Skip to main content

Posts

'What the Constitution Means to Me' at the Mark Taper Forum

What the Constitution Means to Me is written by Heidi Schreck and directed by Oliver Butler. During its run at the Mark Taper Forum, the role of Heidi is played by Maria Dizzia.  I have only had the pleasure of seeing What the Constitution Means to Me performed by Dizzia, who takes the language of the piece so personally an audience member who didn't know any better, who was unfamiliar with Dizzia and Schreck, might believe the actress to have penned the words herself.  The play (performance piece) follows a young Heidi as she competes to earn scholarship money by giving speeches about the constitution at the American Legion hall in Wenatchee, Washington.  Throughout the evening, Dizzia alternates between teenage Heidi and adult Heidi to discuss the constitution and what it meant to her as a young woman orating for the sake of scholarship money and a grown woman reflecting on how her country's failed to protect generations of women.   The set mirrors the American Legion hall Heid…
Recent posts

'Waiting for Waiting for Godot' by Sacred Fools

Written by Dave Hanson and directed by Jacob Sidney, Waiting for Waiting for Godot is about two actors, Ester (Bruno Oliver) and Val (Joe Hernandez-Kolski), who are understudies for a production of Waiting for Godot

Prior to viewing the show, I got a drink with a friend at The Broadwater Plunge next door. The man who checked our IDs told us that the set we were about to witness was based on what the Broadwater backstage used to look like. It did not disappoint–a haphazard dressing room with racks and racks of clothing that could only ever act as costumes, cheap mirrors, a muffled speaker whispering to those occupying backstage what's currently taking place in the spotlight, vintage show posters littering the walls. Anyone who's ever spent a good amount of time in a theatre, I'm sure, feels right at home in the audience of Waiting for Waiting for Godot

The show began with some clown work. Ester, for the life of him, could not get his suddenly-too-small vest to contain his…

'On Beckett' at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

On Beckett, created and performed by Bill Irwin, is a celebration of and discussion about the work of famed dramatist Samuel Beckett.

Irwin begins his performance, his presentation, by laying out precisely what the evening will entail–a clean summary of the texts that will be dramatized and considered, and for approximately how long the show will run. He speaks to the audience in a friendly, familiar manner. A few times throughout the roughly 90-minute performance, he mentions that he hopes he's not coming off too "artsy."

Irwin leaves the audience with this qualification before diving into Beckett's text: He is not a biographer; he is an actor with an intimate knowledge of Beckett's works as one can only possess when one repeatedly speaks a writer's words aloud.

The humility is nice. The last thing I want to listen to is a pretentious intellectual tell me how to interpret Samuel Beckett for 90 minutes. Irwin makes it clear that that's not what this is. 

'Deadly' by Sacred Fools

Sacred Fools Theater Company's world premiere of Deadly, a new musical by playwright/lyricist Vanessa Claire Stewart and directed by Jaime Robledo, is about the victims of notorious serial killer H. H. Holmes. 

In the author's note printed in the program, Stewart writes about discovering H. H. Holmes' story (via "binge-watching the History Channel"). Though the gruesome details of his killings were enthusiastically offered up, "the victims and their stories vanish[ed] into the ether." 

So Stewart set out to create a show that focused on the stories of the women gone too soon at the hands of Holmes. And she did just that. 

Deadly is so clearly written by a woman. The entire production is littered with empathy–it can be found in the smallest of nooks and crannies. The script does not just tell the story of a serial killer and why he did what he did and how he did what he did, it tells the story of some of the first cries of feminism, sisterhood, motherhood. 

'Pockets' at Hollywood Fringe

Pockets is a very silly story about the importance of family, the double standard female rulers face, and the root of criminal activity in any given society.

The world of Pockets takes place in the kingdom of Crumpeton, a fictional kingdom that celebrates, above all else, crumpets. Ruling while her husband is away is the Duchess (Kat Primeau), mother to the young Bellamina (Molly Dworsky). Bellamina feels neglected by her mother ever since she took over for her father and turns to a life of crime in protest. She becomes Pockets, the new, hot, young pickpocket on the streets of Crumpeton. Her one goal? Make life a little harder for her neglectful mother, the Duchess.

Along the way, Bellamina realizes a special gift she possesses (in addition to her natural knack for pickpocketing): the ability to get people to listen to one another. Single-handedly she unites groups of criminals to work for a common goal, and, later, helps her mother to become a better ruler and parent.

With a cast of …

'Happy Days' at the Mark Taper Forum

When life starts to feel monotonous, when you start to feel alone in your marriage, when the earth begins to pile up around you and you fear you might be buried alive, remember the gun in your purse.

Happy Days, directed by James Bundy,is a piece of absurdist theatre by Samuel Beckett. It's the story of Winnie (played by Dianne Wiest) and Willie (played by Michael Rudko) living out their golden years in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

When the curtain lifts, we see Winnie, buried up to her waist in the desolate sand that fills the stage, a beautiful, sad black corset exposed–hinting at what her life used to be before it happened, before she was buried. The sky is piercing blue. The lighting, by Stephen Strawbridge, is clinical, as if we, the audience, are peering into a forbidden display at The Natural History Museum.

Winnie begins to babble. "Another heavenly day." She speaks, largely, about how to fill her time–how she mustn't waste her more thrilling activities (suc…

'Rotterdam' at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Rotterdam, written by Jon Brittain and directed by Michael A. Shepperd, takes place in–you guessed it–Rotterdam, a port city in the Netherlands, on New Year's Eve. Nothing stays in Rotterdam for long. It's a port city, after all. A sort of dockyard purgatory where everything and everyone is coming and going. Josh (Ryan Brophy), Lelani (Audrey Cain), Fiona (Ashey Romans), and Alice (Miranda Wynne) have all begun to sprout accidental roots and are starting to feel unsettled.

The play begins with Alice penning an email to her parents to let them know that she's a lesbian and very much in love with Fiona. Inspired by her girlfriend's honesty, Fiona reveals that she's always identified as a man and would like to start outwardly living as one. He begins to go by Adrian. What follows is an incredibly honest dialogue about identity, gender politics, and love.

Along the way, we learn how our four characters ended up in the port city of Rotterdam. Alice took a job there hopin…