Visitors

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Bananananana Art? Art!!

December 11, 2019

What is art??  



 

The Miami Art Basel has created an opportunity to have a discussion about art!  "Comedian"  by  Maurizio Cattelan is the issue:

https://www.miaminewtimes.com/arts/unpeeling-the-120000-banana-from-art-basel-miami-beach-2019-11327036 

(Buy a banana. Buy a roll of gaffer's tape. Tape the banana to a blank wall for an in person experience.)
 .....

On Facebook, where everyone has an opinion, I was pleasantly surprised to first learn from my friend, Pat Willson,  about "Comedian" a work by Italian artist, Maurizio Cattelan. The conceptual piece was taped to the wall of the Perrotin gallery space in Miami: Banana and duct tape. 

Read the excellent accounting by Miami freelance journalist Douglas Markowitz. (Please copy and paste the link above.)

Then, 
consider that the "Georgian-American Performance Artist"  David Datuna, walked into the Perrotin booth, wrote on the wall "Epstein did NOT commit suicide." and ate the banana! 

I've asked an obscure question on FB about Datuna regarding the eventual resurgence of the banana.  Having just screened Alejandro Jodorowsky's film "The Holy Mountain" and have known about "Artist's Shit" by Piero Manzoni., it seems that the cycle and recycle? of this piece may shine for a while and make folks outside the world of art, at least..  have an opinion.  

To me, there are two kinds of art: 
"Stroll by" Meaning that whatever "the art"  is.. in a gallery or museum or anywhere...  that if we pass on by, that's that! Kinkade!
And..  
"Thekindofart that engages us and stops us in our tracks".. 
This would be for me: Delatour's Joseph in the Carpenter Shop in the Louvre,  Van Gogh's The Mulberry Tree at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, and Rauschenberg's Coca Cola Plan at MoCA. 

For a local Miami Hatian artist, Edouard Duval Carrié, it is beyond cruel for rich collectors to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a ridiculous duck taped banana when a tiny portion of the purchase price would fund his efforts to help other artists which would be productive and welcome.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/tale-art-basels-120k-banana-installation-festivals-influence/story?id=67629172 
(I don't know why those links don't highlight? Please copy and paste)

I tend to understand both the business of collecting by deep pockets collectors and the plight of Carrié.  
It's about percentages and desire to share.  Certainly, Carrié has the right to look askance at the temerity of a rich person to pass his work by. It seems unfair.  But, essentially, it comes down to what the rich person sees as valuable: to him/herself and/or to the art world in general.  A slap in the face to Haitian art? Yes. A way to see the deep pockets art world? Oh Yes! 

A woman on Facebook was incensed that anyone would pay $120,000.00 for a silly banana (and tape). She offered a "million dollar glass of lemonade" for sale in her rejection of the banana idea.  I was unsure if it was the glass that she wanted the million bucks for or for the lemonade?  I offered to negotiate to buy her offer and also offered to bring my own lemons. She has not responded, but I'd be willing to buy her glass, her lemonade or both if we can negotiate a price that is agreeable to me.  I can afford a dollar for a glass, filled with lemonade or not. Or, I'd bring my own glass and pay a dollar for the lemonade? OR..  I'd bring my lemons and my own glass and pay a dollar for her to make the lemonade while I watched.  
Is that art? 
It is to me.  The idea, the ingredients, the action and the product.  Even this description of the idea is art, to me, in that it's a plan to do or make something.  An idea. A Concept.

My dollar is probably in direct reference to the $120K that the two collectors eash paid for the banana and duct tape (I do prefer gaffer's tape, but what the heck?).. Percentage wise I can afford a buck. The rich collectors wealth is proportional to mine.

Finally.. Currently, on display at our local MoCA in Los Angeles is a favorite piece of mine by the NYC artist, Dove Bradshaw.  It consists of a piece of copper (a new piece each time the work is installed) that is placed in the museum at a specific height from the floor and then sprayed with a specific solution that causes the copper to react chemically, sending the resultant patina down the wall.  It's subtle and depending on how many times the piece is sprayed, the discoloration: a lovely blue green from the oxidizing copper, becomes, with the copper and the instructions:  'the art.' 

Concepts.  Every art work emerges from a concept: Andy Goldsworthy's outdoor installations using the rain?  Michael Heizer's Big Rock at LACMA? Christo's amazing wrappings? Ideas made manifest. 

My own personal contribution?  It's just for me, though I've 'installed' others:  Chayote.  See photos above.  It's art to me. And, to me most important thing about "Comedian" is that the attention it has garnered is drawing folks into the art world, who, under other circumstances might never have had an opinion or a say so! 

Michael Sheehan
December 12, 2019

 

Sunday, December 8, 2019

EAST WEST SUGAR PLUM

For listeners to KPCC 89.3 FM, the name of Sandra Tsing Loh may be familiar. Her off the wall  commentary, just the sound of her voice, always bring a smile.  
Guess Who?  photo by Jenny Graham
As I thought of clever ways to tout this highly energetic romp, the lyrics of an often relevant  1960s song by The Young Bloods came to mind:

"Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another... "  Right Now!!

No sooner has Sandra Tsing Loh burst upon the venerable East West Players stage than she has the entire audience turning to one another to introduce ourselves.  We are all in this together! There is no escape! So... for goodness sakes let's have a party!  Audience participation and Loh's no holds barred narrative never flag.

With Shannon Holt and Tony Abatemarco (and  Friar McCollister as Frosty, the Snowman who warms up the audience with "Does it smell like carrots in here" jokes)  Loh bounces joyfully through the story of her desire as a little girl to take part in a local production of The Nutcracker. Holt and Abatemarco bring her other characters to life in such a way that if their having a great time is not infectious, there must be some Grinch in your DNA.

 
TonyAbatemarco, Shannon Holt, Sandra Tsing Loh  
 Photo by Jenny Graham
Make no mistake,  this show will include you and get your chestnuts roasting with undeniable energy bringing your Holiday Spirit to Life... Or Else!  
Directed by Bart DeLorenzo with super scenic design by Keith Mitchell and great costumes by Angela Calen, this is an opportunity, thanks to the wit (and wisdom?) of Sandra Tsing Loh, to launch the Season with Joy.  Take the Metro. Walk a block or two through Little Tokyo to save on parking and take in the local flavor of Los Angeles. 

Sugar 
Plum 
Fairy 
by Sandra Tsing Loh
East West Players
120 Judge John Aiso St. 
 Los Angeles, CA 90012
Thursdays through Sundays
Closes December 23, 2019 
Tickets and Information
 www.eastwestplayers.org
(213) 625-7000

Sunday, December 1, 2019

UNRAVELED at the Sherry

NoHo hosts a handful of storefront theatres.  Having just lauded the wonderfulness of what these tiny spaces do for art and the theatre community, I was drawn to see a west coast premiere at The Sherry.



Jennifer Blackmer's "Unraveled"  brings reflections of sad stories that almost every person we know may face at one time or another. Time  marches on.  In fact, what may be the "illusion" of time emerges as the theme of the play. Joy (Meg Wallace) is a professor of Physics and Philosophy, an interesting mix that fuels the progress of the story.   Her opening speech turns on the idea that not unlike Billy Pilgrim in Vonnegut's "Slaughter House Five" we may slide back and forth in time, which she actually does,  encountering her mother at different episodes in their lives together. 
 Front: Meg Wallace, Carolyn Crotty  Rear: Kathy Bell Denton, Heidi Shon

Joy's elderly mother, George (Kathy Bell Denten) has been diagnosed with cancer  and suffers from chemotherapy induced dementia. When Joy is drawn back to her childhood we meet Young George: Carolyn Crotty.

As the story advances... and retreats in time, Joy travels  back to significant memories in her life. The closely bonded mother and daughter wind down the ever challenging road to the inevitable. 

Director Steve Jarrard shows great empathy for Blackmer's story.  It's evident that the level of experience of each of the cast members varies considerably.. Anna (Heidi Shon), the nurse caretaker for the elderly George, moves smoothly. More static is Michael, Joy's assistant/lover  (Drew Lee Davis Wheeler).

Unraveled by Jennifer Blackmer
The Sherry Theater
11052 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Nov. 15-Dec. 8
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 7 p.m.
Tickets and Information: 

(323) 860-6569

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

SALVAGE at The Lounge

There's something to be said for Tim Alderson who, after fifteen years of fermentation,  rounded up some pals and put on a show. By his own admission, he is not a playwright. However, there's the bones of something happening here.
In my recollection, it may have been Hoyt Axton at The Troubadour  who went through a pint  of Southern Comfort while on stage. And, for sure, Janis Joplin was known for her love of that sweet spirit.  It's powerful stuff. When Preacher (David Atkinson) enters from the john, unplugs the juke box where Floyd Whitaker's "Rise from the Ruins" may have been played a hundred times or more in Johnson's dusty bar, he returns to his table where his custom Martin D-45 accompanies a mostly empty bottle of Southern Comfort.  Having watched Hoyt deal with a pint, I wondered how the man managed to stay vertical.  
Leonard Earl Howze, Christopher Fordinal, David Atkinson

There's a beauty of an old Epiphone hanging on the wall.  It may have belonged to the legendary Floyd Whittiaker?  Salvage is a dive bar where Mr. Johnson (over the top Leonard Earl Howze) grumbles in the otherwise empty joint.  Preacher's opening song "I'm So Tired of It All" won't be hitting the charts any time soon, but it is heartfelt, even if shy a notch or two from Kris Kristofferson. 

À la recherche du temps perdu, to coin a phrase, unfolds.  In search of lost times. The past.

The dust and memories of Preacher are brightly interrupted when a kid with a chipboard guitar case, Harley (Christopher Fordinale), literally bursts through the door and asks in a louder voice than either Johnson or Preacher are prepared to handle, "Is this the bar where Floyd Whittaker killed himself!?"   

Thus unfolds a tale of tragedy and hope.  Uninvited, Harley, pulls his more basic Martin out of its modest case and makes an effort to jam with the crusty old Preacher's walkin' blues  lament.  He fails. 

Undaunted, Harley manages to open to the older man and reluctantly, stories begin.  

Harley's wife, Destiny (Nina Herzog)
Christopher Fordinal, Nina Herzog Photos By Ed Krieger
shows up and learns that Harley is on his way to the pawn shop to hock his Martin (that took him three years to save up to buy) in order to be a responsible father.  Depending on your vocabulary, one might mistake Fate for Destiny.  Without making  a big deal out of it, we see that Destiny refers to following one's own pathway while Fate is more simply just what happens. Destiny, Harley's wife, is more than just a gal with whom Harley has chosen to make a life. Destiny is a sign post, the mother of their expected child soon to arrive. The turn of events discloses how the lives of Johnson, Preacher and Harley and Destiny all come together at the crossroads of the Salvage Bar. 

Preacher talks about 'redemption'.. a nickel for an empty Lone Star bottle and maybe the redemption of a soul, though the ending of this play still leaves some questions.  

Imperfect in a perfect way, I'd have moved the action of the entire show back up stage about eight feet.  Sight lines.  Fine performances deserve an audience.  This is a world premiere worth sitting in on. 

SALVAGE by Tim Alderson
A World Premiere
Directed by Damian D. Lewis
The Lounge Theatre 
6201 Santa Monica Blvd 
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Opened Saturday, November 16, 2019
Runs 8pm Fridays & Saturdays
3pm on Sundays 
Closing:December 15, 2019
Tickets and Information:
323-960-7712 
or www.Onstage411.com/Salvage 
 


Great Bad Habits

Shoebox, hat box, store front, sardine can?  All the names of little theatre spaces that have popped up in Los Angeles come to mind as we are shoe horned into the Ruskin at the Santa Monica Airport.  This is the heart of what theatre, to me, is all about.  
Most of what I know about Catholic nuns has been through art and theatre and the movies.  Christopher Durang's "Sister Ignatius Explains it All for You" went up with "The Actor's Nightmare" years ago and that was a revelation. Amy Adams and ever lovin' Meryl Streep cast "Doubt" into the world while Whoopi Goldberg rocked "Sister Act."  The only nun I ever met was Corita Kent after she had left Immaculate Heart and her world of teaching. She may have been a living saint.  In Stephen Mazur's mostly comic play the nuns are real people, each with a story.
 
Alley Mills, Jacquelin Lorraine Schofield, Jacquelynne Fontaine, Mouchette van Helsdingen, Lee Garlington                               Photo by Ed Krieger
When we meet Sister Helga ( Mouchette van Helsdingen), Sister Anthea (Jacquelin Lorraine Schofield), Sister Maggie (Lee Garlington), Sister Claire (Jacquelynne Fontaine) and the Mother Superior (Alley Mills) at St. Cyril's the atmosphere is a bit relaxed (after the business with the snakes or the gas or whatever it was), but the stereotypes still ring true with a twist.  The Sisters are a mixed bag: a little nip, a little drag, a smartypants, a musician living and teaching in  a convent in trouble. 

The elementary school that the nuns maintain is in a dicey part of town.  Planning for a Christmas Pageant is on the docket but the diocese isn't much interested in forking over funds to help keep the school alive. 

In a very episodic trip from the convent to  the office of the spunky old bishop, Father Theodore (if Meryl is "everlovin'" Orson Bean is double that with a twist!) who loves the bread baked by St. Cyril's nuns daily but is not inclined to be of much help. 

Mazur's episodic script includes a few too many short scenes and an intermission. Reducing some of the 'olios' that feature cute character exposition and just getting the story told with no intermission may keep the narrative rolling.

It's a dark and stormy night when Maria (Heaven sent Kelsey Griswold) collapses at the door of the convent and melds into the Christmas plot slightly predictably She has the voice of an angel and becomes the catalyst for dealing with the cranky old bishop. 

With movie and television credits, Mazur's story is apt and fun with audience participation whether we want to or not, which may be a Catholic tradition.  Every character has a personal story to tell and the result is a charming couple of hours with a Christmas surprise.  Of course, heading out to the Santa Monica Airport is worth the journey that will send an audience into the night with a smile and a huge laugh as it all resolves, including the curtain call.
Alley Mills and Orson Bean Photo by Ed Krieger

Full   disclosure. I met Orson Bean years ago and have loved his stories and his hundreds of appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.. and maybe Jay Leno.  With his wife, Alley Mills, the two of them banter like anything as the Mother Superior and Father Theodore lock horns.  This charming couple ignites the evening.

BAD HABITS by Stephen Mazur
A World Premiere
Directed by Mike Reilly 
Opening at 8pm on Friday, November22, 2019  8PM Fridays and Saturdays 
 2pm on Sundays
Through January 26, 2020
 (No performances Nov 29 & 30; Dec 27 -Dec 29,2019;Jan3 -Jan 5,2020) 
Ruskin Group Theatre
 3000 Airport Avenue
 Santa Monica, CA 90405
Tickets and Information:  
(310) 397 3244 
http://www.ruskingrouptheatre.com

 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

BURIED CHILD / A NOISE WITHIN

It has taken me a week to ponder and digest the current  production of Sam Shepard's 1979 Pulitzer Prize winning  play "Buried Child" at A Noise Within in Pasadena.  The elements are engaging and knowing some of the circumstances of Shepard's life: his childhood and his passions interfere a bit with getting a solid take on director Julia Roderiquez-Elliott's production.  I've read that this production may not be the same script as the original.

Unfortunately, I've learned that ANW company stalwart, Apollo Dukakis, who portrayed  Father Dewis, the apologetic paramour of Halie (wonderful Deborah Strang) in the play has left the cast.  In the performance I attended, Father Dewis in what may have been a missed cue, took a violent fall to the floor.  Dukakis continued and finished the show, but his tumble put him out of the play, which is a shame.

Apollo Dukakis, Frederick Stuart, Deborah Strang, Geoff Elliott Photo by Craig Schwartz
Siblyl Wickersheimer's appropriate set is seedy and reflective of the dire situation at hand.  Dodge (Geoff Elliott) is dying. For reasons that are unclear, a reading lamp shines directly into the eyes of the audience. Dodge sits, sneaking shots from a concealed bottle and shouting back and forth with Halie who is upstairs preparing for her tryst with Father Dewis. 

Shepard's symbols that lead to Dodge's unapologetic revelation of the disposal of an unwanted child, which may have been the result of an incestuous connection between his son Tilden (Michael Manuel) and Halie  are vague but revealing. Tilden has suffered a trauma: never explained,  that has returned him from New Mexico  back to the family farm in Illinois. His entrance with an armful of corn that has mysteriously appeared behind the house when Dodge declares that there have been no crops since 1935, shows both his physical and mental infirmity.  Time slips and slides.

Another brother, Bradley (Frederick Stuart) comes to cut Dodge's hair.  Bradley has, inexplicably, cut off his own leg with a chain saw, leaving him sporting a wooden prosthesis. The haircut literally wounds Dodge. Talk of a statue for a third son, Ansle, now dead, shows that the other sons have never been favored by Halie.

The depths of Shepard's issues with his own father and the symbolic destruction of Dodge, wasting away, but still the heavy handed patriarch, expand with the arrival of Tilden's son,  Vince (Zach Kenney) and his floozy girlfriend Shelley (Angela Gulner).  They have stopped by on their way to New Mexico where they expected to find Tilden. Initially, Dodge denies knowing Vince, but in time not only recognizes his grandson but as Dodge lays dying, bequeaths the house and in an eloquesnt laundry list some of the equipment to the boy. This then, anchors Vince to the land.

In an unexplained turn, Vince heads off with Dodge's money to secure a "bottle" for him. Meanwhile, Shelley declares in an obtuse way that she may belong here after all. When Vince returns, drunk and raging, the original script called for him to cut through a screen and destroy it when eventually entering the house. In Rodriguerez-Elliott's version, he climbs through a window.  

The archetypes that the Shepard provides: The patriarch, the matriarch, the prodigal son, the virgin/whore, the innocent/guilty son, the bully, the failure of religion.. are all fodder for heavy discussion. Reading the text and comparing it to the production at A Noise Within is enlightening and helpful. In all, the powerhouse performance of Strang's Halie and Dukakis's subtle approach to Dewis,  bring their characters fully to life.  Not to say the others are not doing good work, but this piece calls for a visceral commitment that Halie and Dewis project in the most committed way. 

Buried Child by Sam Shepard
A Noise Within
 3352 E. Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 
Through November 23, 2019

Sunday, November 10, 2019

WAITING FOR WAITNG FOR GODOT.. Sacred Fools

Tonight I had the great good fortune to see old friends, Jenny O'Hara and her husband, Nick Ullett. Jenny is the first recipient of the coveted though never before awarded Sheehan Prize  for her outstanding work as an actor in the recent Fountain Theatre production of "Daniel's Husband" as well as creating the role of the loopy lady in Stephen Sachs' "Bakersfield Mist." Seeing the Ulletts was just a bonus to seeing this terrific show at the Broadwater. Jenny is up for some Ovation Awards, so I decided to just scoop them and laud her first! Congratulations, Jenny O'Hara!


Having reviewed Bill Irwin's "On Beckett" at the Kirk Douglas recently and being a fan of Waiting for Godot, I arrived ready to be entertained. Just the premise made me smile. Understudies on hand, in costume (more or less) andwaiting for their opportunity to shine. 

 Playwright, Dave Hanson's script, has captured the essence of the original Godot.  (Irwin pronounces it "God O"). The understudies Bruno Oliver as Ester and Joe Hernandez-Kolski as Val present pretty much as Laurel and Hardy and then chew the scenery in various ways, moving their essence of Godot along with similar angst.  These actors await The Director to show up to tell them it's their turn to go on. Val's Aunt Mary has come to every performance to support him and Val so wants to make her proud.  The actors wait. They don't go on. They should go. They stay. 
(L to R) Joe Hernandez-Kolski and Bruno Oliver. Photo by Jessica Sherman Photography
Banter and hijinx prevail without a hitch including some Buster Keaton moves with a way too small vest that vexs Ester throughout the show.  
We are taken to school by the intrusion of ASM (assistant stage manager)  Laura (deliberately low key Julie Marcino) who basically declares that actors are simply "deaf puppets" who become tools to the wonderfulness of what she does: calling the show!  To demonstrate how easy 'acting' is, Laura reads light cues to bring home the fact that backstage is equally important to those on the stage who strut and bellow.  
To demonstrate how an "actor prepares", Ester first becomes a gorilla: declaring that Brando may have prepared in a similar way,  emerging as Kowalski. then On the Waterfront, romping  through the gamut of not only many of Brando's roles, but famous lines from every movie you have ever seen in your life and then some.  Brilliant. 

I have a special place in my heart for store front theatre. The mostly grubby 'Theatre Row" area on Santa Monica west of Vine hosts speeding drivers laying rubber; honking impatiently from time to time. But!...  inside: the temple:  the exposed brick wall. The set by Aaron Francis, I was told, is the actual dressing room from the original Heliotrope Theatre that Sacred Fools used when founding the company.  Director Jacob Sidney has this essentially two hander well under control as it bustles a pace. This tight full length one act will charm fans of Samuel Beckett with familiar references and might introduce Godot to folks who may not have heard the good news.  

WFWFGodot is a must see. Parking is tough. The corner of Lillian and Santa Monica may have a number of productions going on at the same time, so plan to go early. The fancy bar on the corner looks terrific.

WAITING FOR WAITNG FOR GODOT
by Dave Hanson
West Coast premiere
Sacred Fools 
Broadwater Second Stage
Lillian and Santa Monica
Hollywood, CA 90038
Through December 14, 2019
Tickets and Information
sfreservations@sacredfools.org
All tickets $15.00.. period.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

2044? The Actors' Gang / Tim Robbins


 
Bob Turton, Tim Robbins, Will Thomas McFadden a…shley Randall

A world in constant conflict? 

Dystopia? 

Dystopian:  adj: "relating to or denoting an imagined state or society where there is great suffering or injustice."
or
n. "a person who imagines or foresees a state or society where there is great suffering or injustice."
Google it! It's just a click away. Or, are we living in Dystopia today? Certainly, George Orwell.. at least in his writing of 1984 was a 'dystopian.'

In 1949, Orwell,  at the age of 46, foresaw twenty-five years into the future.   Rejected for military service in WWII. He was a middle aged Brit who feared for his country and for the world.   In 1945 he published "Animal Farm", a biting satire imagining a society where some animals were more equal than others. What a concept!

The foreshadowing that Orwell brings in Michael Gene Sullivan's excellent adaptation for the stage in no small portion echoes our world in 2019. 
Of course, we all recall: Big Brother!   
The torture of Winston Smith.  
A revolution resisting and under attack as an entire society falls under 24/7 surveillance.  
"Reason" to one person is not Reason to another. 
Old friends at each others' throats for core beliefs that have been somehow skewed.  
Torture. 
Indoctrination. 
"How many fingers am I holding up?" asks O'Brian to Smith.
The relentless barrage of propaganda in this Actors' Gang presentation, directed by Tim Robbins includes beautifully produced Breaking News Reports that boost the society of Big Brother. Hard to resist propaganda when backed by the Stars and Stripes, the proof that the story is real.

This Actors' Gang presentation is more than simply a play.  It's an immersive experience that involves the audience subjectively as well as objectively. It reflects a somewhat uncomfortable world from which we have just arrived right outside the theatre. The chilly parallel may be just a bit too real.

Two huge video screens at either end of the empty space present an ever changing 'eye' that watches us.  Four smaller 'telescreens' come to life as the voice of the mysterious O'Brian  booms.  Four Party Members (Tom Szymanski, Ethan Corn, Guebri VonOver and Bob Turton)  carry copies of Smith's dossier, his self damning diary. In time each PM will portray many different characters from Smith's confiscated diary.

Cihan Sahin's professionally produced telescreen commercials and news reports overwhelm us. The converted party members stand erect:  transfixed as the voice of O'Brian, booms or coddles from above.

To wax poetic seems at counter point to the dread predictions from seventy years gone by. Orwell,  a brilliant satirist, saw something in his crystal ball that the world is seeing now come to fruition. And, we're not done yet.  In 2019, thirty-five years post 1984, facial recognition has pegged me without my permission on Facebook. TSA "Security" at the airport becomes a nightmare if you dare to question authority.  Who are the Fascists?  

It might be like that old Pogo comic strip, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

What Robbins and his Actors' Gang do with this version of Orwell's 1984 (they have done this show many times in the past) employs new technology with old school Nuts and Bolts acting and directing.  As Winston Smith, Will Thomas McFadden, is discovered writhing in pain lying center stage;  the audience, inches from the action.  Party Members One, Two, Three and Four interrogate Smith in the Ministry of Love. Dressed in identical trim dark suits, no ties, these actors bring to life Smith's tormentors and morph to play a dozen others as the story progresses. 

Dedicated actors, the influence of style that smarts of Grotowski and Chaikin, quantum leap from Steven Kent and The Company Theatre allow deep character and text exploration at once bringing a chilling reality to life: allowing technique to shine without shame. 

This is not a fun show. The world around us today is literally on fire; questionable leadership in the USA finds us on a slippery slope, possibly circling the drain as a nation, though we are not completely the nation of Oceana ... yet.. The reminder that corrupt forces are not the stuff of fiction is what Robbins and The Actors' Gang bring to life and for those who care to see raw theatre done with perfection, supporting this prescient work should be a high priority. 

At the snack bar, the expensive treats are insulting. Chips at fifty bucks a pound!  
But, it goes to support the theatre. As it should. 

"1984" 
Adapted from George Orwell's novel by
Michael Gene Sullivan
Directed by Tim Robbins
The Actors' Gang
9070 Venice Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232