Today, we review six plays: Fierce: LA Streets at Underground Theater, The Love Potion, The Nina Variations, Lost Moon Radio: Episode 12, Confessions of the World’s Worst Missionary and Red Bastard
By Tatyana Gelfond~
Fierce: LA Streets, a compilation of three short plays, Dusted, The Pool Of Gold In the Sky, and Trio is a dreamy writer’s caricature depiction of street life in Los Angeles. We begin with a stage void of props. Well not entirely, the actors from all three plays are present, and in character, as the show opens with a disgruntled Tinkerbell played by Corey Clifford running from actor to actor gesticulating madly her story of woe, and how she’s chosen to leave Neverland, because of her hate of Wendy. Clifford’s Tinkerbell is the antitheses of the diminutive body portrayed in the stories of Peter Pan. She’s a pom-pom of manipulation, and even though she’s lost all of her powers, her wings no longer fly, and her wand was bought from the 99 cent store, this Tinkerbell is a force to be reckoned with, and will do what she has to survive.
The Pool Of Gold In The Sky tells the story of Jesus (who is a bum living on the street), Mary Magdalene (Jesus’s loyal disciple, and a prostitute who he shares his fried chicken with), and an airline pilot who, through an unfortunate turn of events and a dead cell phone, is trapped with them, and trying to get off the street before he is killed by gang bangers. The Pool Of Gold In The Sky explores various themes of the human choice, and how it’s never too late for redemption, if you’re willing to give up your material possessions for emotional freedom.
Trio from what I could tell was an anecdotal look inside a woman’s head trying to confront her lover. Actors screaming and running around the stage like chickens with their heads cut off. A self-defeating conundrum of love gone awry.
Fierce: LA Streets plays June 16, 17, 18, 23, and 24.
by Tony Bartolone~
The Love Potion is alternately impressive and ridiculous. This absurd disarray of a play is entertaining, goofy, and over the top.
Amongst all the silliness, there is some truly awe-inspiring acrobatics in the works. The show was a wonderful mess of sex, love, and high-stake rolls. In the beginning, I tried to wrap my head around what was being performed. Though I was never quite sure what exactly was going on, at some point the decision was made to just sit back and enjoy it. This sloppy sight was, after a certain point, completely captivating.
Bordering on psychedelic, the show was less conceptual and more strung together, moment to moment, as if at any time the whole thing might fall apart (but it never did). It takes a good amount of guts to put on a show like this. Are the creators brave or insane? Most likely, they are a little of both. However, one thing sold me on this show. The mad scientist broke away from the topsy-turvy shenanigans, and spoke. In an interesting turn, he called upon everybody to love one another. This monolog was so fascinating within the context of the chaotic commotion. And in that moment, it was clear what the play was about: People expressing themselves to connect with other human beings through whatever means they had available.
The Love Potion plays June 15 at 5:30pm, 22 at 6pm and 23 at 1pm.
by Joel Elkins~
For its inaugural production, the Will Play For Food Theatre Group takes on this clever and fast-paced take on Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull.” Playwright Steven Dietz has taken Chekhov’s two central characters, Konstantin Treplov and Nina, and engaged them in 42 variations of the play’s final scene. As introduction to the uninitiated, it is explained that Treplev, a writer, is in love with Nina, his leading lady, but, alas, she is in love with Trigorin, a more accomplished and successful writer. Treplov, in turn, is the object of Masha’s affections. This dynamic is played out in radically different scenes pitting the two against each other and exploring assorted themes, including the art of writing, the essence of love and the unknowability of the future.
In the spirit of job creation, the production has cast three separate pairs of protagonists/antagonists. The Ninas are played by Marisa Persson, Shashona Brooks and Olivia Schlueter-Corey. The Treplevs are played by Mikie Beatty, Max Kleinman and Garrett Liggett. Although bold and inventive, it is unclear whether this technique adds or detracts from the scenes’ inherent contrasts. However, it does undeniably allow for more abrupt and entertaining scene changes and tri-part monologues. Fortunately, due to Scott Marden’s direction and a uniformly strong cast, there is no discernable drop-off between scenes.
All in all, a very auspicious debut for this fledgling company.
The Nina Variations plays on June 16 at 2 pm, June 21 at 11 pm, June 23 at 2 pm, and June 24 at 5:45 pm
by Marcus Kaye ~
One needn’t be a frequent listener to public intergalactic radio to see the joy in Lost Moon Radio’s live radio show. Cleverly intermixing original songs and sketches with an outspoken radio DJ, Lost Moon Radio: Episode 12, under the careful direction of Sam Roberts, explores the themes and stories of “night.”
Set during an all night radio marathon, the Lost Moon Radio company of comedians and musicians tackle such complex issues as: slumber parties, truth or dare, red eye flights and all night gyms. No evening topic is off limits, and that’s half the fun. From the innocence of a fairytale to the raunchiness of lost virginity, the company is fully committed to each sketch, and more importantly, know when to end it.
Each sketch is tied only thematically, leaving some semblance of an arc to be desired. What lacks in story structure, however, is made up for by the talent of the actors and musicians. In fact, I’d just as soon have no story whatsoever if it meant performer Lauren Flans would repeatedly rap like Nicki Minaj. Her rap sequence in the red eye musical number is worth the price of admission alone.
Lost Moon Radio: Episode 12 plays June 16th @ 7PM, June 20th & 22nd @ 8PM, June 21st @ 10PM and June 23rd at 11PM at Fringe Central Mainstage.
by Tracey Paleo~
It could be said that technically it wasn’t a ‘show’. There was no acting prowess within the run-on, frivolous, comedic dialog which didn’t accord a lot of ‘levels.’ There was no choreography or sophisticated stage direction. The lighting cues were barely perceptible and the photo montage a bit scant. In fact, in pointing out the overall, inconsequential details, and given the storyteller’s nervousness during the presentation, it was more of a first rehearsal exercise. But never-the-less, in Confessions of the World’s Worst Missionary, writer/performer Lina Alfinito manages to offer up a moving chronicle based on her true personal experience as a naive college missionary on a trip to Africa to save the world.
Once past the campy sidelights of being a spoiled, self-bashing, American, the ridiculous post trip martini and other un-original quirks and quips, Ms. Alfinito finally gets to the point. Faith is no match for the heartbreaking reality of poverty, racism, HIV/AIDS and the myriad of crises of post-apartheid life in South Africa. Ms. Alfinito has been living with this story for a full two years since returning from her journey and yet according to her, she has not yet “come home.” Discovering your own mortality through the staggering fact that you may not ever change anything, at merely 22 years old, is pretty tough love that can rattle anyone’s faith. But the real value of Confession’s is found in Ms. Alfinito’s absolute, unshakeable strength to hold on to what is good and right and beautiful. Surprising and sweetly done.
Performances at Artworks (Studio A), 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles on Saturday June 16 @ 6:30pm, Sunday June 17 @ 6:30pm and Monday June 18 @ 10pm
[Editor's note: During Fringe, we will occasionally have reviews of the same play by different wirters. Here is a second review of Red Bastard]
Red Bastard at ArtWorks
~by Brian Sonia-Wallace
‘Red Bastard is not a clown. He is not here to please you. He has come to make you surrender.’ This is the promise of Red Bastard, and the demon onstage manifests himself as the niggling voice of insecurity that we all have inside, an internal monologue of fear and self-ridicule that says, “You’ll never be good enough!” Only Red Bastard (the character) says it out loud, dresses up in absurd rolls of fat and a bright red bodysuit and provokes you, no, demands you, to prove him wrong. And shoves his oversized butt in your face. “Yes,” he says at the opening, “It’s that kind of show.”
Really a self-help seminar disguised as interactive theatre, Red Bastard begins with a lengthy prelude of haranguing and self-debasement to get the audience to a point where the absurd Buffon character can talk candidly to the group about their dreams and the fears that prevent those dreams from being realized. The show is definitely aimed at an artistic crowd, but it hits its mark. I found one member of the audience in the lobby physically shaking after the show, and it has plunged me into the deep end of a pool of self-reflection and re-direction for the last few days.
Yet, somehow, the whole ordeal is ridiculously fun. Red Bastard is closer to ritual than theatre, drawing its drama from the audience’s reactions to the Red Bastard’s provocations and creating an honest-to-God dialogue within the theatre. There is no story, no set, no props, not even a character in the sense of ‘someone pretending to be someone else’. Just the performer, taking each of our personal demons for a leisurely stroll. The result? Basically a spiritual enema.
Red Bastard performs June 18 at 8pm and the first Monday of every month at Artworks Theatre.