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THE GOLDEN STATE 

Thursday, Jan 10 2008
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Northern California's Dell'Arte theater troupe gets physical again, this time with company member Lauren Wilson's modern spin on Moliere's The Miser. Here, the setting is poolside at the L.A.-area home of Gertrude Hopper (Joan Schirle), a wealthy skinflint who hates illegal immigrants (including the underpaid ones she employs) and who hatches an idea to make her two layabout adult children pay their way. This involves getting gay son Cubby (Tyler Olsen) to donate his sperm to fertilize the frozen eggs of Gertrude's sexagenarian golfing pal, Bunny Schimpf (John Achorn). The wombless Bunny won't have to carry the baby to term — under Gertrude's plan, that service would be provided by Gertrude's 39-year-old daughter, Sylvia (Barbara Geary). Swirling around this sometimes madcap, sometimes gross-out plot are romances, separated families and wildfires. For all its slapstick and social commentary, however, Wilson's surprisingly long play (nearly two hours' running time) hangs on only about 45 minutes of story and necessary dialogue. The rest of the show consists of extraneous scenes that politically pander to the chorus, and much of the production's physicality seems abrupt and unconnected from one moment to the next. The eight-member ensemble, directed by Michael Fields, has fun in this romp about greed, materialism and decrepit bodies, with Schirle being a real hoot as the demented reactionary who keeps her money closer to her than anyone could imagine. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Feb. 8. Continues through Feb. 24, 2008

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Reach the writer at smikulan@laweekly.com

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