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John Steppling

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ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 1990 | ROBERT KOEHLER
Listen to people filing out of a production of a John Steppling play, talking about what they thought of it, and you'll usually hear comments reaching for a point, and not quite getting there. "Those people were pretty wasted." "It was a short play, but it was long too." "Sad, but it was funny, you know?" And then: "I felt like I was watching ghosts onstage." Some hear the sound of ghosts in his plays, which suggests dramas with reverberation, with a past and a present.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 2002 | F. KATHLEEN FOLEY, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
It's been said that all great travelers wind up in the desert. Nature at its most unchanging, the desert is a pure and ferocious landscape with few distractions, where the mind's eye can be cast inward. After many literary peregrinations, John Steppling ventures into the desert in "Dog Mouth," a play set in an arid wasteland somewhere outside of Phoenix. One of L.A.'
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MAGAZINE
December 1, 1991 | RICHARD STAYTON, Richard Stayton , former theater critic for the Herald Examiner, is a frequent contributor to this magazine.
Embrace failure!' " " 'Embrace failure'?" "You don't remember that lesson?" asks Jon Robin Baitz. "Vaguely." John Steppling sighs. "I don't remember what I meant by it, but that doesn't matter." "You said a writer must not be afraid to risk failure, and when you fail, embrace it. Learn from it." Steppling shrugs. "I guess I was talking a lot about failure in that part of my life--a recurring theme." Baitz laughs. Steppling grimly resumes studying the menu at this New York restaurant.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 2002
On F37: "Dog Mouth" (starring Stephen Davies, left, as a murderous hobo) proves both a homecoming and a departure for playwright John Steppling. Plus reviews of Jenifer Lewis' irreverent revue "Now What?," "A Few Gay Men" and more.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 13, 2002 | DON SHIRLEY
A decade ago, if you had asked L.A. theater insiders who was the quintessential L.A. playwright, John Steppling probably would have headed the list. Steppling's bleak, elliptical dramas about the underbelly of the Southern California dream had been produced often in small L.A. theaters in the 1980s and early '90s, winning Steppling a Rockefeller fellowship and awards from the writers' organization PEN West and the LA Weekly.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 1993 | JAN BRESLAUER, Jan Breslauer is a frequent contributor to Calendar.
It's just after rush hour on a Tuesday evening as playwright John Steppling straddles a chair on the Lost Studio's empty stage and looks out at the faces in the house. With a cigar in one hand and a book in the other, the man many regard as the most influential playwright to have come out of L.A. in the past decade begins to hold forth.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 2002
On F37: "Dog Mouth" (starring Stephen Davies, left, as a murderous hobo) proves both a homecoming and a departure for playwright John Steppling. Plus reviews of Jenifer Lewis' irreverent revue "Now What?," "A Few Gay Men" and more.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 1, 1992 | SYLVIE DRAKE, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
Place: a laetrile clinic somewhere in Baja, on the edge of the Sea of Cortez. Time: now. Characters: standard of the breed. Among them: two doctors, one talkative, one narcissistic; two patients, both dying; two drifters, both lost; a fortuneteller and his translator. Events: time ticking away. That's one way to describe John Steppling's new play, "Sea of Cortez," at the Cast Theatre.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 18, 1997 | F. KATHLEEN FOLEY
Named after William Wolfskill, an explorer and early settler of downtown L.A., the Wolfskill Theater Company is an intrepid group of theatrical adventurers bent on reviving downtown's arts district. Sadly, the audacious new company loses the trail with its current trio of one-acts, "A July Threesome," at the Spanish Kitchen Studios. (In warm weather, shows are mounted in a small outside space that has been converted into a makeshift amphitheater.) Adolphus A.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 8, 1995 | F. KATHLEEN FOLEY
Recurring themes of isolation, alienation and dread rumble throughout "Aftershock," a program of five short plays at the Downtown Playhouse, all set in the aftermath of an earthquake. Tim Keating's trash-strewn set looks like the aftermath of a dump explosion. During set changes, droll Leon Martell, a founder of Duck's Breath Mystery Theater, regales us with uproarious accounts of famous disasters.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 13, 2002 | DON SHIRLEY
A decade ago, if you had asked L.A. theater insiders who was the quintessential L.A. playwright, John Steppling probably would have headed the list. Steppling's bleak, elliptical dramas about the underbelly of the Southern California dream had been produced often in small L.A. theaters in the 1980s and early '90s, winning Steppling a Rockefeller fellowship and awards from the writers' organization PEN West and the LA Weekly.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 18, 1997 | F. KATHLEEN FOLEY
Named after William Wolfskill, an explorer and early settler of downtown L.A., the Wolfskill Theater Company is an intrepid group of theatrical adventurers bent on reviving downtown's arts district. Sadly, the audacious new company loses the trail with its current trio of one-acts, "A July Threesome," at the Spanish Kitchen Studios. (In warm weather, shows are mounted in a small outside space that has been converted into a makeshift amphitheater.) Adolphus A.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 8, 1995 | F. KATHLEEN FOLEY
Recurring themes of isolation, alienation and dread rumble throughout "Aftershock," a program of five short plays at the Downtown Playhouse, all set in the aftermath of an earthquake. Tim Keating's trash-strewn set looks like the aftermath of a dump explosion. During set changes, droll Leon Martell, a founder of Duck's Breath Mystery Theater, regales us with uproarious accounts of famous disasters.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 1993 | JAN BRESLAUER, Jan Breslauer is a frequent contributor to Calendar.
It's just after rush hour on a Tuesday evening as playwright John Steppling straddles a chair on the Lost Studio's empty stage and looks out at the faces in the house. With a cigar in one hand and a book in the other, the man many regard as the most influential playwright to have come out of L.A. in the past decade begins to hold forth.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 18, 1992 | HARVEY PERR, Perr, one of the actors in "Sea of Cortez," is also a prize-winning playwright and a founding member of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. and
In her review of John Steppling's "Sea of Cortez" (" 'Cortez' Explores Familiar Territory," Calendar, May 1), Sylvie Drake says that it "is, yes, another play in Steppling's lexicon, but not different enough from its predecessors to be called new in any but the most superficial sense." Many find that assessment superficial.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 1, 1992 | SYLVIE DRAKE, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
Place: a laetrile clinic somewhere in Baja, on the edge of the Sea of Cortez. Time: now. Characters: standard of the breed. Among them: two doctors, one talkative, one narcissistic; two patients, both dying; two drifters, both lost; a fortuneteller and his translator. Events: time ticking away. That's one way to describe John Steppling's new play, "Sea of Cortez," at the Cast Theatre.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 18, 1992 | HARVEY PERR, Perr, one of the actors in "Sea of Cortez," is also a prize-winning playwright and a founding member of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. and
In her review of John Steppling's "Sea of Cortez" (" 'Cortez' Explores Familiar Territory," Calendar, May 1), Sylvie Drake says that it "is, yes, another play in Steppling's lexicon, but not different enough from its predecessors to be called new in any but the most superficial sense." Many find that assessment superficial.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 9, 1988 | DAN SULLIVAN, Times Theater Critic
After several plays--the latest being "Standard of the Breed," at the Cast Theatre--it's clear what John Steppling's subject is: Entropy. Set a top humming, and it will run down. So will the universe in time. Stasis is the natural order of things. So why start the top spinning at all? Freudians call this the death instinct. Steppling's characters are particularly susceptible to it. They make feeble efforts to get their lives together, but they're not surprised when it doesn't work.
MAGAZINE
December 1, 1991 | RICHARD STAYTON, Richard Stayton , former theater critic for the Herald Examiner, is a frequent contributor to this magazine.
Embrace failure!' " " 'Embrace failure'?" "You don't remember that lesson?" asks Jon Robin Baitz. "Vaguely." John Steppling sighs. "I don't remember what I meant by it, but that doesn't matter." "You said a writer must not be afraid to risk failure, and when you fail, embrace it. Learn from it." Steppling shrugs. "I guess I was talking a lot about failure in that part of my life--a recurring theme." Baitz laughs. Steppling grimly resumes studying the menu at this New York restaurant.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 1990 | ROBERT KOEHLER
Listen to people filing out of a production of a John Steppling play, talking about what they thought of it, and you'll usually hear comments reaching for a point, and not quite getting there. "Those people were pretty wasted." "It was a short play, but it was long too." "Sad, but it was funny, you know?" And then: "I felt like I was watching ghosts onstage." Some hear the sound of ghosts in his plays, which suggests dramas with reverberation, with a past and a present.
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