Thursday, Jan 10 2008
Ray Bradbury's one-act stage adaptations of three of his short stories capture their author's trademark brew of whimsy, sentimentality and future shock. In "Bless Me Father for I Have Sinned," a priest (Jay Gerber) finds his church's confessional occupied by a stranger shortly before Christmas midnight Mass. The stranger unburdens his remorse for childhood character lapses committed 60 years before, including an act of animal cruelty. Turns out the priest has a similar secret — could they be the same person? (Hint: Gerber, who turns in a nice performance, plays both roles, with Peter Strauss' lighting design providing clear cues as to which character is speaking.) "The Pedestrian" is classic Bradbury — a Luddite's lament about technology's dehumanizing touch. Two geezers (Jay Gerber and Michael Prichard) go for a nighttime stroll to smell the autumn air, even though apparently people in the Los Angeles of 2049 never walk, and spend their nights at home in front of giant TV screens. The original, prescient story was published in 1951, but it's not made clear onstage why the two men are eventually stopped by a menacing cop car. "Invisible Boy" looks at an Ozarks conjurin' lady (Roses Prichard) whose spell-casting powers have grown weak — right when she wants to bewitch a young man (Grady Hutt) to keep her company for the summer. This slight story should fill anyone's whimsy quotient for a year. Director Alan Neal Hubbs keeps the action flowing for an hour's worth of stage time. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Jan. 19. Continues through Feb. 3, 2008

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Reach the writer at smikulan@laweekly.com

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