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NEW THEATER REVIEWS
Photo by Theresa Chavez
Adapted from Norman Klein's novella of the same
title, this world premiere, co-written and co-directed by Theresa
Chavez and Rose Portillo, explores historical Angelino Heights (not
coincidentally the location of the theatre) and the ghosts of its
glamorous past. The Unreliable Narrator (David Freuchting) introduces
us to the world of the play, as it moves fluidly between the past and
present. He speaks with Ezra (Ed Ramolete) and Molly (Lynn Milgrim),
now two elderly residents of the neighborhood, as he researches a
potential murder. Through their memories we learn of a younger Molly
(Elizabeth Rainey) who came from Indiana and worked in men's clothing,
which naturally brought her into contact with a number of men,
including husbands Jack (Brian Joseph) and Walt (Pete Pano), as well as
Jack's father and longtime customer Harry (James Terry). Chavez and
Portillo's expansive "surround" set, designed by Akeime Mitterlehner,
offers a unique staging that, along with the accompaniment of live
musicians Scott Collins and Vinny Golia, immerses the audience in the
noir world. Francois-Pierre Couture's angular lighting, Pamela Shaw's
wonderfully detailed costumes, Claudio Rocha's well-integrated
videography, and Diane Arellano's installation of historical artifacts,
which the audience is allowed to explore at intermission, all enhance
the ambience as well. Rainey and Milgrim play their double roles with
aplomb, but the main drawback to the piece is the lack of dramatic
momentum in the writing, making older Molly's line, "at some point, a
place becomes more important than a person," ring all the more true.
Shakespeare Festival/LA, 1238 W. First St., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.;
Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 22. (800) 595-4849. About Productions.