Bernardo Cubría Reveals the Genesis of “The Giant Void In My Soul” at The Pico in West L.A.

May 14, 2016

Ammunition Theatre Company is a fairly new, and young, artistic group in Los Angeles, known for their diversity and passion for activism. They foster young playwrights, and champion works that are crafted with inclusivity in mind.

Currently, they are presenting the world premiere of Bernardo Cubría’s latest work, The Giant Void In My Soul at The Pico (formerly Pico Playhouse). This play reaches across social, political, and cultural divides during a crisp 90-minute performance with characters, written as clowns, in a Commedia dell’ arte style. Taking on big big questions and goals in life, it still manages to mine the humor and relatable ironies that we all face when of searching for meaning in life.

Bernardo Cubría

The Giant Void In My Soul is insightful, spot on with excellent performances. We sat down with playwright Bernardo Cubría who gave us a look at how it all came about:

HR: What Was The Genesis Of This Play For You?

Bernardo: Last year, I was sitting at home one day feeling quite depressed and I recognized the absurdity yet universality of this emptiness I was feeling. Here I was -privileged enough to pursue my passion and make a living, married to an amazing partner, living in a great place with great friends, family, etc. Yet something felt off. It dawned on me – maybe we just all have a giant void in our souls? Influenced by the silence in Waiting For Godot and the friendship in Don Quijote, I banged out a first draft two days later on a flight to New York. And, surprise! The “void” is STILL NOT FILLED!

HR: How Long Did It Take For You To Write This Play?

Bernardo: About 8 months of writing on and off. But for me, these things are never done. I sit in the audience every night and think of changes I still may make for the next run. My dream is that the play keeps getting done in different venues for many years, and I that I can continue to tweak things in each of the iterations. Once, when I was acting in a production of Burn This, Lanford Wilson gave me a line change the night before opening. I thought to myself, ‘this play is an iconic masterpiece, why are you changing things?!’ Lanford said the play wasn’t finished. I get it now.

HR: Had You Considered Writing This Play With Traditional Characters Instead Of Clowns?

Bernardo: Not really. Sadly for my wallet, I see the world in terms of clowns. I love clowning because it gets to the essence of what humans are. Forget race, gender, class, etc., let’s talk about what makes humans human, and what makes this whole human experience hilarious. Also, I wanted to write a script where any actor of any race or gender could play the roles. So it kind of has to be clowns. I promise they are not scary!

HR: Can You Share Something About Your Background That Influenced You To Become The Artist That You Are Today?

My grandmother was a poet in Mexico. And I grew up in awe of her, always longing to follow in her footsteps. She was so creative. She would speak casually and it always sounded like poetry and wisdom. My favorite line in this play is something she used to say. In an effort to post no spoilers I will say it’s about how life is a theatre. She was magical. I like to think that she would have liked this play.

Directed by Felix Solis and produced by Julie Bersani and J. Michael Feldman, this cast includes Karla Mosley, Kim Hamilton, Claudia Doumit, and Lisa Fernandez in roles written for any gender or ethnicity.

The Giant Void in My Soul, by Bernardo Cubría, runs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays 7pm through June 3, 2018 (understudy performance on May 27th). The Pico is located at 10508 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064. Tickets are $25 online https://thegiantvoid.eventbee.com, or $30 at the door. Website: http://ammunitiontheatre.com

Dennis Hopper’s Final Film Hits the Croissette in Cannes

Cannes: May 12, 2018

NY-based sales company Glass House Distribution has just acquired Dennis Hopper’s final completed feature, the comedy,  The Last Film Festival. 

Written by Michael Leeds and Linda Yellen, and directed by Yellen, the comedy centers on a hapless movie producer, played by Hopper, and his desperate attempts to get his unwatchable movie into a film festival – any film festival.

There are 4,000 film festivals around the world, and Hopper’s film has been turned down by 3,999 of them. But when an obscure festival actually accepts it, the artifice and ruthlessness of Hollywood collides with the homespun innocence of small town America, and neither will ever be the same.

Golden Globe Winner, Jaqueline Bisset is hilarious as an extremely high maintenance movie star, and Academy Award Nominee, JoBeth Williams counters opposite the Hollywood interlopers as the town mayor.

The Glass House Sales Team

A strong supporting also cast includes Golden Globe Nominee, Leelee Sobieski (Joan of Arc) as a stalker, as well as Katrina Bowden (30 Rock) and SNL veteran Chris Katan.

Glass House is offering The Last Film Festival to international buyers at the market in Cannes.

This is the company’s third visit to the festival. Their other titles include the comedy, Dropping the Soap, starring, Jane Lynch, the drama/comedy,The Outdoorsman, with Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live), and the recently completed and highly anticipated thriller, Trauma Therapy.

For more information contact: michelle@glasshousedistribution.com

Bad Jews: The Battle for the Chai

Play Review by: Peter Foldy

Three young cousins and a significant other spend the night together in a small apartment after the funeral of their beloved grandfather, a holocaust survivor they all call “Poppy” in Joshua Harmon’s BAD JEWS, currently playing at the Oddysey Theatre in West L.A.

Daphna (Jeanette Deutsch), is an observant “good Jew” who cannot wait to marry her Israeli boyfriend and move to Israel to further her Jewish education. Her cousin, Liam, (Noah James) an avowed secularist and a self-described “Bad Jew” is a graduate student who studies Japanese culture. Liam loaths Daphna. Finds her tedious, arrogant and toxic. He doesn’t buy into her rabbinical posturing and pious grandiosity. Daphna is jealous of Liam’s family money. She judges him to be a self-loathing Jew who is willing to give equal creadance to every culture, every race and religion, except his own.

Noah James, Lila Hood and Jeanette Deutsch in “Bad Jews”

Adding fuel to the volatile mashup is the fact that Liam has just returned after a ski trip with his blond, non Jewish girlfriend, the sweet but ditzy Melody (Lila Hood). Liam had dropped his phone from a chairlift, missing Poppy’s funeral, barely making it back for the Shiva, a traditional gathering of family and friends.

Before long the evening implodes into a free for all. Everyone fights like savages. Liam’s mild mannered brother, Jonah (Austin Rogers) tries to keep the peace but the insults soon escalate to physical violence.

Lila Hood, Jeanette Deutsch in “Bad Jews”

The prize they are fighting for is a Chai, a necklace that Poppy had hidden under his tongue during the Holocaust and later used as a ring of sorts to propose to his wife. Now that he is gone, both Liam and Daphna feel they deserve the heirloom. Liam wants to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and use it to propose to Melody, a woman he says he truly loves.

Daphna is of course mortified. The Chai is a beloved and valued symbol of Judaism, not to mention a cherished memory of their late grandfather. The fact that a Shiksa should wear it around her neck almost makes her physically ill.

The writing in “Bad Jews” is brilliant. It’s as poignant as it is hillarious. It’s clear to see why this play has been performed all over the world since it’s New York premier in 2012. The story works on many levels. On the one hand it’s an examination of family that resonates, regardless of your beliefs or your religion. On the other it’s a timely examination of modern Jewish beliefs and attitudes; of what it means to be a Jew in an age where young people are far more open and accepting of other cultures than in years gone by.

Lila Hood, Austin Rogers, Jeanette Deutsch and Noah James fight it out in “Bad Jews”

Performances here are exceptional. Noah James hits a slam dunk as Liam. His character is filled with rage while overflowing with love. It’s a moving moment when he states that his girlfriend, Melody, is a song. Those simple words, delivered from the heart, validates Liam’s point of view and wins us over.

Jeanette Deutsch is force to be reckoned with. She plays Daphna’s strenghts and weaknesses even-handedly, and by the show’s conclusion you feel sympathy for this strong willed young woman who is also just following her heart. Deutsch gives a memorable performance.

Lila Hood is a perfect Melody. She is the peacekeeper here, trying to stop tempers from coming to a boil. Hood makes us accept Melody’s shortcomings in the intelectual department and brings a certain kindness as well as a and a much needed balance to this explosive storyline.

Austin Rogers is the quiet one as Liam’s brother, Jonah. While he doesn’t have a lot to do, his final reveal is touching and unexpected.

Director, Dana Resnick keeps the dialogue-heavy piece moving at a clip. The play runs 95 minutes but flies by, while never losing your interest. With such a short running time I was stunned to hear so many cell phones ringing during the performance, despite the pre-show announcement asking people to silence their devices. The annoyance even managed to stop the show for a moment till the offending phone was shut off. If that’s not enough, there was also a whispered conversation going on behind me that drove me crazy.

Despite some bad audience members, “Bad Jews” is a powerful, impressive play that will stay with you long after the curtain comes down. I’m already looking forward to revisiting it again before it closes in June.

When: Performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from through June 17.

On Sunday, April 22 only, the performance will be at 5 p.m. with no 2 p.m. matinee.

Additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Wednesday, May 9; Thursday, May 17; Wednesday, May 30; and Thursday, June 14, all at 8 p.m.

Talkbacks with the cast follow the performances on Wednesday, May 9; Friday, May 18; and Sunday, May 27.

Tickets: From $30 to $35;

There are three “Tix for $10” performances on Friday, April 27; Wednesday, May 30; and Thursday, June 14.

The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show.

The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to www.OdysseyTheatre.com

Photos by: Enci Box

 

 

 

Jake Busey Stars in Jonny Walls Directed Feature, “Bluegrass Spirits”

Hollywood, CA: April 26, 2018

Writer/Director/Producer, JONNY WALLS and Producer AARON CHAMPION have announced the completion of the independent feature film, BLUEGRASS SPIRITS.

The Comedy/Drama stars JAKE BUSEY (Starship Troopers, The Predator, Stranger Things) as a recovering alcoholic who owns a failing bourbon distillery. When he meets a ghost-hunter, their conflicting views on belief and disbelief come to a head. Busey’s character allows the ghost-hunter to run a guided ghost-tour of the distillery, which is said to be haunted, in exchange for a portion of the profits.

Through a series of ghost hunts around the Bluegrass, which are equal parts hilarious and emotional, the two confront their personal “ghosts” and each have to deal with them in their own way.

Bluegrass Spirits is Walls and Champion’s second feature film collaboration after working on Cineline Production’s 2015 comedy feature Couch Survivor. That film is currently in worldwide distribution with Glass House Distribution.

Walls also wrote and directed the buddy/road trip comedy All About the Afterglow, making Bluegrass Spirits his third feature.

Joining Walls again as Director of Photography is another Couch Survivor alumnus, MARK FARNEY.

Other cast members include ROGELIO DOUGLAS JR. (Orange is the New Black, Straight Outta Compton), NELLIE BARNETT, and BRIANNE CORDARO.

Bluegrass Spirits was shot entirely in and around Lexington, Kentucky, with a large portion of the film shot at Hartfield and Co., a craft bourbon distillery in Paris, Kentucky.

Distribution details and a release date will be announced shortly.

Photo by: Dana Patrick

A Fight Well Fought at “The Alamo” Now Running at Ruskin Group Theatre

by Peter Foldy

Ruskin Group Theatre continues to celebrate the essence of arts and humanity with the world premiere of THE ALAMO by Ian McRae. This is their second decade of bringing Los Angeles audiences unique staging’s of live entertainment.

The Ruskin Goup Theatre, located at the Santa Monica airport, is an intimate space with approximately 55 seats, where you can see some of the best actors in the business. Bobby Costanzo who plays Joey, an ex-cop who also narrates some background history, and Tim True who plays Munce, the long time owner of the neighborhood bar, are two actors in an ensemble of nine that keep the action lively in this play, beautifully directed by Kent Thompson.

Bobby Costanzo, Tim True, Jack Merrill and John Lacy in “The Alamo”

The play takes place in the blue-collar Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn where a rundown neighborhood institution called The Alamo; the last great American bar, is struggling to survive. With an aging clientele, the place is fighting to keeps it’s doors open and the only hope seems to be the arrival of artist/musician/millennials who are moving into the neighborhood and wanting to adopt the bar as an entertainment hangout. The regulars don’t want to surrender their bar, much less their neighborhood, without a fight which presents a humorous and dramatic portrait of working class natives who always seem to find themselves on the front lines of change in America.

Actors Bobby Costanzo (Joey) and Tim True (Munce) talk about their rewarding experience with the project:

HR: What was it about Ian McRae’s play that made you want to be involved with this production?

BC: I thought that Ian’s play was poignant, funny and had a kind of Eugene O’Neill realism as in THE ICEMAN COMETH. I loved the idea personally of being a narrator working the audience (my secret nightclub persona)and then stepping into the action of the play.

 TT: I met the director, Kent Thompson, at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. When I heard he was in LA to direct a new play, “The Alamo,” I wanted to audition. While reading the script I was drawn in by the rich tapestry of characters. It reminded me of some of the folks at my local watering hole in Astoria Queens where I lived for awhile after grad school.

HR: Had you worked together previously, or done a play at the Ruskin Theatre?

BC: I had not worked with any of the cast before but I’m very impressed with everybody’s talent and professionalism.

 TT: Never. This is my first show at Ruskin and with everyone in the cast. I moved here from Portland Oregon, where I was pretty much full time in theatre. I co-founded a company there, Third Rail, that’s been around since 2005. When I came to Los Angeles I stopped doing theatre so that I could focus on the TV/Film thing, but once I was able to gain some momentum on that side I felt that I could do both.

I love working with everyone in the cast, they are really wonderful, and particularly Eileen Galindo, who plays my wife Carmen, and Kelsey Griswold and Julia Arian, who alternate in the role of Michaela – my Goddaughter. I have 2 key scenes with those characters and we’ve gotten close during the run.

HR: Were there surprises or unexpected character discoveries during the rehearsal process?

BC: As in all good writing you get to discover that nobody is overtly evil or malicious but usually has their own sort of “Rashomon” way of looking at things, coming from their own perspective, which is either reinforced or changed by their interactions with others. I feel that “Joey” (my character in the play) sees that, after his scene with Carmen, he knows he’s been selfish and demanding of her and not appreciated her emotional and physical pain.

TT: Oh lord, I guess so. Munce is a guy, who will tell you he doesn’t have many regrets, but the fella really lives there – in the past.

HR: You both have impressive film and TV credits, and you keep coming back to the theatre. What is it that you love most about working on stage?

BC: The immediacy and challenge of “getting it up,” so to speak, and discovering the way that each audience changes inflections and deliveries of moments within the play. It is truly the actors’ medium.

TT: Theatre was my career from the moment I decided that I wanted to act, which incidentally was as a freshman in high school getting a big hug from one of the senior girls after a curtain call. I trained in the classics, performing Shakespeare for about 10 years. I really love the use of language and how aural a play is. It’s the words and phrases, sure. But I also love finding a character’s rhythm, and where he places the sound – where, in his mouth, and where, in his body he resonates from.

HR: What other projects are coming up for you after this show closes?

BC: I’ll be playing “Uncle Bud in a new comedy called Champions debuting on NBC.

TT: I’m forming a theatre company, called Door Number 3. We will present Martin McDonagh’s “The Lonesome West” at the Odyssey Theatre this fall. I’m recurring in an upcoming Netflix series…but I can’t say more without pissing off the producers and endangering my family and everyone I care about.

The Alamo runs on Fridays and Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm through May 12, 2018. Ruskin Group Theatre is located at 3000 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Tickets are $27 – $30 and can be purchased in advance by calling (310) 397-3244 or online at www.ruskingrouptheatre.com . Free parking available on site.

The cast includes Bobby Costanzo (Joey), Eileen Galindo (Carmen), Nancy Georgini (Claudine), Milica Govich (Mary), Julia Arian (Micaela/Alternate), Kelsey Griswold (Micaela /Alternate), John Lacy (Dominic), Jack Merrill (Tick), and Tim True (Munce)

Running time: 1 hour and 55 minutes with one 15-minute intermission

Production Photos by Ed Krieger

 

 

John Simmons “A Life in Black and White” Exhibit Opens at the Perfect Exposure Gallery

Los Angeles, April 11, 2018

Black and White is beautiful. Photographer, John Simmons proves that with his new exhibit “A Life In Black and White,” opening on April 12, 2018 at the Perfect Exposure Gallery in Los Angeles.

A familiar figure on film and TV sets, Simmons is a well-known cinematographer with 2 Emmy Awards under his belt. Though he has been around since the early sixties, he has kept his many powerful still images under wraps.

In “A Life In Black and White,” Simmons pays tribute to ordinary people living ordinary lives–living in anonymity, till they are immortalized through this photographer’s inquisitive yet unobtrusive lens. Simmons manages to capture insignificant moments that on closer examination have so much to say.

Photographers “can’t help but put a frame around the world we see,” Simmons explains. “We are continually composing and all my pictures tell a story. Each one has its own spirit and soul. I have an affinity for people and whatever they share with me the moment I press the shutter becomes a testament to their lives.”

This rare glimpse in the monochrome world of John Simmons opens with a reception on April 12, 2018 and runs through May 25, 2018, at The Perfect Exposure Gallery, 1125 Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90019.

There is no charge for admission.

www.ThePerfectExposureStudio.com

 

Skylight Theatre Company’s “Rotterdam” Receives The Most Awards for Intimate Theatre, Including Best Production From Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle

LOS ANGELES, CA (March 20, 2018) – Skylight Theatre Company, Hartshorn – Hooks, along with producers Gary Grossman, Tony Abatemarco and Andrew Carlberg, garnered 3 awards from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, including the award for Best Production. There were two winners of the 2017 Production award, the other award going to Hamilton at the Hollywood Pantages.

Jon Brittain received the Writing award for Rotterdam and actress Ashley Romans took home the award for Lead Performance for the role of Fiona/Adrian in Skylight Theatre’s production of Rotterdam.

Directed by Michael A. Shepperd and nominated for the Ensemble Performance award, the Rotterdam cast included Miranda Wynne, nominated for Lead Performance, Ryan Brophy, Audrey Cain, and Ashley Romans.

Presented by Skylight Theatre Company & Hartshorn – Hook Productions, Rotterdam was produced by Gary Grossman, Tony Abatemarco, and Andrew Carlberg in Association with Providence Entertainment, Ltd., with Josh Gershick as Associate Producer and Dramaturg, Jonathan Muñoz-Proulx, Christopher Aguilar, and Shaina Rosenthal as Associate Producers.

Rotterdam’s creative team included Jeff McLaughlin (Set and Lighting Design), Christopher Moscatiello (Sound Design), Naila Aladdin Sanders (Costume Design), Michael O’Hara (Props), Shen Heckel (Assistant Director), Garret Crouch (Stage Manager), Tuffet Schmelzle (Dialect Coach), Raul Clayton Staggs (Casting Director), and opened November 11, 2017 with an extended run through January 28, 2018.

Skylight Theatre Company discovers, develops and produces new, exhilarating works that expand mainstream theatre while nurturing and educating the people who create them. A recipient of the Steinberg National Theatre Critics Citation (Dontrell, Who Kissed The Sea – Nathan Alan Davis), Skylight’s resident PlayLAb writers have been recognized with productions nationwide, a national 2014 USA Ford Fellowship in Theater and Performance (Sigrid Gilmer), and locally as a winner in the 2015 Humanitas/CTG Playwriting Prize  (Louisa Hill – Lord of the Underworld’s Home for Unwed Mothers). Skylight won 4 Ovation Awards in 2014 for The Wrong Man and Pray To Ball (the most of any intimate theatre in LA). LA Weekly included the Skylight’s productions of Years To The Day, Open House and Sexsting on their Top Ten list of plays for 2013. Their first year as a company dedicated to developing new plays, 2011, found Skylight’s production of Hermetically Sealed on the LA Times annual list of Top Ten Plays, while Mad Women moved from Los Angeles to La MaMa in New York. Since then, plays developed by Skylight have been performed Off-Broadway and in other New York theaters, Chicago, Washington D.C., Oregon, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and internationally in Scotland and France. For more information, script submission policy and production history go to http://skylighttheatre.org

Facebook: SkylightTheatre  Twitter: @SkylightThtr #RotterdamLA
Instagram: SkylightTheatre
Website: http://skylighttheatre.org

 

L.A.’s Australian Theatre Company Seeks Full-length Plays for Annual Reading Series in June

LOS ANGELES (March 5, 2018) — L.A.’s award-winning Australian Theatre Company is inviting submissions of full-length plays to be presented by a professional director and cast as part of its 2018 Summer Reading Series, scheduled to take place this June at the Zephyr Theatre.

This year the focus is on presenting new works that have not been previously produced in Los Angeles. ATC welcomes new works by both established and emerging writers of any nationality. Australian Theatre Company’s mission is to create a meaningful cultural exchange with American artists and audiences. Although an Australian voice should be present in each piece, that voice could be represented by the writer, a character, the location or an overarching theme.

The Summer Reading Series is part of ATC’s development process for future productions. Previous themes have included “Stage to Screen” (great Australian plays that have inspired films), “Works by Women” (plays by Australian female writers presented on the U.S. stage for the first time) and “United On Stage” (plays featuring the intersection of American and Australian characters). Previous main stage productions of Speaking In Tongues and Ruben Guthrie were both developed in the reading series.

ATC was established in 2014 by founding members Nick Hardcastle, Nate Jones, Jackie Diamond and Josh Thorburn. Critically acclaimed productions have included Holding the Man, Speaking in Tongues, Ruben Guthrie and Grey Nomad, winner of the 2017 Broadway World Award for Best Play- Local Production. A truly collaborative company, ATC continues to harness the rich breadth of Australian talent in Los Angeles along with the finest American theater practitioners.

This annual community event is also a way for ATC to connect with local and international writers, actors and other theater artists, and to develop new audiences — all while enjoying some great Australian wine, courtesy of Penfolds. The readings will take place every Monday in June at 7 p.m at the Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Avenue, and are presented by the Australian Consulate General of Los Angeles. Admission is always free.

Submissions close Friday March 30. For more information on how to submit a play for consideration, go to https://www.australiantheatrecompany.org/reading-series/

A Warm and Fuzzy El Nino

Review by: Peter Foldy

Sharp writing from Justin Tanner and spot on performances from a talented cast make Rogue Machine’s new season premiere, El Niño, a must see theatrical event.

The first thing you notice as you wait for the play to begin is the incredibly detailed set from scenic designer, John Iacovelli.  Everything feels real on stage, right down to the rain that will eventually fall outside the windows.

Nick Ullett and Maile Flanagan

But what really grabs you as El Niño begins is the edgy, no holds barred dialogue from the loveably pathethic, yet sharply drawn characters who could comfortably meld into an episode of an old Rosanne Barr TV comedy.

Colleen, (Maile Flanagan) a rolly polly woman with an early Beatle haircut, has been kicked out of her home by an abusive boyfriend. We find her sleeping on her parent’s couch. Mother, June (Danielle Kennedy) and father, Harvey (Nick Ullett) clearly don’t want her around. Collen, in their eyes, is a slacker who is soon asked to pack her bags and find somewhere else to waste away. June and Harvey want their space back. Want their privacy. Colleen’s various ailments, however, don’t provide this lady with too many living choices and she convinces them to let her stay until she heals.

Enter, Colleen’s high strung sister, Andrea (Melissa Denton) and her recently acquired boyfriend, Todd (Jonathan Palmer), a veterinarian and a push over who puts up with

The cast of El Niño

more crap from Andrea then most would ever tolerate. Lonely next door neigbor, Kevin (Joe Keyes) also arrives on the scene and when  he discovers that Colleen is the author of a series of science fiction books that he is a fan of, Kevin begins hitting on her.

Collen gradually lets her guard down and the pair are soon making out on the sofa. The messed up family dynamic, however, give Colleen and Kevin a low chance of finding love–but it is mean sprited big sis, Andrea’s hard-hitting revelations that puts the final nails in the coffin. At least that’s what Mr. Tanner wants you to think.

El Niño gradually tugs away at your heartstrings as these hyper-real characters discover their compassion and their humanity. Outside the rain may fall but all ends well in El Niño, not just for our loveable screw-ups but also for the audience who are rewarded with almost none stop laughter.

Melissa Denton, Danielle Kennedy, Jonathan Palmer in El Niño

Maile Flanagan hits every note as the charismatic Colleen. She is a comedy prodigy who should have her own TV series. Danielle Kennedy reveals a powerful matriach, dishing out insult and guarded affection even handedly. Nick Ullett, Joe Keyes, Jonathan Palmer and Melissa Denton also give it their all. This is a connected cast who bounce of each other’s energy. They are a joy to watch. Kudos also go out to director, Lisa James who keeps the show fluid and energized.

El Niño is one of the early hits of 2018. Put on your raincoats and go see it. You’ll thank me later.

When: EL NIÑO runs Saturdays and Mondays at 8:30pm, Sundays at 3:00pm through April 2, 2018 (no performances on March 19th).

Where: Rogue Machine is located in The Met, 1089 N Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029.

Tickets: $40.

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

Social Media Identifiers: #ElNinoPlay Twitter: @RogueMachineLA, Instagram: @RogueMachineTheatre; FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/RogueMachineTheatre

 

 

 

 

 

 

4Play Breaks Down Walls and Bounderies

Review by: Peter Foldy

4PLAY by Graham Brown examines the personal entanglements of three couples – one heterosexual, one gay and one lesbian. Told in something of a sitcom style, the show takes place among the audience who upon entering the venue find themselves in a nightclub setting with cocktail tables and a fully stocked bar.

Graham Brown and Dustyn Gulledge

Though the show opens with a jazzy piano rendition of Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things,” (well sung by Marian Frizelle), 4Play is anything but. It’s a meta-theatrical experience, a play within a play, and the actors let you know  immediately that they are breaking down the fourth wall.

4Play mixes life with art and throws in science and sports – not to mention infatuation and seduction in the process.

Graham Brown (“the director”) is getting over a breakup and figure this could be the right time to explore his bisexual side. He meets and hooks up with

Zoë Simpson Dean, Ariana Anderson and Dustyn Gulledge

Cameron J Oro, someone he doesn’t realize is in fact his best friend’s boyfriend. After a clumsy and disappointing encounter, the director decides that he may be straight after all.

Meanwhile Ariana Anderson (“the lesbian”) rents a room to Zoë Dean Simpson (“the roommate”) and the women are soon involved in a steamy tryst. Eve Danzeisen is their 3rd roommate and she, it turns out, is the director’s love interest.

The aforementioned boyfriend, (Cameron J Oro), and the director’s best friend, Dustyn Gulledge, have their own trials and tribulations. Throw in a fesity relative and a stage manager and what you get is an intimate, funny performance, with conversations that at times feel like that heart to heart, revealing chat you might have with your best friend at 4am.

Sound confusing? It’s really not. 4Play has a compelling story line and likeable characters who have both humor and depth. Mr. Brown’s dialogue flows as smoothly as a bottle of Dom Perignon and the fine cast have a chemistry that feels, spontaneous and authentic. By the time the pieces of the puzzle are put together and the conflicts come to a head at an awkward, ill fated dinner party, you almost want to swap phone numbers with these people so you can catch up in a few weeks to make sure that things have worked out for them. 4Play feels that involving. Don’t miss it!

Cameron J. Oro and Kaitlin Large

4Play was written by Graham Brown with Nathan Faudree and Lisa Roth, Directed by Graham Brown and featuring Ariana Anderson, Graham Brown, Bevin Bru, Eve Danzeisen, Zoë Simpson Dean, Marian Frizelle, Dustyn Gulledge, Lara Helena, Kaitlin Large, Zoquera Milburn, Cameron J. Oro, Christi Pedigo, Kirstin Racicot, Kelsey Risher, Robert Walters, Dan Wilson. Presented by trip.

 

 

 

 

WHEN:
Thursdays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 22, March 1, March 8, March 15
Fridays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 23, March 2, March 9, March 16
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 24, March 3, March 10, March 17

WHERE:
trip. @ The Actors Company
916 A North Formosa Ave
Los Angeles CA 90046

HOW:
(800) 838-3006 or www.tripnyc.org

TICKET PRICES:
• General Admission: $25

Photos by: Kelsey Risher