Sunday, March 18, 2018

If you have no plans for tonight

And in you're in the LA magnificent megalopolis, come see a Cafe Play I wrote for the Ruskin Theatre Group in Santa Monica.   These are plays we wrote this morning, are being rehearsed now, and performed tonight at 7:30 and 9:00.  Here are details.  It's always a fun night.  Say hello if you come.  I'll be there for both shows. 


Mike Bloodworth said...

Oh shot! That was tonight?! I had wanted to come and see it, but I forgot the date. I'll catch you next time.
P.S. I hope it went well.

E. Yarber said...

It was a fun evening of theater, especially if you're interested in the process of staging a show. The five writers don't get the theme of the evening until they arrive in the morning (last night was "Gentrification") so they have no way to devise much in advance. Each team of writer-director-actors produced different styles of work, and the order in which they were presented showed as much careful thought as the playlets themselves.

The first work was purely character-driven, establishing a basic situation at once and ending abruptly once it had reached a peak of absurdity. Ken's offering, the most conceptual of the evening, was next. Part of the premise was that the characters knew they were being watched by a crowd. This allowed for some audience participation, but it was kept within limits so that the actors never ceded control of the presentation. The third was the longest and most elaborately plotted, surprisingly complex for such a rushed production. Like a good juggling act, the story reversed course practically every two minutes before ending on a satisfying resolution. Number four was the most openly satirical of the set, pairing a narrowly ideological character with a more human foil who kept puncturing his rhetoric. This one was set in a line that never moved forward, accentuating the pointlessness of the encounter. The evening ended with the most realistic (though still broad) of the stories, centering on a guy trying to make a business deal with a woman he'd had a brief affair with. The staging here focused on the practical, methodical behavior of the latter while the author found a logical way within the plot to have the male character change costume from an adult to a child, just as his conduct revealed his essentially weak nature.

I almost hesitate to share how impressed I was with the show, because the Ruskin is a small venue and I plan to go back to catch some more of these monthly nights of short-order theatrics. The rest of you are welcome as long as I can manage to grab a seat for myself. Look, I once had to attend a staging of my own work where the text had been mutilated and three members of the cast were visibly drunk. By contrast, the energy and commitment of the artists here was electric. It might not be imperishable work, but while it lasted one really felt the possibilities that live theater can offer.