Wednesday, March 15, 2017


 ​Karthik Srinivasan, Pia Shah and Anjali Bhimani in South Coast Repertory's 201​6 ​production of ​Orange by Aditi Brennan Kapil. Photo by ​Debora Robinson/SCR

ORANGE,  a play about Orange County, California currently at the lovely Julianne Argyros Stage at South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, directs us to the sights and sounds that locals and tourists have marveled at for years.  Leela (Pia Shah) arrives from India with her mother (Anjali Bhimani and all of the other females in the show) to attend a local wedding. Leela is 'on the spectrum' which means that autism or Asperger's Syndrome is a factor in the way she interprets and responds to the world.  Like a child, Leela is very literal.  Unlike a child, she is often monosyllabic and under stress filled with angst ..  Her father (Karthik Srinivasan who also plays a variety of roles as the only male member of the cast) is a very busy businessman who shunts off responsibility for 'watching' his adult.. or nearly adult, daughter to a hip and rebellious Americanized cousin.. again the quite versitile Anjali Bhimani

Discussion of 'adventure' and what it means factors well into the subsequent events that are aided and abetted by gorgeous scenic design  created by Michael B. Raiford and equally impressive projections by Mike Tutaj  which virtually become additional characters in the play.  It's not great when the most outstanding memory of this ninety minute production turns out to be the scenery.  Not that the 'adventure' of a young Hindu woman who prays to a pantheon of gods goes begging.. the energy (in spite of the choices made by Ms Shah  and/ her director Jessica Kubzansky to remain stiff and presentational... even when attacked on an Orange County beach) never lags.  This is a slice of life featuring a segment of the OC population that is at once, traditional to its Indian roots (barely) and a window into the way most folks behave when given an opportunity to slip the bonds of convention and head into the night. 

Tech credits practically overcome the stage work. All three actors turn in presumably what director Jessica Kubzansky required.  
The opportunity for more is waiting.  

by ​​​Aditi Brennan Kapil
​directed by ​​​​Jessica Kubzansky

​Julianne Argyros Stage
South Coast Repertory Theatre
South Coast Plaza
655 Town Center Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Through ​March 5-26, 201​7
Tickets and Information:
 (714) 708-5555

No comments:

Post a Comment