhood where he once lived, writer/activist Robert Galinsky presents a sobering look at life on the streets. Looking very much like a member of the homeless army himself, Galinsky’s one man play grabs you by the heart as it tries to open your mind. He introduces us to five homeless characters, four men and a woman, whose lives have become forever entwined. Each has a different story arc. Yes, some are self destructive, but many are victims of unforeseen circumstance. One thing is certain. They were all once somebody’s child. With brutal honesty and gentle humor, Galinsky acts out their various narratives, and as he shares their perspective, it becomes frighteningly obvious that some people are just one mistake, one life crisis away from joining this exploding population.

As you leave the theater you might find yourself filled with more compassion. But are you?

On opening night, a homeless man wondered into the after-party held in the Hudson Cafe next door. The man started yelling and making a scene, and as he did, most, if not all of the audience members froze. Tried to look away. I couldn’t help notice the irony. Was the lesson of “The Bench” already forgotten? Is ten minutes all it takes? This is exactly what Galinsky is trying to impress upon us and for that alone, The Bench, a Homeless Love Story should be seen.

Presented by Tony Winner, Terry Schnuck, OBIE/Drama Desk Winner, Barry Shabaka Henley and Golden Globe Nominee, Chris Noth, The Bench also delivers noteworthy set design and illustrations from talented artist Daphne Arthur.  She has also created a graphic novel called “The Bench” which is available for purchase at the show, with proceeds donated to various charities.

Arthur has had solo exhibitions at RARE gallery in NY and at the University of Massachusetts Boston, with numerous group shows in other major cities.

The Bench runs at 8pm Thursdays and Fridays through November 9, 2018.

The Hudson Guild Theatre is located at 6539 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90038.

Tickets are $25 online at www.plays411.com/thebench or call (323) 960-7822.

 

First National Tour Of Tony Award Winning Musical, “Dear Evan Hansen” Begins L.A. Engagement October 17

Los Angeles: October 5, 2018

Performances of the Los Angeles engagement of the first national tour of Tony Award-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen” begin Wednesday, October 17, at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre. The opening is set for Friday, October 19. The winner of six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, “Dear Evan Hansen” features a book by Tony Award-winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy®, Tony® and Academy Award® winners Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (“La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman”) and direction by four-time Tony® Award nominee Michael Greif (“Rent,” “Next to Normal”).

Ben Levi Ross (center) and the company of the national tour of “Dear Evan Hansen.”

The cast for the musical’s first national tour features Ben Levi Ross in the title role. Stage and TV star Jessica Phillips will play Heidi Hansen. Tony Award nominee Christiane Noll will play Cynthia Murphy and Broadway veteran Aaron Lazar will play Larry Murphy. Marrick Smith and Maggie McKenna round out the Murphy family (as Connor and Zoe, respectively), while Jared Goldsmith as Jared Kleinman and Phoebe Koyabe as Alana Beck complete the on-stage company.

The cast also includes Stephen Christopher Anthony (as the Evan alternate) along with understudies Ciara Alyse Harris, John Hemphill, Noah Kieserman, Jane Pfitsch, Coleen Sexton and Maria Wirries.

“Dear Evan Hansen” features scenic design by David Korins, projection design by Peter Nigrini, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Nevin Steinberg and hair design by David Brian Brown.

Music supervision, orchestrations and additional arrangements are by Alex Lacamoire. Ben Cohn is the Associate Music Supervisor. Vocal arrangements and additional arrangements are by Justin Paul. Danny Mefford is the choreographer. U.S. Casting by Tara Rubin Casting/Lindsay Levine. Adrienne Campbell-Holt, Sash Bischoff and Adam Quinn are the Associate Directors. Judith Schoenfeld is the Production Supervisor.

Fairy Tales for Adults, It’s a Musical at The Pico – Bold Young Company

By Peter Foldy

Be warned, your face may hurt from laughter after seeing, Fairy Tale Theatre 18 & Over: The Musical. This show is frinkin’ hilarious.

Originally inspired by a hot date gone wrong (and who can’t relate to that), “Fairy Tale Theatre 18 and Over” took Los Angeles by storm during a sold out run at the Matrix Theatre in 2011. It caught the attention of Billy Crystal’s Face Productions and is currently optioned at Warner Brothers digital with Wildline Entertainment.

Writer Michael J. Feldman has since created additional iterations on stage, winning the hearts and attention of both audiences and critics, and has now returned to Los Angeles with the musical version playing at The Pico for a limited run. Grab the kids and drop them with the babysitter, then treat yourself to an adult night out.

Ammunition Theatre Company has made bold choices this season, garnering themselves several Stage Raw awards for Bernardo Cubría’s “The Giant Void In My Soul,” and their latest choice, “Fairy Tale Theatre 18 and Over: The Musical” is paying off with great ticket sales and even more critical acclaim.

The play offers audience’s important life lessons digested with lots of laughter and original music. The delectable menu of tales includes a gay cat ballet, operatic singing, people and puppets telling stories about following your dreams (a penguin who sets out to fly), practicing what you preach (a privileged service dog calls out inequality, but refuses to give up the vest), and even trying to connect in a universe with so many shining stars, most of whom are looking like happy clusters, not unlike living in Los Angeles (but really, they’re all alone just hoping to avoid falling into the black holes).

Feldman tells us, “I knew this production was way too massive and expensive to mount. So I shelved it for years. But, fortunately, I joined a theatre company with a bunch of insanely talented people and they decided to put it up for their fall 2018 season. Without their resources, I never would have been able to mount this production.

 Some of those talented Ammunition members include the cast with Sheila Carrasco, Matt Cook, Jason Currie, Michael J. Feldman, Tina Huang, Jess McKay, Burl Moseley, Jason Rogel, Colleen Smith, Cloie Wyatt Taylor, and Greg Worswick.

Jason Currie is the Music Director/Composer, Alexandra Friedman created the Scene Designs, Andrew Schmedake is the Lighting Designer, Dalmar Montgomery the Sound Designer, Stephen Rowan the Costume Designer), Meghann Lucas the Choreogrpaher, and Noriko Ogawa the Keyboardist. Produced by Kim Hamilton and Bernardo Cubría, don’t forget to get it while you can!

With only a few perfomances left, this is a show that shouldn’t be missed.

Fairy Tale Theatre 18 & Over: The Musical runs at 8pm Fridays & Saturdays, and 7pm on Sundays through October 7, 2018 (Understudy performance on Thursday, October 4th at 8pm and added 11pm on Saturday, Oct 6th). The Pico is located at 10508 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064. Tickets are $35 online at https://www.eventbee.com/event?eid=198363472#/tickets. Information: (323) 628-1622 and http://ammunitiontheatre.com

 

Since his “Swansong,” André de Vanny is keeping Conor McDermottroe’s Award Winning Story in the Hollywood Spotlight

Selected for the Munich, Montreal and Camerimage film festivals, Swansong won best drama at the Galway Film Fleadh and was nominated for six ITFAs in 2011. The film was adapted from Conor McDermottroe’s one-man theatre play Swansong which won raves worldwide and was translated into German and Swedish. Swansong makes its West Coast Premiere in Los Angeles on September 8, 2018, at the Skylight Theatre, produced in tandem with the Australian Theatre Company and directed by Greg Carroll.

This is theatre that doesn’t settle for easy answers. A gritty monodrama, it tells the story of Austin “Occi” Byrne, abused and isolated, violent and vulnerable, and searching for redemption.

Award winning Australian actor André de Vanny plays Occi. He began his career with the leading role in the international hit series Wicked Science 1 and 2 and it just keep getting better from there. André has since appeared in many Australian feature films including the upcoming The Combination 2, Hating Alison Ashley, Under a Red Moon, Nice Shootin’ Cowboy. Recently, he was given a nod for Best Actor at the Green Room Awards, acknowledging his work in Glory Dazed for Red Stitch Theatre Company.

Andre’s performance in Swansong has achieved widespread critical acclaim and the show has returned twice to sell out seasons at Sydney’s The Old Fitz Theatre as well as Melbourne’s Metanoia Theatre, and most recently a sell out season at Theatre Works in Melbourne.

This performance is quite a workout, emotionally and physically, even for a young actor. We asked if he’d let us in on where he gets that kind of stamina as an actor:

HR: How do you prepare for a role like this?

André: There are many highs and lows in the play that follow one after the other, often in quick succession. Once the show has begun I just have to let go and allow it to flow in its own unique way. But this takes rigorous physical, vocal and mental preparation. It’s the old story where, achieving spontaneity and freedom in the moment requires extreme discipline and thorough preparation.

HR: Is it more difficult to bring Occi to life without props and a set?

André de Vanny: This is a performance driven piece, a pure story telling experience. Without set, sound or props you have the freedom to create any world you want at anytime. It feels very natural and allows for a more direct and intimate relationship with the audience.

HR: Despite the adversity and challenges for this character he seems to hang tough. Do you see the POV of the playwright as endowing this character with a positive outlook?

André de Vanny: Occi is an eternal optimist. We all know people who have hope even in the face of the most dire situations. It’s inspiring and endearing. I hope people will take that away from the experience of seeing this show.

HR: You’re from Melbourne, but the play takes place Ireland, during the 70/80s. Do you feel it’s still relevant in this time, and in Los Angeles?

André de Vanny: Prejudice and mental illness are unfortunately still prevalent in society today. This play speaks to those issues here and now. It honors those people who slip through the cracks, those who are outcast and forgotten. Having a child out of wedlock is no longer the shameful sin it once was but the bullying and persecution that Occi endures as a result of this, is something many can relate to. It’s a timeless story that is as relevant today as ever, and in almost every city in the world.

HR: You’re returning to the role for the 3rd time, but for the first time in Los Angeles. What’s that like?

André de Vanny: It’s like visiting an old friend. Occi has remained close to my heart and mind. It’s like you just pick up where you left off. However, each time has felt new and special and has grown a bit. As will this run in Los Angeles at the Skylight Theatre.

Swansong opens at 8:30pm on Saturday, September 8th and continues Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30pm; 2:00pm on Sundays; and 8:00pm on Mondays through October 7, 2018. Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, LA, 90027. Tickets are $15 – $30. Reservations: (866) 811-4111, atctix.org

or http://SkylightTix.com

 

Stories of Truth for a World in Denial

A lifetime of family memories and five years of rewrites has garnered Leslie Ayvazian’s “100 Aprils” a spot in Rogue Machine’s 2018 season. The run has been extended twice and the schedule encourages audiences to stay after matinee performances on Sundays, for talkbacks with special guests.

The play packs a sobering punch while shedding light on a subject that has been swept under the carpet for over a century, the Armenian genocide. Strong writing and heartfelt performances make this a production worth seeing.

Described as a darkly comic look at the generational consequences, when history is denied, it travels a fine line between reality and hallucination. John Saypian is somewhat of a modern-day Don Quixote. He and his wife are second generation Armenians whose parents escaped the genocide. John believes that a tormentor is pursuing him, and as his health begins to fail him so does his mind. But, not his memories of the atrocities that he witnessed as a child, along with his family.

Rachel Sorsa, Robertson Dean, John Perrin Flynn and Leslie Ayvazian

To better understand where the subtleties and depth of writing like this is conceived, we asked playwright Leslie Ayvazian to talk about the journey of creating it.

HR: When did you begin, and what inspired you, to write 100 Aprils?

Leslie: I began the project about five years ago. Initially, I wanted to write a play to honor, and to coincide with, the 100-year commemoration of the Armenian genocide. Some excerpts of my play were included by CTG for their event “Staging the Unstageable” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2015 but this is the true world premiere of the full piece at Rogue Machine.

Growing up in an Armenian family gave me endless resources for writing about this subject. I write what I know. My father was born in Turkey and escaped to NYC. Much of what I know of the genocide is what I’ve learned from my grandmother and my father’s stories, and even from his silences. Some things were too horrific to fully articulate.

Rachel Sorsa and Janet Song

I’m inspired to write about what I am pursuing, and I write what I want to know. For me I want to know why the world has not accepted the history of the Armenians when there is so much proof and so much evidence and yet there is this persistent denial.

HR: Is that what you hope audiences will become more aware of when they see the play?

Leslie: I just hope that audiences will find a reason that it’s relative, and that they are glad that they had the experience of seeing it. I don’t write plays to teach people anything. I write things that are true for me and I hope they’re true for others. I was looking forward to having the play open at Rogue Machine in Los Angeles because it’s a great company, and there is a large community of Armenians in the city. This community was profoundly supportive of my play, Nine Armenians, when Gordon Davidson directed it at the Mark Taper Forum years ago. Gordon believed this story must be told. And it doesn’t matter if it’s been 100 years or 1000 years, people must know the truth. They need to know how the genocide influences our lives, and generations to come. We will keep telling the story so it’s not forgotten, 1.5 million people cannot be brutally slaughtered and it still doesn’t show up in any history books, and certainly not in America.

It’s just a matter of trying to set the world right in truth.

Leslie Ayvazian and John Perrin Flynn

HR: How did you decide on the style of the play? You have described it as absurdist, correct?

Leslie: It comes from an absurdist world, with a sense of humor about the ways that we cope and learn to survive. Any history of family members is a surreal world. Although this piece lives partially in hallucination and partially in dreams that cannot be silenced, the characters are always reaching for what is real.

This style emerged from the experience of denial, and how it affects people who live in a world that has little connection to the truth of history. I remember how my grandmother would talk, and sometimes she would just drift off looking out the window with the pain of those memories. As a physician, my father carried this sorrow throughout his life. Most people from Armenian families have a version of this story. I’m not a person who paints pictures that are set in elaborately designed living rooms. I don’t write plays like that.

100 Aprils has extended twice to run Saturdays and Mondays at 8:30pm, Sundays at 3:00pm through July 23, 2018. Rogue Machine is located in The Met, 1089 N Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Tickets are $40. Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com