Tuesday, April 25, 2017

PLASTICITY! At the Hudson!

Alex Lyras   Photo Credit Jessica Sherman
The Hudson Guild has taken store front (and back) theatre through its paces for many years.  PLASTICITY, conceived by Alex Lyras and Robert McCaskill featuring Lyras as a bevy of interesting characters, is the type of work that is so inventive, so present and accounted for that the extension of the show since its opening in late January, playing only on Monday nights, that one might hope that word of mouth would keep it running in The Hudson's 35 seat space for a long, long time. 

A discussion of brain injury as a topic for a one person exploration may, at first, seem like a stretch.  In fact, PLASTICITY really is about stretching and philosophy and the whys and wherefores of chance: the serendipity of our lives.  Even though Lyras is the only physical actor on the Hudson stage, featuring projections on a proscenium scrim as well as on the back wall of the stage, we meet a nine or more characters: some through Lyras and some via video projections.  The actor’s timing is crucial and thanks to brilliant projections by Corwin Evans, edited by Peter Chakos, the show comes together in a narrative that works beautifully.  Music and presumably other sound effects by Ken Rich are perfect.

DNR, the victim, engaged to the strikingly lovely, “Kate” suffers a brain injury.  We’re led to believe at first that it might be from a catastrophic rock climbing accident via opening video. We learn climbing terms and the climber's next to last resort has him praying for a ‘divot,’ a tiny hand hold to help his free climb move forward. There’s a term for a leap of faith... if missed, it’s on belay for the climber and hoping for a save. 
 Lyras portrays a wide variety of characters including a Hindu Brain Surgeon, the victim of the stroke, his twin brother,  a rapping orderly at the hospital, the psychiatrist discussing his client: Kate, the fiancé of DNR,  others via skype and video with a truly effective use of lights, sound and projections.The production reminds of Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale, that first went up at Theatre West almost thirty years ago. Plasticity may have the luxury of a similar route to fame and fortune.

This production is show is literally a trip. A trip into the mind.  It questions our very being. One line that sticks is made by a consultant of questionable repute engaged by the victim’s twin trying to find a way through the tragedy:  “The brain is a brilliant liar!”  McCaskill’s direction invisibly guides co-writer Lyras through days and years of character changes.

Extended for Monday’s only! This one's for the theatre audience that longs for an artistic challenge and an undeniable performance.

by Alex Lyras and Robert McCaskill
Hudson Guild Theatre
6539 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
May 1, May 8, May 15, May 22 
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