Sunday, November 4, 2018


 Who is Cal and why is she in camo? 

Playwright William Francis Hoffman is not David Mamet.  Neither is he Sam Shepard. The energies and the characters of these other playwrights ring throughout Cal in Camo.   The goal of Red Dog Squadron and VS. Theatre as expressed in program notes is to bring works they consider important to the stage.  In the tradition of store front theatre, the mystery of finding the actual playing space, 32 or 33 tightly packed seats with marginal sight lines, is important to economy and challenges the audience to overcome the situation and to absorb the play. 

Cal (Bree Turner) is married to Tim (Brad Raider).
Bree Turner and Brad Turner Photo Credit David Rodriguez
Their new baby wails for the milk that Cal is incapable of producing either directly or by her unsuccessfully pumping like mad to no avail. She is bruised; f
rustrated and unhappy. We segue to a brief encounter in a local bar with husband, Tim, coming on like Elmer Gantry  to convert the neighborhood barkeep (Andrew Thacher) to stock his craft beer.. Suite.. get it?  Can you taste the special flavor? It's sweet because it's flavored with citrus and other fruity concoctions.  His rap is evangelical, but fails.

Director Amy K. Harmon's hand moves the story forward slowly and deliberately.  The arrival of Cal's brother, Flynt (Tim Cummings), a
Tim Cummings as Flynt  Photo Credit David Rodriguez
mountain of a man in khaki, faces up center, standing stock still. He is in shock from the recent death of his wife who drowned in a flood. He describes her being swept away...  just out of his grasp.  

The subtext of water and failure pulls us along  eventually putting Cal into Flynt's khakis as lightning flashes and thunder claps with the looming demise of the new home that Cal brags she particularly held out for in the new development, though we learn that her story is far from the truth. 

Money issues permeate the relationship between Cal and Tim. The energies of Mamet and Shepard prevail, reflecting perhaps a bit of greed reflecting Mamet's American Buffalo arriving with the odd discovery of a legacy Winchester 1873 rifle:  part of Tim's inheritance from his father. The rifle brings Flynt to life as heavy rains come in. This for some reason sends him into the woods to return bleeding and muddy with the story of hunting a deer with the ancient rifle.

This noble effort features strong performances with odd pacing that render this project worthy of an audience.  There's a moment when you think that you might die. 
Cal in Camo  
by William Francis Hoffman
VS. Theatre
5453 Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles, 90019
8PM  Thursdays-Saturdays
3PM Sundays
Through November 16, 2018
Tickets and information: