That Los Angeles now is considered the homeless capital of the United States makes the West Coast premiere of Irish playwright Pat Kinevane's one-man show all the more apt. His flair for speaking on behalf of society's throwaways was showcased in the Odyssey Theatre's 2011 production of Forgotten, about geriatrics in a nursing home; in Silent, it sparkles with unsettling intensity and physicality. First seen as arms and legs protruding from under a shabby blanket, homeless Dubliner Tino McGoldrig calls the dark expanse of a back alley home, collects bottle tops ("hobo chic") for money and has a disturbing obsession with silent-film star Rudolph Valentino. Channeling a raft of scary characters, Kinevane constructs a harrowing and sometimes morbidly humorous narrative about Tino's broken life, as the character speaks passionately of a gay brother harassed into suicide; an emotionally arid home life; a failed marriage and parenthood; bouts with depression, alcoholism and social service agencies; and the constant, feverish effort to maintain a drop of sanity and a hope for better things tomorrow. Kinevane's at his best when he evokes the elusive, sexually charged screen presence of Valentino (in one segment, the blanket is fashioned into the famous cape the actor wore in The Sheik). Jim Culleton provides smart, perceptive direction, while Denis Clohessy's music and sound are subtly unnerving. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Dec. 16. (310) 477-2055, x2, Odysseytheatre.com.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 29, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 6, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 13, 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 23. Continues through Dec. 16, 2012