New Theater Reviews
GO BASH Neil LaButes trio of one-acts posits a disturbing truth: The most innocuous people are capable of the vilest acts. Iphigenia at Orem unfolds in a Vegas hotel room where a Man (the riveting Brian Cousins) laments his infant daughters accidental death to an unseen party. I hate to waste things, the chauvinistic Utah businessman intones and proves it by pouncing on an opportunity that saves his cushy corporate job from feminist affirmative action yet costs him his soul and psyche. In A Gaggle of Saints, John (Jon Beavers) and Sue (Mandy Siegfried) are Boston College students merrily relating a weekend jaunt to Manhattan. Despite their upper-class privilege and prejudices, they seem a pleasant couple, until John displays a gruesome malice on a Central Park stroll that belies or perhaps confirms his Christian beliefs. Seduced at 14 by her teacher, a Woman (Candace McAdams) is interrogated in a holding cell in Medea Redux, recounting their love affair and his betrayal upon learning she was pregnant. Her revenge 14 years later is shocking and unexpected yet, as in the Greek myths the teacher imparted to the Woman, dictated by fate. Under Dan Bonnells exquisite direction, the committed cast has crafted a spine-tingling and thought-provoking event. Illuminate Productions at the Odyssey Theater, 2055 Sepulveda Blvd., W.L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru March 12. (310) 477-2055. (Martín Hernández)
GO HITCHCOCK BLONDE Writer-director Terry Johnsons 2003 mystery (here in its American premiere) springs from a snippet of British 1919 celluloid a nude blond woman walking to a dresser and folding up her hair filmed by Alfred Hitchcock. In Johnsons play, Hitchcock (Dakin Matthews spectacularly grotesque impersonation) appears in the mid-1950s, continuing work on the film in Hollywood with a replacement blond, here named Blonde (Sarah Aldrich), a desperate wannabe whos routinely beaten by her Husband (Martin Noyes). The perverse relationship of Hitchcock to the Blonde (and of the Blonde to her Husband) embodies the voyeur, hiding behind glass and imploding with any emotional or physical contact with the woman, so utterly objectified and owned. Johnson juxtaposes this severe archetype against a parallel plot showing the more common (and banal) saga of an affair between an aging media professor (Robin Sachs) and his precocious scholarship student (Adriana DeMeo) at a romantic Greek villa as they salvage and preserve Hitchcocks decades-old celluloid. Even if Hitchcock Blonde succumbs to the very clichés it purports to investigate, its nonetheless a fascinating study in the relationships between film and life, and also therefore between cliché and life, i.e., what underlies the folly in the autumn/spring dalliances of so many men with women half their age. Much money was well spent on the production design (set, costumes and video by William Dudley, lights by Chris Parry, sound design by Ian Dickinson), which transforms the stage into a screen and back again. See Stage feature February 23. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7:30 p.m.; mats Sat.-Sun., 2:30 p.m.; thru March 12. (714) 708-5555. (Steven Leigh Morris)
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