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Here, Teamwork Leads to 'Loonacy!'

Theater Beat

November 03, 2000|JANA J. MONJI

Kieran Angelini's male-bonding trifle, "Loonacy!," at the Lee Strasberg Creative Center, is a high-volume, high-anxiety tale about two mismatched colleagues spending a weekend in a cabin writing their late mentor's biography.

Set and costume designer Juan Carlos Malpeli dashed together a rustic suburban decor. The walls are decorated with items that scream discount-store classics, yard sale and garbage dumpster. The bombastic Rudy (Robert Costanzo) took a dumpster dive to acquire his new lucky vest--a hazard orange thing with unremovable stains.

Rudy wants to write the autobiography of E. Paul Banks, a shady motivational speaker whose stylized, rainbow-spectrum portrait hangs above the cabin's entry. His colleague, Banks' former bookkeeper, Sy (Ken Lerner), momentarily distracts himself from his suicidal tendencies to mention they can write only a biography.

Sy, who spends a good portion of the show with a gun aimed up his mouth, and Rudy wade through their own neuroses and conflicting facts on file.

Director Anthony Caldarella doesn't for a minute permit these two characters to be anything but losers. They are shrill rather than lovable, but the nervous energy generated from the collision of their conflicting personalities serves as dramatic tension. Costanzo and Lerner create the believable friction of longtime associates who get on each other's nerves.

Anything from love to hate can inspire writers. Although Angelini's little ditty is less than inspired, it's a funny look at two would-be writers finding their true motivation.

* "Loonacy!," Lee Strasberg Creative Center, 7936 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Ends Nov. 19. $15. (323) 650-7777. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

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