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Theater Review

Double Bill of Emotions, Alienation

May 28, 1999|JANA J. MONJI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Movement and words are stripped to a lean abstraction in this double bill of Sissy Boyd's "The Definite Child" and Murray Mednick's "Tirade for Three," at Glaxa Studios. Both one-acts, presented by the Oxblood playwright collective and Glaxa, deal with societal alienation, using stark, Minimalist staging and Ron Scarborough's crucially nuanced lighting.

Although both share an idiosyncratic flow, Mednick's play, under the direction of Sarah Koskoff and Guy Zimmerman, is the more successful mesh of emotion, words and staging.

"The Definite Child" portrays an unseen youth, for whom his mother (Kadina de Elejalde) and his sister (Jacqueline Wright) compete. The elegant mother talks at her teenage daughter, a defiant slut in a belly-button-baring silver spandex outfit. Under Wesley Walker's direction, some of Wright's awkward movements elicit distracting laughter.

Mednick's "Tirade for Three" features a man, Gary (John Diehl), angry and confused in his isolation. Gary was once king of the world, but now his wife has left him and his son has been shot dead.

In the background posing carefully, his two friends, a handsome couple (Hank Bunker and Shannon Holt), give commentary. Sometimes they temporarily break into Gary's space to enact and interact. Holt seamlessly drops her sophisticated coolness as she transforms from aloof friend to Gary's wife. When one character declares, "Movies are more real than reality," the scope of the play enlarges into a raw criticism of a society in which celluloid has become the medium of life.

Considering the long lines that marked the opening of the latest "Star Wars" chapter, it is an apt and timely statement.

*

* "The Definite Child" and "Tirade for Three," Glaxa Studios, 3707 Sunset Blvd. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Ends June 12. $12. (323) 692-7746. Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.

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