Monday, October 22, 2018

Rogue Artists Celebrate Señor Plummer

Coming from a background of strong ensemble theatre that called for hours and hours of not only rehearsal, but working to hone an idea that included major set construction, costumes, props and publicity, I love Rogue Artists for their dedication to working together to completely build an entire experience literally from the ground up.  It's the story of "Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta."  The life and times of Don Eugenio, the man who built his fortune that extended as far as The Hollywood Bowl site to West Hollywood where Plummer Park now stands.   Featuring more than fifty actors and technicians, Rogue Artists brings it all to life.

A brilliant but loopy script by Diana Burano, Tom Jacobson and Chealsea Sutton (with the Ensemble) introduces us to Señor Plummer.. in old age portrayed by three actors manipulating a puppet of the patriarch: it's a Western Bunraku!  After a brief orientation / slide show by the author of Plummer's biography, John Preston Buschlen, we are invited to exit the tiny theater and to follow any of the characters whom we have been introduced to.  Out we go: to adventure! A similar device was used many years ago in the production of Tamara that took place at the Hollywood American Legion Post 43. 

The Land Shark (Tighe Skehan) Photo: Chelsea Sutton
The term Fantasmagoria may be a bit hyperbolic, but the enthusiasm of the Rogue Ensemble cast is undeniable as small pods of the audience engage in several "stations"  that expose the story of the Plummer Family and some of the horror that by necessity is part of the historic foundation of the founding of the City of Angels.  

We are entertained in an authentic saloon; meet a lovely Chumash woman who tells of the early residents of Southern California; led through darkened mazes to witness early prejudices against the Chinese; enjoy the story of young Eugenio who falls in love and begins his family with stories of how his parents (I think?) homesteaded huge parcels of land only to be cheated of their holdings by a crafty City Slicker and his pal, The Land Shark! Big Fish meets Pecos Bill as one myth is acted out with Señor Plummer re-enacting  the story of how he rode on the back a shark!  

Somehow, the cast rounds up the scattered audience and corrals us all in the central plaza for  music and dancing.  We are reminded that in the spirit of Don Eugenio we never say 'goodbye'.. we say Hasta La Vista!  and indeed, another trip to this delightful show in historic Plummer Park might be in order.  This is fully engaging and immersive ensemble work that not only entertains, but educates the audience in the history and traditions that make Los Angeles the evolving and historic city that it is today. 

The ensemble cast features Richard Azurdia, Tyler Bremmer and Mariux Ibarra as Eugene Plummer at various points in his life, as well as Ricky Abilez, Kawika Aguilar, Magally Castellanos, McCristol Harris III, Amir Levi, Carene Rose Mekertichyan, Robert O’Hare, Sarah Kay Peters, Marta Portillo, Sheila of the Jungle, Tighe Skehan, Cary Thompson, John Wuchte.

Director Shawn T. Cawelti must be like the guy on The Ed Sullivan Show with all the spinning plates. The Plummer tales spin flawlessly. Coordination of tech, sets and lights by Matthew G. Hill and Wesley Chu are worth the price of admission alone. 

Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta by
Diana Burano, Tom Jacobson and Chealsea Sutton with the Rogue Artists Ensemble.
Plummer Park
7377 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA  90069
Thursdays, through Sundays @ 7:30 p.m. 
Extended through November 18, 2018 
(dark Saturday, Oct. 27)

Tickets and Information:
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