Saturday, November 19, 2022

DRIVER'S SEAT One woman..

Ellie Brelis - Photo by Jenny Graham

Ellie Brelis
mounts a clean tiny space at the
newly remodeled Theatre 68 in NoHo to present her one person monologue, "Driver's Seat". She's a 'city girl.' She doesn't drive! (Or, didn't?)

A front bench seat of a twentieth century Buick sits center stage.. Suicide has been on Ellie's mind. She addresses the audience. And, so,  begins her quest for self discovery, possibly in spite of herself.  

Emily Mikolitch directs. Dramatic lighting changes by Gavan Wyrick set the mood.

There's something to be said for Ellie Brelis's stepping up to confront her own far.. Laying bare her OCD (Obsessive / Compulsive Disorder), sundry addictions and brief glances into her own sexuality must be a huge task.  Most touching, midst the rants of a failed relationship with a man and his gifts of mugs, Ellie eulogizes her loving and generous Graddad, supplemented by terrific projections by Nick Wass and a voice mail from the old guy himself.  

Ellie's sips of a beverage to hydrate the sixty minute monologue might have been incorporated more smoothly into her presentation.

Unlike Chazz Palminteri's "A Bronx Tale" where the actor turned out a dozen or more characters with a prop or a gesture, Ms Brelis mostly  addresses the audience confidently as herself.  For anyone who has wondered if they had left the teakettle boiling on the stove half way to the car in the driveway and returned  to the kitchen to make sure that all was well, Brellis has been constantly harangued by her inner 'monster' who never lets up. 

Ellie Brelis - Photo by Jenny Graham
 Ticks and odd behavior are par for the course as we hear  of the actress being treated well and with empathy by other kids in school when she was a student. It lasted one week.

The renovation of what is now Theatre 68 where. in the past, Deaf West held forth and then Antaeus Theatre Company won high praise, the single space has been transforemed into smaller venues. It is impressive.  The vertical climb into the steeply raked audience seating in The Emerson Theatre has no hand rails. Climbing up the uneven steps may be a challenge for those of us with fewer mountain goat genes in our DNA.

Creative Team

Gavan Wyrick (Lighting Design)

 Gabriella Gilman (Costume Design)

Charlie Glaudini (Sound Design)

Nick Wass (Projection Design)


Written & performed by

 Ellie Brelis 

Theatre 68 Arts Complex

The Emerson Theatre  

5112 Lankershim Blvd.

North Hollywood, CA 91601

Tickets: $25:


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