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
All of these works address theater's mirror effect when the sky seems to fall — the capacities of art, like Shakespeare's fools, to tell the truth in riddles, sometimes directly in front of the tyrants' faces. In all of these plays, the stage is a kind of beacon.
This is why among Abby's pet projects is to gather funding for an American National Theater — a project she lives to see gutted. Explains Jamie: "She said that there will never, can never, be an American National Theatre until there is an American National soul."
Despite the play's poeticism and insight, and its tender staging by Damian Cruden, this is the kind of slightly tendentious pedantry — punctuated throughout the play — for which theater devotees have earned a sour reputation as relics orbiting Jupiter, like detritus from a bygone time.
The larger point of Tomorrow is the sly, snaking dance among Shakespeare's plays, American history and the history of the American stage.
In her very enthusiastic portrayal, Robbins' Laura shows a depth and poise suggesting she really could play Lady Macbeth. The question is, why should we care? Why should this woman's career opportunity be the centerpiece of a drama about the end of a dynasty and possibly the collapse of American virtue? It might be more fun if the Booths wanted to rip her to shreds, but they don't, because, in a way, she is their future. This idea is far more symbolic and hopeful than intriguing or dramatic.
Tomorrow is a drama in which everybody on stage wants everybody else to succeed. And so it becomes a series of individual struggles, between a person and his or her own talents. In that lies a core of kindness in Freed's soul, almost like Chekhov, which is rare. At the same time, it does flatten his marvelous play, somewhat.
Forward's Jamie has an appealing, ghoulish clenched-jaw tension throughout. I can't speak objectively about Salome Jens — I've been watching her on the local stage for decades, and in my view, she can do no wrong. But that's largely because she is living proof of the American theater's legacy, that her character speaks of so eloquently.
TOMORROW | By Donald Freed | Presented by Rogue Machine, York Theatre Royal and the Skylight Theatre Company, 1816 ½ Vermont Ave., Los Feliz | Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. | Through April 21 | (702) 582-8587, ktcla.com