Brewsie and Willie | Archive | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Brewsie and Willie 

Thursday, Jul 29 2010
If the name Gertrude Stein isn't enough of a clue to not expect your average, well-made play, just walk into the seventh floor, downtown-penthouse performance space of this mesmerizing production by CalArts' Center for New Performance and L.A. stage experimentalists, Poor Dog Group. That's where Jesse Bonnell, John Kern and Jeffrey Elias Teeter's video projections of the surrounding cityscape create the uncanny effect that Efren Delgadillo Jr.'s combat-detritus set is perched high upon a vertiginous, open-air promontory. Such lofty, if illusory, heights provide an apt metaphor for the elevated discourse of Stein's lucidly conversational, postwar novella and its all-too-prophetic admonition against the political and intellectual conformity awaiting America's returning WWII GIs. Set during the limbo period between the end of the war and demobilization, director Travis Preston and writers Marissa Chibas and Erik Ehn's elegant adaptation follows the fears, gripes, prejudices and dreams of Stein's archetypal cross section of soldiers and military nurses as they pass the time fraternizing and musing about their uncertain futures. Brewsie (Jonney Ahmanson), a thoughtful sergeant "foggy in the head" but who wants "to be clear," provokes a probing dialogue with his fellow dogface, the voluble Willie (a dynamic Brad Culver), which soon includes their less reflective comrades. As the inarticulate men and women struggle to find words for their thoughts, Stein's apprehensions about parallels between the regimented thinking demanded by the Nazi's military-industrialism and those invited by our own consumer-industrial society are gradually given voice. Preston's vibrantly inventive direction of a first-rate ensemble, plus some additional, authentic ambience provided by circling LAPD helicopters, together suggest that any similarity between Stein's fears and the straits in which we find ourselves today is strictly intentional. 7th Floor Penthouse, 533 S. Los Angeles St., dwntwn.; Wed.-Sun., 8 p.m.; through Aug. 1, A CalArts' Center for New Performance in association with Poor Dog Group production.
Wednesdays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Starts: July 14. Continues through Aug. 1, 2010
click to enlarge 5144637.t.jpg

Related Stories

  • Most-Wanted Man Down

    Dirck White, 42, was one of the Pacific Northwest's most-wanted men. On Feb. 6, authorities say, he shot a Clackamas County, Oregon inspector who had stopped him for lacking a back license plate on a trailer White was towing. Authorities in that county also alleged that White "had an active warrant...
  • Cops Swarm DTLA 15

    There will be a massive police presence at the Made in America festival downtown this weekend.  Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Rick Stabile says there will be about 270 city officers dedicated to patrolling the perimeter outside the two-day concert that starts Saturday. Another 200 Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department...
  • Bilzerian Arrested 8

    Playboy gambler Dan Bilzerian was arrested at LAX tonight, police said. A Los Angeles Police Department official told L.A. Weekly he was picked up based on an out-of-state warrant. The 34-year-old was reportedly in hot water after he allegedly kicked a woman at a Miami Beach club LIV over the...
  • The Fantastic Encuentro 2014 Festival Showed the Power of Latino Theater

    Encuentro 2014, an inspiring, monthlong festival of 18 Latino performances and readings, just closed at Los Angeles Theatre Center downtown and a couple of off-site locations. It could accurately be described as a reactionary event. "Reactionary," however, does not refer to a yearning backward. Rather, in the purest sense of...
  • Made in America Festival Cost L.A. Taxpayers Half a Million in Cop Overtime 3

    The $500,000 a major concert promoter paid to the city for August's two-day, Jay Z-curated Made in America festival on downtown streets barely covered police overtime, according to our reading of a new report. The correspondence to the city's Budget and Finance Committee, presented to the L.A. Police Commission today,...
Reach the writer at

Related Content

Now Trending

Around The Web