The Need to Know
In a much-evolved solo show that she first presented at Burbanks tiny Sidewalk Studio Theatre seven years ago, and which shes been touring ever since, April Fitzsimmons has grown into the role. Given that her show is autobiographical, this is a bit like saying shes grown into herself, which is also probably true. Perhaps the show has taught her more about the complexities of life, but its also taught her how to act. Her impersonations of family and friends, her vocal range, her physical dexterity and her comedic timing are now more fully accomplished, and a scene referring to Obama has been added. What starts as a domestic romp from her childhood in Montana and her fling with a man engaged to somebody else, slides into an adventure monitoring Russia and the Middle East as part of a U.S. Air Force intelligence team. Partly to spite her father and her familys Navy heritage (her father refused to support her wish to pursue an acting career in L.A.), she joined the Air Force, and found herself in the south of Italy, working as an intelligence analyst. Even then, she had a raw morality that simply bristled at evidence of nuclear materials being illegally trafficked across foreign lands, evidence that never made it into the press, because the need-to-know standard, and U.S. relations with those foreign governments, prevailed against it. That bristling was also the germinal fuel of Fitzsimmons eventual antiwar activism: Its not wars that protect our freedom, its the Bill of Rights, she tells a heckler at a beachfront, antiwar ceremony honoring U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. Having marched with an M-16, and been privy to the byzantine workings of the military-intelligence network, Fitzsimmons has earned the right to stage an agitprop performance. She describes being a teenager in the south of Italy, living on the estate of an older Mafioso as refuge from her barracks. He sidles up to her and complains of his tensseeon, that the cure is amoooree. Yet Fitzsimmons flips this cheesy pickup line into poetry, when, at shows end, she speaks of the tensions in the world, and how the only cure is amore. Steven Anderson directs. Actors Gang, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City; Thurs., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.; through October 24. (310) 838-4264
Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m. Starts: Sept. 17. Continues through Oct. 24, 2009
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