Sunday, November 13, 2022

SMILE : A WORLD PREMIERE at IAMA : Atwater Village

IAMA Theatre Company presents a World Premiere play, "Smile." Playwright Melissa Jane Osborne's. script moves  cinematically under the direction of Michelle Bossy to celbrate the fifteenth season of work by IAMA. 
Andria Kozica, Isabella Feliciana
Photo by Jeff Lorch
There are confusing moments that made the reason for Helen (
Andria Kozica) to be in grief support sessions  only discussed much later in the story. The exposition  evolves deliberately as  troubled lives collide. Rachel(Isabella Feliciana), a girl in what may be serious trouble, meets Helen (Andria Kozica), a guidance counselor at an upscale high school in Mainline Philadelphia. 
It's 1992 "The Year of the Woman." Brilliant projections by Sean Cawelti partner with Erin Bednarz's  over amped sound  to bring Yuri Okahana-Benson's  multipurpose canvas to life.   
Dan Weingarten's dramatic lighting steers us through the complicated exposition of the relationship between Helen and Rachel and Helen's husband, Matt's  (John Lavelle) simply attempting to understand what's going on.  
Why Osborne has taken so long to bring the issue of Maggie (please see this play:  Maggie is a huge factor) into focus is a mystery.  It is an interesting polemic that discusses the role of women in society and how they are treated in 1990s America. The story  unfolds with excellent and even portrayals by the entire cast to the credit of director Michelle Bossy. 
The role of Joey, a boy with whom Rachel  is smitten, was well played by understudy Alex Fox.  Brief expository scenes with the two teens flirting  must be necessary to show Rachel's evolution as an evolving young woman.  We end with a strong statement.
"Smile" is a crisp and well presented telling of a story that allows us to eavesdrop on a family that will, in time, heal.  The complications of Helen's efforts to help Rachel give us the twist necessary to see the who the strongest character in the play really is.
One 'gray' note has to do with scene changes.  Even in the dark to see the actors pressed into service to move set pieces is just wrong.  Because the flow of this play rolls very much like a movie, the short scenes in multiple settings is creatively accomplished, but, for me, this distraction is a distraction. 
An enthusiastic first night audience arrived to red carpet photos, hugs and kisses as this experienced theatre company launched into it's fifteenth year.  
 Isabella Feliciana as Rachel

Alex Fox in for Ronit Kathuria  as Joey

Andria Kozica as Helen

John Lavelle as Matt

The creative team for Smile includes scenic designer Yuri Okahana-Benson; lighting designer Dan Weingarten; projections designer Sean Cawelti; costume designer Vicki Conrad; properties designer Heath Harper; and casting director Jordan Bass. IAMA ensemble member Anna LaMadrid is associate director and dramaturg. Grant Gerrard is the production manager and Kimberly Sanchez Garrido is the stage manager. Tiffany Moon and Kat Kim produce for IAMA Theatre Company.

 SMILE (World Premiere) 

by Melissa Jane Osborne

Directed by Michelle Bossy

Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Performances: November 12 – December 5
Thursday at 8 p.m.: Nov. 10 ONLY (preview)
Fridays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 11 (preview); Nov. 18; Dec. 2; (dark Nov. 25)
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 12 (opening night); Nov. 19; Nov. 26; Dec. 3
Sundays at 3 p.m.: Nov. 13; Nov. 20; Nov. 27; Dec. 4
Mondays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 14; Nov. 21; Nov. 28; Dec. 5

FREE parking in the ATX (Atwater Crossing) lot one block south of the theater.f,m0o]/.=

• General Admission (except previews and opening night): $35
• Opening Night (Nov. 12): $40 (includes post-performance reception)
• Previews: $20

Tickets and Information:



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