Friday, November 17, 2023

‘Radical or, are you gonna miss me?’

 ‘Radical or, are you gonna miss me?

Elizabeth Ramos and Anna LaMadrid
Photo by Makela Yepez
by Isaac Gómez commissioned by IAMA Theatre Company explores the clash of two sisters and another 'sister' stuck in El Paso.  Radical politics and family responsibilities  factor into a story that .. from time to time shifts oddly in tone and direction.  The play is over long:   attempting to cover a panoply of issues.. 

When the best thing you can say about a new play is that the introduction of the Season by the two women whose names got lost in the applause and hooting, was enthusiastic and that the set and the lighting were effective and that staying awake for the whole thing was a challenge, that sums up, pretty much my experience.  

That IAMA has taken over the Echo Theatre space to present this clap trap piece and spent a lot of money on the set and lights is pretty impressive. That it goes emotionally from A to B with little effect and a few silly jokes is a mystery. Why? Why do this? 

Belinda (Elizabeth Ramos) is under house arrest on bond put up by her sister, Rosalie  (Anna LaMadrid). Belinda has become a recruit to a conservative political cause that may have something to do with radical women.  Something about a bomb and family ties and anger and skipping bail with your ankle monitor buzzing like a hive of angry bees.. Right wing dimbulb bees...  is part and parcel what  it may be all about. Too harsh.. Well. yes.. But I sat through the whole thing.

Erica (Kim Griffin) is an apple?  (That's how the Marlboro puffing blonde is described in the author's notes.)  Evidently, Belinda has met Erica on a graveyard shift. This leads to what might have been  civil disobedience, had the business of the bomb not factored in. 

Director Jess McLeod has decided to smack the audience silly with the explosive entrance of the sisters shouting at the top of their lungs with no emotional place to go.  Clashes with few breaks for love struggling to surface:  these poor women seldom take a breath before going hammer and tongs again with flash backs?  that are supposed to support the radicalization of poor Belinda (factor in the subtitle here?) but are just foreshadowing of some girl on girl action that was gratuitous at best.

The actors fall victim to the director's decision to attempt to interpret the subpar text   with broad strokes...  Mostly, I found this production, at best,  an exercise in futility. After the first volley from the sisters,  the voice in my head was pleading, "Let it be over.." 

But!!  The actors are fully committed, certainly. The set and the tech are well done, thanks to scenic designer Nicholas Ponting and lighting designer Josh Epstein.

Radical or, are you gonna miss me?

by Isaac Gómez

Driected by Jess McLeod

IAMA Theatre Company at the

Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039

FREE parking in the ATX (Atwater Crossing) lot one block south of the theater.

Previews: Nov. 11 – Nov. 15
Performances: Nov. 16 – Dec. 11
Tuesday at 8 p.m.: Nov. 14 ONLY (Preview)
Wednesday at 8 p.m.: Nov. 15 ONLY (Preview)
Thursdays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 16 ONLY (Opening Night) and Dec. 7 ONLY
Fridays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 17; Dec. 1; Dec. 8 (dark Nov. 24)
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 11 (Preview); Nov. 18; Nov. 25; Dec. 2, Dec. 9
Sundays at 2 p.m.: Nov. 19; Nov. 26; Dec. 3, Dec 10
Sunday at 8 p.m.: Nov. 12 ONLY (Preview)
Mondays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 27, Dec. 4, Dec. 11 (dark Nov. 20) 

• General Admission $40
• Previews: $25

(323) 380-8843

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