The Fool & the Red Queen 

Thursday, May 24 2012
“It’s a protest. It’s a love story.” So begins the explanation by experimental filmmakers Chauncey and Rondell (Jack Kehler and Gray Palmer) to a world-weary L.A. actor, Gary (John Diehl), who’s in for an audition, in the latest, integrated pair of Murray Mednick’s “Gary” plays, “Gary’s Nightmare Audition” and “The Fool and the Red Queen.” (There are now seven such plays in Mednick’s opus, all featuring the harrowed actor Gary, whose son was murdered in a drug deal gone bad.) Chauncey and Rondell’s half-baked concept for the film is being improvised in the audition, an improvisation that lands Gary the role of Ricky, a soldier guilty of a killing spree who is doing self-inflicted penance in a fantasy-medieval tavern. The second play takes us inside the film being conjured in the first work. In the conjunction of the two works, handsomely staged with expert video support by Guy Zimmerman in tones both laconic and whimsical, the theme of genocide and a sadomasochistic relationship between the Red Queen (Julia Prud’homme in a viciously jocular turn) and her Fool (Bill Celentano, bursting with both intelligence and frustration at the capricious cruelty of his mistress) blend into a phantasmagoric vision of world history and contemporary L.A. that shoots darts of humor into its own despondency. Also, Peggy A. Blow does a marvelous rendition of the tavern’s innkeeper. Gorgeous design elements by Ann Closs-Farley (costumes), John Zalewski (sound), Matt Richter (lights) and Jeffrey Atherton (set).
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: May 19. Continues through June 24, 2012

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Reach the writer at smorris@laweekly.com

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