March 19, 2011 |
Entering the Downtown Independent near Little Tokyo on Thursday for the National Theatre Live's broadcast of director Danny Boyle's stage production of "Frankenstein," I found it impossible to leave behind the unfolding series of catastrophes in Japan that has the world collectively holding its breath. The current crisis follows us everywhere. With the hard-to-fathom images of flattened towns, the protracted suspense over radiation levels and the frustration of not being able to do more than donate to relief organizations, it's no wonder there's a growing hunger for deeper reflection on this multipronged calamity, in which natural disasters have set off an unnatural one. Journalism bombards us with passing information; artists call our attention to enduring truths.
May 14, 2012 |
"La Boheme" is back. So too is Los Angeles Opera's enduring 1993 Herb Ross production. Of course, Puccini's endearing Bohemians are never ones to worry about wearing out their universal welcome. And Ross' warmly cinematic staging, which gets trotted out every few years, has long proved impervious to passing opera-production fashion, at least as an audience attraction. No, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion wasn't full when the curtain went up Saturday night on Act 1. But the hall was full by the time the curtain went up on Act 2. Blame an accident on the Santa Monica Freeway that added an hour to the drive from the Westside.
June 6, 2012 |
Mark Ravenhill, the English playwright best known for his play with the unprintable title (let's just call it "Shopping and Copulating"), isn't one for bromides and gooey sentiments. In "pool (no water)," now receiving its L.A. premiere at the Complex's Flight Theatre in a highly visceral Monkey Wrench Collective production, he exposes the darker side of the artistic underground. Suffice it to say, this isn't about the nobility of the creative calling. The premise of this work, first performed in 2006, is attention-grabbing: A visual artist (serenely played by Jessica Lamprinos)
September 23, 2012 |
Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota's smart, sleek production of Eugene Ionesco's "Rhinoceros" at Royce Hall was a sight for sore eyes over the weekend. Not that this offering from Théâtre de la Ville-Paris convinced me that the play is entirely deserving of its status as an absurdist classic. This may be the playwright's most popular effort, but it's hardly his most theatrically effective. Yet the return of international theater to UCLA is undeniably an occasion for rejoicing. Formerly known as UCLA Live (which housed the suspended International Theatre Festival)
January 2, 2012
"Carnage" production designer Dean Tavoularis also helped create the look of some of the classics of 1970s cinema. 'Carnage' He designed a comfortable but lived-in Brooklyn apartment for Roman Polanski's version of the dark stage comedy. 'The Godfather Part II' Tavoularis won an Oscar for his production design of Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 classic, creating Sicily and New York in the early 1900s and Cuba and Lake Tahoe in the late 1950s. 'Apocalypse Now' For Coppola's 1979 Vietnam War epic, Tavoularis designed sets that included a French plantation and Col. Kurtz's jungle command post.
October 22, 2001 |
A writer in love with the evanescence of truth, Harold Pinter can succeed or fail on stage for reasons no larger than a flea. And it's not always complete success or utter failure. The difference between a solid Pinter production and a production with something extra, with a blackjack behind its back, cannot be detected by the naked eye. You only realize the difference if, on the way back to your car, in an exhilaratingly strange way, your head hurts.
July 11, 2011 |
Nine studio executives sat in a glass-enclosed conference room in Beverly Hills, discussing potential snowy locales for filming later this year. Utah was a viable option, advised the head of production. So, too, was upstate New York — in part because of tax credits. Over the course of the hourlong production meeting, the executives also received casting updates, discussed social media plans for one soon-to-debut series and mulled over a festival screening strategy for another project.
November 8, 2002 |
Conflicts far beyond those supplied by the text complicate "The Chase," the final presentation of Woodland Hills Community Theatre's 2002 season at the West Valley Playhouse in Canoga Park. Horton Foote's 1952 account of a disillusioned Texas sheriff and the escaped convict bent on destroying him here finds the author's burgeoning early voice inadvertently clashing with a wildly misguided approach.
August 2, 2012
Colombia 's cocaine production fell by nearly 25% in 2011 from the previous year, and was down by more than 70% since 2001, according to the White House. A report released this week by the Office of National Drug Control Policy suggests that the Andean country once known as the largest producer of cocaine has scored a remarkable victory. That's great news, if indeed the latest estimates are accurate. But the report is at odds with a United Nations survey released last week that concluded that Colombia's cocaine production remains virtually unchanged, dropping by a mere 1% since 2010.
May 19, 2008 |
Adapt a classic novel for the stage and you're bound to come up with a few memorable moments of drama. It's like buying an artistic insurance policy -- no matter how badly your adaptation fails, the original novel is there to save you from total disaster. "My Antonia," currently at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, contains a handful of truly moving scenes about failed love, growing old and learning to live with regret. For that, we can thank Willa Cather, who wrote the novel of the same name in 1918.