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Jon Lawrence Rivera

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September 7, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Just a few years after writing his antiwar masterpiece, "The Trojan Women," Euripides was even more despondent about the reckless imperialist course of Athenian foreign policy. His response wasn't a louder shriek of lament but a rollicking romantic melodrama - escapist fare, really, but with a radical Euripidean twist. Conceived of during a low point in the long and costly Peloponnesian War, "Helen," a sentimental adventure tale with a biting undercurrent of social criticism, dares to debunk the rationale for the Trojan War by imagining an alternative narrative about the faithless beauty who infamously launched a thousand Greek ships.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 7, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Just a few years after writing his antiwar masterpiece, "The Trojan Women," Euripides was even more despondent about the reckless imperialist course of Athenian foreign policy. His response wasn't a louder shriek of lament but a rollicking romantic melodrama - escapist fare, really, but with a radical Euripidean twist. Conceived of during a low point in the long and costly Peloponnesian War, "Helen," a sentimental adventure tale with a biting undercurrent of social criticism, dares to debunk the rationale for the Trojan War by imagining an alternative narrative about the faithless beauty who infamously launched a thousand Greek ships.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 1, 2002 | DON SHIRLEY
Los Angeles playwrights often feel overshadowed by the movie and TV industries. They even feel neglected by many L.A. theater producers. Enter Jon Lawrence Rivera. For a decade, Rivera's Playwrights' Arena has developed and produced nothing but new plays by Los Angeles County writers--29 such shows by 17 writers or writing teams.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 2, 2008 | Karen Wada, Wada is a freelance writer.
"The Joy Luck Club" is filled with ghosts. Amy Tan's four Chinese-born matriarchs call on ancient spirits for help and repress memories of brutality and heartache. Their daughters are haunted by their mothers' high expectations, their own insecurities, and (being good Asian Americans) model-minority angst. In the end, nearly everyone finds some semblance of luck, if not joy, thanks to encounters with the "other" side -- what Tan has described as the elusive worlds of Fate and Faith.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 2, 2008 | Karen Wada, Wada is a freelance writer.
"The Joy Luck Club" is filled with ghosts. Amy Tan's four Chinese-born matriarchs call on ancient spirits for help and repress memories of brutality and heartache. Their daughters are haunted by their mothers' high expectations, their own insecurities, and (being good Asian Americans) model-minority angst. In the end, nearly everyone finds some semblance of luck, if not joy, thanks to encounters with the "other" side -- what Tan has described as the elusive worlds of Fate and Faith.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 4, 2010
A lesser-known comedy by Euripides, "Helen," turns the myth of Helen of Troy on its head. In this version, the face that launched a thousand ships never ran off to Troy with Paris but lived faithfully in Egypt while an impostor took her place. The play reading is directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera. Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades. 8 p.m. Friday; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Free ($15 parking before 5 p.m.; museum ticket required). (310) 440-7300. www.getty.edu.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 25, 2001 | JANA J. MONJI
Linguists have long known that it's not just clothes that make the man, but his speech patterns as well. Beverly Olevin's slightly contrived "Soundings," at the Odyssey Theatre, is a thoughtful rumination about how stuttering has influenced the lives of two men, Jason (Jonathan Brent) and Paul (Ed F. Martin), who meet at a Santa Barbara institute that helps young people achieve and retain normal levels of fluent speech.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 16, 1999 | JANA J. MONJI
A middle-aged man (Michael Kearns) discovers a short note meant for his lover, setting off complicated mechanisms of dominance in this edgy revival of Robert Harders' "Bill and Eddie"' at Playwrights' Arena. The shrill whistle of a boiling teakettle cuts through the stifling, still air of this venue. It's both an alarm and evidence of the complicated, suffocating relationship that ties Eddie (Kearns) and Bill (Fred Russell) together in rituals of physical and emotional abuse.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 11, 1996 | LAURIE WINER, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
You've heard of Theater of Cruelty, but have you seen any Theater of Suffering, a genre not unique to, but popular in, Los Angeles? If you are interested, check out "Black Dawn," a new play by Jean Colonomos at the Ivar Theatre in Hollywood. "Black Dawn" tells the story of five Cambodian women who survive horrible atrocities at the hands of the Khmer Rouge only to develop a psychosomatic or functional blindness.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 27, 1998 | F. KATHLEEN FOLEY
Edwin Sanchez opts for the unexpected in "Clean," his visceral family drama at the Celebration Theatre. Despite Jon Lawrence Rivera's taut staging, however, the path of novelty descends inexorably into melodrama in Sanchez's promising but minor effort.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 1, 2002 | DON SHIRLEY
Los Angeles playwrights often feel overshadowed by the movie and TV industries. They even feel neglected by many L.A. theater producers. Enter Jon Lawrence Rivera. For a decade, Rivera's Playwrights' Arena has developed and produced nothing but new plays by Los Angeles County writers--29 such shows by 17 writers or writing teams.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 24, 1998 | JANA J. MONJI
Nick Salamone invites us into a stuffy darkened closet to witness the workings of a claustrophobic marriage between two contemporary bisexuals in his amusing absurdist comedy "Red Hat & Tales," at the Playwrights' Arena. John H. Binkley's surreal set design is a blue box littered with stars, normal-sized postcards and oversized objects--a woman's shoe, a tire-sized tin of Kiwi shoe polish and a Neiman Marcus shopping bag that doubles as a projection screen.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 2, 1997 | F. KATHLEEN FOLEY
Steven Leigh Morris' "Atomic Quintet" at Playwrights' Arena is a crazy quilt of a play that tackles topics ranging from the politically monumental to the personally petty. The action is set in 1953, in a music conservatory in the Silver Mountain region of Nevada. American fortunes are at a peak--but then, so are McCarthyism, racism, the Cold War and the nuclear threat.
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