Monday, February 1, 2016

"Safe At Home - An Evening With Orson Bean." Pacific Resident Theatre

Full Disclosure.  
Years ago Orson Bean took me to lunch at Musso and Frank’s in Hollywood.  We had the same voice over agent at the time.  After a chat in the agent’s office one day, he said, “Let’s go to lunch.”  This has absolutely no impact on the impartiality of my review of this genius actor, raconteur, monologist, magician and all around good guy. (Please click on the photo for the full effect.)

At the age of 87, Orson Bean is a dynamo.  Charming, full of energy with stories dating back to his childhood and early days in show business, he mounts the stage full of love.  Living in Venice has had Orson active with the Pacific Resident Theatre for years and because of the popularity of his first outing with Safe at Home, he’s back again to whatever the complete opposite of ‘polite applause’ might be.   Standing 'O!'

Even with some intimidating winds and weather, the Sunday Matinee was filled to the rafters with an appreciative audience.  The ease with which Orson takes the stage and the wonderful stories he spins with interstitials of magic tricks that start with the production of a flower from an empty vase (he did that one at the age of seven… or was it five?) he is completely and genuinely engaged with us.

With a career that spans over sixty years (probably seventy), Orson brings us up to the time that his career has started to fulfill his dreams. We then fast forward to the "big time show biz really in the circus."  His familiar face is one that certainly everyone who has watched the Johnny Carson Show or Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights long ago, will recognize.  He’s the favorite uncle who comes for Thanksgiving with a pocket full of treats and may just find a quarter behind your ear.  The man is present and lovely. 

Super stardom, it seems, has never been of much interest.  He rides his bike from his Venice canal home shared with his lovely wife Alley Mills, to the theatre; engages with the produce man at the local Ralph’s just down Lincoln Boulevard.  He is comfortable in his own skin and as the audience comes to the theatre loving him with that preconceived notion, the magic of the man glides comfortably from the stage to each one of us.  We are not a group.  We are individuals: friends, who have come to see this familiar friend who shares his life in a mesmerizing monologue of magic tricks and tears and that pure laughter that is only really experienced when we have been led down the garden path to a very nice surprise.

The light coming into your heart as Orson Bean takes his second bow is, many fold as bright for him, I’m sure.  As he says regarding being an actor, “It beats heavy lifting!”  If you haven't gone, please GO!  And, if you have, go again and share the light, bring a friend. 

Safe At Home - An Evening With Orson Bean
Written by Orson Bean
Directed by Guillermo Cienfeugos

Pacific Resident Theatre
703 Venice Blvd.
Venice, CA 90201
Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM
Sundays at 3PM
Closing March 13, 2016
Tickets and Information:
310 822 8392

No comments:

Post a Comment