By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Ticket prices for this show range from $20 to $42, with a limited number of $15 tickets for students and groups. Those non-discounted tickets aren't cheap, but they're not terrible. The bigger problem in drawing younger audience might be the play itself.
The Morini Strad is a thin, morose work straining to be inspirational and profound. Aging, dying violist Erica Morini (the fine Mariette Hartley), a former child prodigy, is the owner of a rare but damaged Stradivarius violin. Before she dies, she wants it repaired, and the play concerns her relationship with a younger artisan, Brian Skarstad (David Nevell) — a violin builder and repairer — who can restore it to its former glory and value.
She's a diva who runs on attitude and entitlement, the violinist answer to Terrence McNally's Maria Callas in Master Class; he's a dull man with a wife, two kids who need dentures and a dog that needs de-worming. She baits him and tests his loyalty and his patience against the backdrop of the same motif from a Tchaikovsky violin concerto played repeatedly over the sound system and by a real child violin prodigy (Geneva Lewis).
1310 11th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Category: Music Venues
Region: Santa Monica
What is life for? What is art for? Why did Erica give her life for art? What did it get her in the end? Why can't Brian do the same? Should he give up his restoration business to build violins? We're invited to address these questions, if we care to.
Stephen Gifford's set and Jared A. Sayeg's lighting design create the opulent veneer of Erica's Fifth Avenue digs blending into Brian's workshop, but Stephanie Vlahos' production more or less wheezes along its 95-minute, predictable trajectory.
Despite this tepid production, which obviously arrives at a moment of crisis for the Colony, this theater has the legacy and the talent to warrant continued support. It fully deserves the stabilization to which Beckley refers.
But part of that stabilization needs to include productions that will attract people in their 20s and 30s at prices they can afford — even at the cost of aggravating the theater's diminishing subscriber base. It may be callous to say, but at this point for the Colony, little else really matters.
HAMLET | By William Shakespeare | Presented by Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (U.K.) and the Broad Stage, Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica | Fri.-Sat., 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Nov. 25 | (310) 434-3414 | thebroadstage.com
THE MORINI STRAD | By Willy Holtzman | Colony Theatre, 555 N. Third St., Burbank | Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Dec. 16 | (818) 558-7000 | colonytheatre.org