STAGE FEATURE on Circle Mirror Transformation and Me, As a Penguin

2011 OVATIONS AWARDS at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Center, Jan. 17

Thirty-six awards were handed out to 21 different Southern California theater companies. Leading the pack, tied with five awards each, were The Fountain Theatre (The Ballad of Emmett Till, Opus, and the coveted Best Season Award), and The Geffen Playhouse (Equivocation, Through the Night). Center Theatre Group (Parade at the Mark Taper Forum and The Wake at the Kirk Douglas Theatre) and the Rubicon Theatre Company (Daddy Long Legs) tied with three each. Reprise Theatre Company (Carousel, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), The Colony Theatre Company (Grace & Glorie), The Theatre @ Boston Court (The Good Book of Pedantry and Wonder, a win shared with Circle X Theatre Company, and Oedipus El Rey) and the Troubadour Theater Company (Oedipus The King, Mama!), each took home two statuettes.

Four 2010 Ovation Honors were acknowledged: KC Wilkerson (Video Design, The Who's Tommy at The Chance Theatre), Ego Plum (Music Composition for a Play, Gogol Project at the Bootleg Theater), Lynn Jeffries (Puppet Design, Project Wonderland at the Bootleg Theater), and Edgar Landa (Fight Choreography, Oedipus El Rey at The Theatre @ Boston Court).

For a complete list of winners, visit

For the latest response and prize announcement to the Stage Raw Theater Quiz, press the More tab directly below:

Press here for last week's prize-winning response.

What follows is the 2nd of the 497,677 responses to Stage Raw's New Year Theater Quiz. Responses poured in from Tierra del Fuego to New Zealand to Oxnard. Who knew that such a stupid idea could generate such excitement!

Respondent: Sandra Zeitsew, artistic director of the Santa Monica Playhouse
(Correction 1/21/11: Sandra Zeitsew is director of public relations for SMP. Minus 10 points for SLM)

• What's the difference between “art”, “artsy,” and “artsy fartsy”?
Perhaps it is my credit card bills talking, but I just want to opine that on the macro level, the answer is money.
Not sure exactly what that has to do with the question, but I know you're right.

• Is multidisciplinary work, and the promotion of it, really such a threat to traditional presentations — or can we all just get along?
The answer is money as well. We can get along if we don't feel as if we are competing for the same small pot of money.
Correct answer, and five bonus points for being consistent.

• Does the blending of music, video and online technologies on our stages really draw a new generation of theatergoers, or is that just the fantasy of faculty and students from CalArts and the programmers over at REDCAT, that's disconnected from the real world?
No answer
No comment.

• Does L.A. theater really suffer from a lack of inventive (concept) directors?
No answer
Sandra, you're not going to win any Stage Raw prize if you don't start answering the questions.

• If you answered “yes” to the above, please answer the following: (a) If so, why? (b) If so, is that such a bad thing? If you answered “no” to the above, please move on to the next question.
Again, no answer? If this were a TV movie, I'd have changed the channel by now.

• Why is it that the United States' most famous concept directors find most of their employment in Europe, Canada and South America, rather than in their homeland? (a) People outside the United States are stupid and pretentious; (b) People inside the United States are stupid and crass; (c) Concept directors have no respect and therefore don't deserve any. (Only one answer, please!)
None of the above. It's all about the money – if they could afford it (were supported) they'd be here. If they were here they'd have an audience — if new audiences could afford the tickets.
Excellent response. And I'm beginning to discern a recurring motif.  

• Does L.A. theater suffer from a lack of autobiographical one-person shows? If so, why?
No answer (some of my best friends are solo performers)  
I'm sorry, Sandra. The correct answer is that we do suffer from a lack of autobiographical one person shows. And I have no friends who are solo performers. I have no friends at all. Five points off.

• Does L.A. theater suffer from a lack of shows named [Fill in the Title]: The Musical! If so, why?
Too close to home.
[“Home” obviously refers to Sandra's theater, the Santa Monica Playhouse, and its production of Backstreet: The Musical. There is no exclamation mark in the title, so technically, it doesn't apply to this question. No exclamation mark obviously means the producers aren't very excited about it, so why should we be?]    

• Why is the Fountain Theatre always sold out when it just does plays about bitter musicians and graveyards?
Love The Fountain. Would see anything they choose to present.
How wrong you are. I “spoke” with Simon Levy, director of Opus, the play there about the bitter musicians, and, Sandra, he strongly disagrees with you. Here's a direct quote, on the record: “We would much prefer to play to empty houses. That's why we built a theater with only 78 seats, to allow more room for the art. But the audiences keep showing up. I curse them with every fiber of my being.” [That's when Levy hung up on me.]

• Should actors be paid for their work? If so, should they be paid even if their production loses money? Why?
[Sandra's answer to this question and the next follows the next question: Bonus 15 points for showing creativity with the form.]

Should investment bankers be paid for their work? If so, should they be paid even if their company loses money? Why?
Give them their money. Actors and bankers should get paid for their work and not have to take the hit if the production is no good or the business model flawed.
Oh, Sandra. You're probably one of those people who argue that waiters shouldn't have pay the bill of customers who run out on their check. There's no reasoning with people like you. Minus 5 points.

• Did you enjoy this quiz? If so, why? If not, please move on to the next question.
No answer, huh? I'll bet you'd have answered if I'd offered you money.
Thank you for playing and CONTRATULATIONS SANDRA ZEITSEW! Even though you only completed half the quiz, what you did answer was so impressive, you scored 91.7, or an A-.  That qualifies you for the biggest Stage Raw prize we have: Two complimentary tickets to Backstreet: The Musical, when it reopens at the Santa Monica Playhouse.  Stay tuned for another response next week!

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.

LA Weekly