Sunday, October 25, 2015


What I love about the Independent Shakespeare Company’s work is that it’s all about the Work..  No frills to speak of, trained professional actors, simply ‘a plank and a passion.’  They are lean and lithe, especially our gorgeous little Ingénue, amazing Erika Soto, who flies in to an “open rehearsal” for RICHARD III starring Himself: The Actor (David Melville, who also collaborated with the company on the script).  He is the man with all the credits and all the attitude and all the ‘stuff’ that sometimes makes us cringe if we are dragged kicking and screaming to see something by The Bard.  Melville’s tongue in cheek approach to Richard is delightfully way over the top and his impatience when we learn that the director of the piece has fled and that the actress to play Mrs. III, Anne Neville, has split the scene as well. 
Erika Soto, Sam Breen, David Melville

The Ingénue is handed the script and attempts to read the queen’s lines.  As all actors should do in seeking clarity in their character’s parts, she is flummoxed by the speech, stops the reading and simply asks for clarification regarding the lineage of Richard…   and away we go. 

Stage Manager Sam Breen’s terrible Accent Francais thankfully disappears as The Actor and The Ingénue and The Stage Manager begin to chart the Strange Eventful History of the kings of England.  Familiar scenes from other plays of Shakespeare emerge with these three:  these happy three, this band of two brothers and a sister as they embark on a wild and furious ride that, though imperfect, is perfectly presented with The Actor using an entire wall to chart the lineage of the Kings of England.  Melville and the ISC are not the Reduced Shkspr Co.  They are specific in this presentation that brings to the audience a peek into what Theatre is all about.  We see behind the scenes a bit and as the actors morph through generation after generation of the Royal Monarchy, we keep track of who’s on First by the writing on the wall. 

Direction is a bit hazy.  Joseph Culliton is credited with ‘Direction’ instead of ‘directed by’ and this may be because the entire company is credited with the development of the piece with Melville.  Some scenes placed far downstage play wonderfully well for the  first row, but then the folks behind must shift and crane our necks to see the action.    However, the evening goes a pace and the actors coming in and out of their ever changing characters proffer a lesson of which few of us may be aware.  This presentation is wonderfully graphic with these three strong talents romping through the ages.  A rack of costumes stage right by Houri Mahserejian and simple set by Caitlin Lainoff work just fine. 

Especially wonderful is Ms Soto as Princess Catherine with Breen as the English speaking nurse discussing body parts from Henry V.  C’est formidable.  Le elbow!

Uncomfortable seats in a wonderfully rag tag rehearsal space elevate this production to the heights.  Go and see it! 
Ticket prices are as follows:
Generous Admission: $35
General Admission:  $20
Ten tickets are set aside for each performance at no charge. 
Call ISC for information. 

By David Melville and the ISC company with
William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe
 Independent Shakespeare Company
3491 Casitas Avenue  #168 
(Enter on the west side by the parking lot)
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Through November 22, 2015
Tickets and Information:
818 710 6306

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