With its sporadic, convulsive and completely unpredictable explosions of breathtaking, brilliant performance, if Los Angeles is truly a destination for theater, the playwright reflects, then why were none of the lasting consequences for his play generated by the L.A. production?
Actress Jillian Armenente once quipped that trying to do theater in Los Angeles is like trying to build a snowman in Florida. Just when you think you've accomplished something, it melts away before your eyes. Yet it's that same local landscape, with its armies of accomplished actors, union waivers and small pockets of relatively cheap real estate, that allows anything to happen on our stages, at a comparatively low cost.
Lord of the CalArtians: Travis Preston
The Hollywood Fringe's many masks: Stacy Jones and Ben Hill
"In the end, the only thing that matters is the will to do it, the idea that's worth doing," says Gordon Davidson, dabbing his lips with a napkin. "I think that the best thing that can come out of a convention and all these festivals coming this summer is people talking about the work. Why it should be done, why it matters and then how to do it. That's what came out of the Olympic Arts Festival. Everyone was talking about the work, how great it was, why — and then how — it got done.
"I do think," he adds, "I do think of Los Angeles as a place where we can practice the art of the possible." His perspective then broadens to the general art of theater. "You have to believe that in the theater, everything is possible." He takes a sip of wine. "Except for Spider-Man."
We are not Chicago, we are not New York. Nor should we aim to be like either. In this summer under the magnifying glass, can we finally discern something concrete about who we really are, and who we'd like to be?