February 10, 1989 |
Arguably, the most poisonous and outrageous seduction scenes in English literature are Richard III's reptilian triumphs over Lady Anne and Queen Elizabeth. At the Actors Alley Repertory Theatre, actor Walter Raymond's hunchbacked "jolly, thriving wooer" propels "Richard III" onto the track of single-minded energy the play demands.
January 29, 1989 |
It's "Richard III" uncensored and uncut (1,100 lines of dialogue belong to the title character alone) as Shakespeare's tragedy opens Friday at Actors Alley in Van Nuys. "The company had never done Shakespeare before--and it seemed the proper thing for a repertory company to attempt to do," said Jordan Charney, whose staging of the work marks his final production as artistic director of the theater. "It began in our Sunday workshop, investigating how to do Shakespeare," he continued.
January 13, 1989 |
Bruce McIntosh's "Cadillac," at the Actors' Center, doesn't have much get-up-and-go, nor is it particularly fuel-efficient. The luxurious trappings that we associate with the car of the same name are nowhere in sight. Still, the characters who are taking a ride in this "Cadillac" are interesting enough to warrant a rewrite. All they need is a better vehicle. They're three men who have been friends since boyhood. Now, in their 30s, the friendship is cracking up as they go their separate ways.
January 6, 1989 |
Al's Bar and Sam Shepard's early rock 'n' roll one-acts were meant for each other. The joint is a bar all right, but it's also a theater that sits on a desolate street south of Skid Row that looks like a painting by Edward Hopper. Shepard's play, "Shaved Splits," written in 1969 when he was 25, couldn't have a better Bohemian venue. Director James Terry brings his personal Actors' Gang energy to this 976-Players production that thrives on a dramatic idiom rife with '60s rebellion.
September 16, 1988 |
Theater--like newspapers--can jump on a timely story faster than you can say op-ed. Take "Killing Miss America," the second of two one-acts (the first is "The Method to Murder") by a group called Rough Theatre. Less than 24 hours after the Miss America contest, Jennie Webb and Brent Morris' piece opened at the Powerhouse last Sunday. Talk about meeting a deadline. Actually, "Killing Miss America" had taken a bit longer to write than that, but what timing.
September 15, 1988 |
When U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter refused Tuesday to issue a restraining order blocking implementation of Actors' Equity's Actors' 99-Seat Theatre Plan, it was, according to the lawyers on both sides, a normal hiccup in the realm of jurisprudence: There wasn't much reason to grant one. While Equity officials said they were "pleased" that the restraining order was denied, Martha Hammer, an attorney for the plaintiffs, claimed the denial was no surprise.
August 5, 1988 |
Barry Yourgrau has a way of growing on you, like ivy. His new show, at the Saxon-Lee Gallery, is called "Barry Yourgrau's Safari," and like a lot of his work, it's a double-entendre. A long fiction piece titled "Safari" makes up the evening's second half. But before that, he reads eight shorter tales (all from his published collection, "Wearing Dad's Head"), a forest of charming characters and absurd yet direct language through which we hunt for clues and meanings.
May 13, 1988 |
The lights go down, the drum rolls, the cymbals crash and the spotlight shines on a female stand-up comic named Charlie (Sandy Rosenberg) who uses one-liners like live ammunition. The opening of Erika Ritter's "Automatic Pilot" sets us up for a rapid-fire, caustic comedy, maybe a feminist counterpart to "Lenny."
March 25, 1988 |
As a kid, Frances Berman was a communist. Now (or at least in 1982, when this play is set), she's bucking for a job in the Reagan State Department. What sent her through such a metamorphosis? Jeremy Lawrence offers several answers in his "Arsenals," at Theatre 40; the truth about Frances probably draws something from each of them. A skillful analyst of ideas and characters, Lawrence treats everything and everyone with such consummate balance that it's hard to discern his own point of view.
September 18, 1987 |
"The Love Song of Alex Vandenberg" is a misnomer for the romantic comedy at Actors Alley. T. J. Walsh's account of a 30-year-old man's two affairs during his first year of teaching at the University of Texas lacks lyricism. Or maybe it's Steve Barr's performance that's as flat as the Texas plains. Another character's description of Alex, a recent emigrant from Berkeley, as "California-ish" is inappropriate in nearly every way. We don't feel Alex's hurt when both affairs end awkwardly.