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Theatre West Works Launches a Nine-Play Series That Explores the Human Condition

June 07, 1992|JANICE ARKATOV | Janice Arkatov is a regular contributor to Calendar.

For sheer number of plays in a single space, nothing beats Theatre West Works, a seven-week, nine-play series bowing this weekend at Studio City's Theatre West. Developed in company workshops, the eight original plays and one revival include:

Marion Gallo's "The Gift" (today only), a dark comedy about two Italian-American brothers, set against a backdrop of child abuse. On the three-play bill June 12-14, a Yugoslav woman gives a cooking lesson in Mary Jane Roberts' "Apple Strudel," Eugene Pack relives the comic horrors of high school in "The Senior," and Hilma Wolitzer tells of a difficult pregnancy and childbirth circa 1930 in "The Mother." June 19-21 offers an English farce--wherein nothing is as it seems--in Alan Ayckbourn's "Relatively Speaking." The June 26-28 program isn't nearly as somber as it sounds: Stephen Gregory's "Brenda, Portrait of a Teen-Age Anorexic" is a lighthearted look at the trials of growing up in upper-middle-class America.

Also opening this month:

Today: Topanga's Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum kicks off its annual outdoors summer season with Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," followed in repertory by William Gibson's "The Miracle Worker" on June 27, and Shakespeare's "Hamlet" on Aug. 8.

Monday: "A Question of Loyalty," Hiroshi Kashiwagi's story of the relocation of Japanese-Americans, has a one-night reading at East West Players in Hollywood. Admission is free.

Tuesday: At the Tiffany Theatre in West Hollywood, Guy Giarrizzo directs Kathleen Garrett in William Luce's one-woman show, "Zelda: The Last Flapper," based on the writings of Zelda Fitzgerald.

Tuesday: In West Los Angeles, the Burbage Theatre's play-reading Discovery Series continues this month with Barry Pineo's "In Chains," followed by Lynn Kofman's "Speaking in Tongues" on June 16, Richard Arnold's "Equities" on June 23, and Ralph Hart's "Love's Body" on June 30.

Thursday: Carlos Gonzalez investigates the dark world and short life of '50s actor Sal Mineo ("Rebel Without a Cause") in his acclaimed one-man show, "Sal," at the Zephyr Theatre in West Hollywood.

Friday: The criminal denizens of 1928 Berlin clash with the wanna-be bourgeoisie in Kurt Weill's morality tale "Threepenny Opera," getting a revival at Friends and Artists Theatre in Hollywood.

Saturday: Lisa Duke's solo show "Lost & Found," on career, romance, self-discovery and her relationship with cousin/composer Vernon Duke, has a late-night run at The Complex in Hollywood.

June 13: Mitch Hale's "Painted Cakes (Won't Satisfy Hunger)," a dramatic comedy about addiction and recovery set in a snowed-in church basement, opens at the Skylight Theatre in Hollywood.

June 17: "Boys' Play," a new coming-of-age treatise by Jack Heifner ("Vanities"), arrives at Hollywood's Hudson Theatre for a late-night run.

June 18: In Santa Monica, Highways' fourth annual Ecce Lesbo/Ecce Homo performance festival offers a three-month-long roster of artists including Pomo Afro Homos, Kate Bornstein, Holly Hughes, Diviana Ingravallo, Keegan & Lloyd, Monica Palacios and Luis Alfaro.

June 18: "The Hollywood Canteen," Noah Stern's theatrical adaptation of F. Scott's Fitzgerald's darkly humorous "Pat Hobby Stories" on the Hollywood experience, has an appropriate setting at the Culver Studios lot in Culver City.

June 25: Set backstage in a South African dressing room, Daniel du Plantis' rumination on race relations, "Three Card Monty and the Royal Flush," comes to the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.

June 26: The Wilton Project, a new collective of actors, writers, directors and designers, bows at Hollywood's Center Films Studio with two short plays by company members: Susannah Blinkoff's "In a Queer Corner" and Nadine van der Velde's "Queen Magnolia."

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