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Calendar, Archive Dirty

Dirty

Andrew Hinderaker’s play is a bit like Death of a Salesman but with snappier dialogue and a titillating backdrop. Matt (Max Lesser) quits his job to take an ethical stand, despite having a newly pregnant wife, Katie (Anna Konkle), waiting at home. Their new idea is a porn company catering...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle The Best L.A. Plays of 2014

The Best L.A. Plays of 2014

This year was a noisy and divisive one in local theater, punctuated with threats, real and imagined — from sources allegedly ranging from the IRS to the state's Labor & Workforce Development Agency to the stage actors and stage managers' union (Actors' Equity Association) — to disembowel L.A.'s long-standing 99-Seat...…
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Calendar, Archive Luna Gale

Luna Gale

Rebecca Gilman’s new play, Luna Gale, is about a social worker in Iowa, Caroline (Mary Beth Fisher), who finds herself arbitrating the possession of an infant between young, unmarried, meth-addicted parents (Colin Sphar and Reyna de Courcy) and the tag-team duo of the baby’s evangelical Christian grandmother, Cindy (Jordan Baker),...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle The Plays <em>Luna Gale</em> and <em>Possum Carcass</em> Look at the Consequences of Making Stuff Up

The Plays Luna Gale and Possum Carcass Look at the Consequences of Making Stuff Up

We're guided by program notes and advertising materials to believe that Rebecca Gilman's new play, Luna Gale, is primarily about a social worker in Iowa and the morally challenged world of child services where she's employed. There's some reason to believe that Gilman's play, in a world-premiere production by Chicago's...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle In the Play <em>Dirty</em>, a Couple Tries to Create a Progressive Porn Company (GO!)

In the Play Dirty, a Couple Tries to Create a Progressive Porn Company (GO!)

In its rather earnest way, Andrew Hinderaker's Dirty calls into question how the word "obscene" often applies to pornography but not to, say, mergers and acquisitions. In fact, the play strongly implies that sex is a kind of merger and acquisition, so why not profit from it? To be clear,...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle The Fantastic Encuentro 2014 Festival Showed the Power of Latino Theater

The Fantastic Encuentro 2014 Festival Showed the Power of Latino Theater

Encuentro 2014, an inspiring, monthlong festival of 18 Latino performances and readings, just closed at Los Angeles Theatre Center downtown and a couple of off-site locations. It could accurately be described as a reactionary event. "Reactionary," however, does not refer to a yearning backward. Rather, in the purest sense of...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Luis Alfaro's Latest Play Adapts a Classic to Southern California

Luis Alfaro's Latest Play Adapts a Classic to Southern California

A common habit by drama critics is to compare and contrast a new adaptation of an old work with or against that old work, which would seem a reasonable approach. But not in the case of poet-performer-playwright Luis Alfaro. Alfaro’s work, whether the solo autobiographical performance St. Jude, presented last...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Haters and Lovers in <em>Venus in Fur</em> and <em>Banshee</em> (GO!)

Haters and Lovers in Venus in Fur and Banshee (GO!)

David Ives' Tony-nominated 2010 sexual comedy, Venus in Fur, is to eroticism what Yasmina Reza's Art is to painting. Both are beguiling, erudite parlor games that keep fluttering around the issues they purport to investigate. Venus in Fur, now at South Coast Repertory and the basis of Roman Polanski's recent...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle <em>Marjorie Prime</em> and <em>The Behavior of Broadus</em> Examine the Mechanics of Our Brains (GO!)

Marjorie Prime and The Behavior of Broadus Examine the Mechanics of Our Brains (GO!)

For the first time in years, Center Theatre Group is showing glimmers of what a flagship theater is supposed to do — allow the questions posed in one production to correspond to questions posed in another. I'm referring to three concurrent presentations in which CTG had a hand: the now-closed...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle <i>Choir Boy</i> Looks at Homosexuality in a Black Prep School (GO!)

Choir Boy Looks at Homosexuality in a Black Prep School (GO!)

At first, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s study of five, black prep-school students (Jeremy Pope, Nicholas L. Ashe, Donovan Mitchell, Grantham Coleman and Caleb Eberhardt), along with their stern headmaster (Michael A.Shepperd) and a visiting white professor (Leonard Kelly-Young) from the Civil Rights era, might seem schematic. The “group drama” about opportunity...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle <em>Happy Days</em> and <em>Cock</em> Take on Love and Mortality (GO!)

Happy Days and Cock Take on Love and Mortality (GO!)

Playwrights under 40 write mainly about love and politics, or so the adage goes; playwrights over 40 write mainly about death. By the time Samuel Beckett's Happy Days premiered in 1961, the great Irish bard was 55, which should make its subject fairly easy to guess. Originally a poet and...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle David Mamet's <em>Race</em> Misses the Mark at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

David Mamet's Race Misses the Mark at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

David Mamet's play Race, about a rich, white guy seeking a law firm to defend him from accusations of raping a black woman, ought to feel ripped from the headlines — even though it premiered on Broadway nearly five years ago. The play's L.A. premiere, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre,...…
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Theater,

Two Plays Involving Fried Meat (Sort of)

Actor-playwright Keith Stevenson is one lucky fellow, having a top-flight ensemble to write comedies for; and having a director, Guillermo Cienfuegos, with such a sympathetic comprehension of the strands threaded through his humor; and, to top it all, being able to act in a pivotal role in his own plays...…
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Theater,

REDCAT's New Original Works Festival: From a Table-Puppet Show to a Hip-Hop Ballet

There is no discernible guiding principle for the selection of the New Original Works Festival's compilation of choreography, spoken word, song and enveloping visual images. The minute you might say, "Ah, these are works that look at the world through symbols," along comes Overtone Industries' Iceland with its old-fashioned love...…
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Theater,

A Sex Play That's Not Really About Sex

Oh, sex: Can we ever get over it? And if we do, what will there be to write about? What would the state of the world be if it weren't largely defined by overt and subliminal sexual impulses? Ian MacAllister-McDonald's new play, The Sexual Lives of Savages, presented by Skylight...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle A Star Trek Parody Meets British Bedroom Farce

A Star Trek Parody Meets British Bedroom Farce

Playwright-director Jonas Oppenheim is one clever, funny guy. Among his past treasures is a site-specific interactive/guerrilla performance piece, I’m Going to Kill the President, in which a prank call to the White House resulted in a police raid on the venue – was it real or was it theater? Oppenheim’s...…
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Theater,

Stupid Fucking Bird Is the Best Chekhov Adaptation in Two Decades

In Anton Chekhov's play The Seagull, about the theater and its ambiguous relationship to life, neurotic young playwright Konstantin Treplev speaks about the calcification of theater and of the necessity to create "new forms." As Treplev ages, he evolves and devolves into a long-suffering, modestly successful author of quasi-inventive plays...…
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Theater,

Mash-Ups of Classic Plays (Featuring Abba!)

There are no sly topical winks in Kenneth Cavander's problematic adaptation of the Oedipus trilogy. Cavander's new play, The Curse of Oedipus, which just opened at Antaeus Company, is pure classical gas. Nor are there any modern-day army fatigues or national insignias worn on shoulders in Casey Stangl's beautiful, skillful...…
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Theater,

The Brothers Size and Drop Dead!, Reviewed

Tarell Alvin McCraney's tender, poetical drama The Brothers Size (Fountain Theatre) and Billy Van Zandt & Jane Milmore's meta-theatrical farce Drop Dead! (presented by Theatre 68, at North Hollywood's NoHo Arts Center) share one salient commonality: Each production has moments when the actors recite stage directions about their own characters...…
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Calendar, Archive The Brothers Size

The Brothers Size

The Brothers Size homes in on a pair of brothers: Ogun (Gilbert Glenn Brown) owns an auto shop and is caring for his younger, parolee brother, Oshoosi (Matthew Hancock). Through the intervention of Oshoosi's jailhouse friend Elegba (Theo Perkins), Oshoosi finds himself a fugitive, sorely testing the love and loyalty...…
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