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Opening the Curtain

English, Performing arts, 1 season, 462 episodes, 1 day, 10 hours, 52 minutes
About
Musings on what Los Angeles theater is - and can be. Want to know more? Subscribe to Anthony's weekly Theater newsletter.
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Matt’s Text

KCRW's longtime producer, host and cheerleader, Matt Holzman, who died Sunday, only texted me once about my reviews. Matt Holzman is the reason I'm at KCRW.
4/13/20203 minutes, 58 seconds
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What do we do in the theatre when there is no theater?

At the most fundamental level, the theater connects artists with an audience at one time, in one space. That's about presence. You show up at eight o'clock, the lights come up, you see a show. We are together. Dig deeper and the connection gets vastly more rich and complicated. Connecting with an audience means understanding the moment in time we are living in; appreciating the particular place where you are making theater. What is happening here and now? Theater must do more than simply reflect our moment. It must care for its audience's soul through that moment.
3/16/20203 minutes, 33 seconds
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‘Home’ review: domestic magic and the fleeting American dream

The show "Home" begins with a magic trick. When you walk into the theater, you see an empty stage. As the show begins, an unassuming man, played by the show’s creator Geoff Sobelle, walks from the audience to the stage to survey things. 
3/9/20204 minutes, 4 seconds
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Four Larks’ creepy and gorgeous ‘Frankenstein’ will punch you in the gut

"Frankenstein" is a major work and a major leap for Four Larks: it’s a dark and visually stunning play but it's also a concert, opera, musical and a dance piece all in one. “Frankenstein” will punch you in the gut. 
3/3/20203 minutes, 32 seconds
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‘Found’ Review: Finding a musical in scraps of paper

Every couple of years LA's intimate theaters produce a musical that gives the big theaters a run for their money. Right now it’s IAMA Theatre Company's "Found: A New Musical." It starts off a little awkwardly. We're in a bar in Chicago with some disgruntled 30 somethings. Denise, the bartender, went to art school but can't find a better gig than slinging shots. She's got a punk vibe and a bruised heart — so you can sense the setup there. Mikey doesn't have a job or a lover but he's got his old friend Davy who pays the rent and generally keeps him afloat. Davy's our protagonist and — at least at the top of the scene — he's got a job but not one he likes. Davy looks around the bar and beefs that everyone is on cell phones; no one is really connecting with one another. He makes a half-hearted attempt to get everyone in the bar to put down the devices and be together. It sort of flops.
2/25/20203 minutes, 41 seconds
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'Revenge Song' review: Geek theatre rules!

Did you ever have a nerdy friend in high school? Or maybe you were the nerdy friend? Someone who was super into anime, comic books, sword fights; always had a corny joke or a geeky pop-culture reference; totally into cosplay; also super smart and knew really weird but cool stuff about history? Maybe queer? Maybe not? Super creative, super self-aware but also sort of a mess which kind of bugged you but at exactly the moment you were going to give up on them you realized they had a heart of gold and were doing the right thing? If you could roll all that up into a play, it'd be Qui Nguyen's world premiere "Revenge Song."
2/18/20203 minutes, 27 seconds
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The loss of the LA Weekly will drive you nuts

In the first scene of playwright Steven Leigh Morris' new play "Red Ink," our protagonist makes a cri-du-coeur: "What was he thinking?...Why would a successful business man do to his own property?"
2/11/20203 minutes, 21 seconds
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Are we listening?

Dael Orlandersmith's one-woman show "Until the Flood" is set in and around Ferguson, Missouri. It's 2014, immediately after Michael Brown was shot 6 times by a police officer. Ferguson erupted in protest. The following year, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis commissioned Ms. Orlandersmith to write and perform a solo show to give voice to the city's racial divide. "Until the Flood" is based on interviews she did across Ferguson and St. Louis and boiled down to 8 poetic composite characters. We hear from black residents who are scared and angry. We hear from white residents who are angry and scared. Remarkably, Ms. Orlandersmith gives voice to it all.
2/4/20203 minutes, 44 seconds
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What does the constitution mean to you?

You know how the constitution has a preamble? "We the people of the United States ..."? Okay, before you go see the play "What the Constitution Means to Me" (and you definitely need to go see this play) - you should probably imagine a preamble to the play … not a disclaimer exactly, just an explanation for what you’re about to see. 
1/28/20203 minutes, 46 seconds
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What’s happening at REDCAT?

Miwa Matreyek’s work doesn’t fit neatly into a simple box.
1/21/20204 minutes, 8 seconds
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Roll with it

Stephen Adly Guirgis play "Between Riverside and Crazy" is one of those scripts that plays very differently outside of New York.
1/14/20203 minutes, 30 seconds
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Theater for a new year

Happy New Year! LA theater is all about women in the new year.  There are one woman shows, re-imagining women from history.  Here’s a quick list of the shows I’m looking forward to this spring. Let’s start with a hit one-woman show … that now stars another woman.
1/7/20203 minutes, 48 seconds
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Best of 2019 LA Theatre: the gender act.

Okay, Best of LA Theatre 2019 part two. Last week, I shared plays that tackled race head on. This week, one last favorite production that made an audience confront how race haunts our national drama from an unlikely source: The Getty Villa.
12/31/20193 minutes, 35 seconds
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“Best of 2019 LA Theatre: the race act.”

It’s time for the best of theatre of 2019. Like last year, the best theatre in Los Angeles - the theater that spoke with the clearest voice this year - was political.  But where last year the politics had to do broadly with who was leading who. This year, the politics were mostly about race and gender.  
12/24/20193 minutes, 51 seconds
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A big play in a tiny space

A couple of years ago "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" was a big play. By big I mean it got a Broadway production, it won Tony awards, it went on a national tour - you know, big play. But here's the thing, it's not really a big play in a broadway sense.  It's a really beautiful small play that found it's big-ness. At it's core it's a wonderful ensemble play where a small group of actors not only play a bunch of roles - they make a whole world. This is the magic of the production at the Greenway Court a 99-seat theatre.  They rediscover the heart of the play in an intimate setting.
12/17/20193 minutes, 16 seconds
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A male swan’s spell

Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake” is the production that 24 years ago catapulted Mr. Bourne’s work into the international spotlight. Famously, he reimagines Tchaikovsky’s ballet about women trapped as swans by an evil sorcerer's spell -- into the tragic and heroic story of a closeted prince discovering a secret world of male love.
12/17/20193 minutes, 22 seconds
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Punk? Or Poser?

Remember being a teenager? If you are now or ever were a teenager, you've probably had to navigate some tricky social waters. Who's cool? Who's a poser? Who are your people? Those are some of the questions at the heart of Circle X's production of "punkplay" ... but in a very particular time period.
12/3/20193 minutes, 32 seconds
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A holiday cab

I’m guessing the last thing you need is another “to do” on your holiday list…but I want you to add one more. You need to go see “Jitney” at the Mark Taper Forum.
11/26/20193 minutes, 30 seconds
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Theatre tip: just use white people

There’s a problem with school Thanksgiving plays. But not in the particular high school drama classroom you can see onstage at the Geffen. Logan, the drama teacher, is finally getting to make her Thanksgiving school play and it’s going to right those wrongs.
11/12/20193 minutes, 30 seconds
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Comfort food comedy with a dark side

The setup at the center of Mike Birbiglia's one-man show "The New One" is not particularly new. In fact, it's familiar trope: the reluctant dad. 
11/5/20193 minutes, 41 seconds
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An essential journey

You need to drive to Pasadena and see a 3 hour play. Okay, I know that's a big ask so let me break down why the trip is worth it. Greg T. Daniel's production of "Gem of the Ocean" is important... and it carries the weight of a ton of history both locally and for us as a nation.
10/28/20193 minutes, 38 seconds
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Internal thoughts becoming external cues

It’s not that often that stunning design is the reason to go see LA’s intimate theatre. But design is really the reason to go see Son of Semele’s production of Sarah Kane’s play “4:48 Psychosis.”
10/21/20193 minutes, 40 seconds
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Seeing Beckett through a clown's eyes

Think of something you love. Something you’re really passionate about; something that, at least in your mind, can either be done right or really wrong. Maybe it’s a sport? Or a recipe? Or maybe even a kiss. When that thing’s good, it feeds your soul. When it’s bad … well, sometimes you’d rather just skip it. That’s how a lot of theater folks, myself included, feel about Samuel Beckett.
10/14/20193 minutes, 45 seconds
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When a play is more of a story

What’s the difference between a dramatic story and a play? That’s the question that nervously filled my mind with the first words of “How the light gets in” at Boston Court.
10/7/20193 minutes, 26 seconds
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When is a “Handjob” more than a handjob?

Erik Patterson’s play “Handjob” does indeed include a handjob. So if you’re the kind of person who might be offended by that or by male frontal nudity then this play might, oddly, be perfect for you. Stick with me.
9/30/20193 minutes, 21 seconds
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Holding an imperfect mirror up to LA (vida loca)

This isn’t an easy story to hear but judging by the sold out crowds and standing ovation - it’s a journey that is letting a community see a reflection of itself and their struggles.
9/23/20194 minutes, 43 seconds
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Time to get schooled

The frame for John Leguziamo’s latest one man show is an eighth grade history textbook … well that and a bit of racist bullying. In “Latin History for Morons” his son comes crying from school about some white boy who, having descended from white generals dating back to the civil war, told him he was a ‘beaner’ and king of nothing.
9/16/20194 minutes, 35 seconds
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Breathing female life into a stubborn male classic

How do you breathe life into ancient art? That’s the driving question behind the Getty Villa’s outdoor theater program (and arguably the Getty itself). Each September the Getty mounts a Greek or Roman play in their spectacular Malibu canyon amphitheater.
9/9/20194 minutes, 31 seconds
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The trouble with expectation

oday, before we open that theater curtain, I want you to join me... at an imaginary art gallery. Playwright Vince Melocchi is counting on your fascination with the Warhol legend to fuel his play “Andy Warhol’s Tomato.”
8/26/20194 minutes, 36 seconds
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The brilliant complexity of a feminist classic

When is the last time you saw a play with a cast of eight complex women? I see a lot of theater and I think my answer is right next to never ...but an all female cast isn’t the only stunning thing about Maria Irene Fornes’ play, “Fefu and her friends.” 
8/19/20194 minutes, 22 seconds
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Saying no to the myth

There’s a temptation with the big stories, say a Greek myth, to embrace the epic, larger-than-life quality. After all it’s a myth, right? Take playwright Sarah Ruhle’s “Eurydice”.
8/12/20194 minutes, 40 seconds
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The paid intimacy of immersive theater

The invitation to “Under the Big Top: Atlas” is intentionally a little cryptic. It’s clear it’s an immersive theater experience. It’s clear it’s $70 for a 30 minute performance. Beyond that, it invites your imagination to wander. There’s mention of 1928, some kind of flood at the circus. A mystery, someone’s disappeared, maybe I can help locate her? And that it’s a partnership with Two Bit Circus. That’s enough for me. I’m intrigued.
8/5/20194 minutes, 20 seconds
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Manifest masculinity

“Men on Boats” is a play that gets many things right… and yet somehow ends up not quite hitting its target.
7/25/20194 minutes, 33 seconds
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Brecht without the politics

Even for a classically focused theatre company like Antaeus, their new play “Caucasian Chalk Circle” feels dated.
7/15/20194 minutes, 31 seconds
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A dead man’s legacy

Playwright Geraldine Inoa’s stunning play “Scraps” is haunted by a character we never meet. Don't miss this powerful production.
7/8/20194 minutes, 20 seconds
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Shocking a culture forward

Any time you’re seeing a revival or a new production of an old script, you walk in wondering -will reviving this script tell us anything new? That question is very present in the Odyssey Theatre Company’s production of “Loot” directed by Bart DeLorenzo.
7/1/20194 minutes, 51 seconds
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Sherlock Holmes and the case of too many plot points

The Sherlock Holmes inspired play “Mysterious Circumstances” is itself a bit of mystery … but not in the way the Geffen’s Artistic Director Matt Shakman probably intended it.
6/24/20194 minutes, 36 seconds
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Mama drama with power chords

Sigrid Gilmer isn’t one of those playwrights who warms up to an idea. She’s the kind of playwright who grabs you by the chest from the very first moments. 
6/17/20194 minutes, 24 seconds
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The alchemy of emptiness

Samuel Beckett’s plays can be really tricky. They are conceptually so full and simultaneously so maddeningly empty. It’s that emptiness that’s the key. What a production does with that emptiness is what separates a transcendent production of Beckett from a sleep-inducing one. Take the production of “Happy Days” starring Dianne Wiest at the Mark Taper Forum.
6/3/20194 minutes, 38 seconds
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Why do you choose what you choose?

In “Invisible Tango” that magic and narrative is being crafted by Helder Guimarães. The magic is mostly a theme and variation on card manipulation and increasing elaborate versions of “is this your card?” In the intimate theater that’s configured to focus on a simple card table, the action is close enough to be dazzling and big enough to feel like more than a single trick.
5/27/20194 minutes, 12 seconds
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The theatre of place: Jordan Downs

For Cornerstone’s latest piece “A Jordan Downs Illumination” the focus is really space and time (or more accurately *place* through time). That place is the public housing project in Watts - Jordan Downs. And the time is from World War II when the project was built through now when - After decades of conversation and controversy, the entire project is phase by phase being rebuilt as an urban village.
5/20/20194 minutes, 28 seconds
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Saved by the cast

At the beginning of Michael McKeever’s play at the Fountain Theatre, we are at the end of a dinner party. Daniel and Mitchell seem to be the perfect gay couple. Daniel’s a talented architect. Mitchell’s a successful writer. They’re a terrific match. Daniel cooks, Mitchell cleans. You know the deal. It’s that moment of a dinner party where the last bottle of wine is being opened and you’re in the living room chatting about momentous things like why Mitchell’s agent Barry dates young boys and which is better: gummy bears or jelly beans. Barry’s boy-toy du jour, Trip, who is less than half his age, is enamored of this other gay couple. They seem so perfect. They’ve been together seven years; they have this beautiful house; they are clearly in love. Trip naturally assumes they’re married. Oops. Turns out this is a sore spot for Daniel. Hence, the title of the play “Daniel’s Husband.” Mitchell doesn’t believe in gay marriage. He doesn’t believe in marriage at all. Feels like it’s all some conspiracy built to devalue love and make money. Why as a gay man would he want to assimilate and be like everyone else? He’d fight for other gay men’s right to be married but is violently opposed personally. A fight ensues. Things get tense. It’s clear this is an old issue for these two. Daniel really, really wants to be married. Mitchell can’t even consider it. The one issue they don’t raise as they argue is: what happens if one of them gets sick. Don’t worry - the play hasn’t forgotten that argument. That’s the second half. I won’t spoil the specific details but if I tell you the fifth character in the play is Daniel’s problematic, rich mother - you can probably sketch out the rest. What begins as a witty, clever gay comedy quickly takes a dark turn not just towards tragedy but almost soap-opera. The second half of this 90 minute play comes close to the tone of one of those old films you’d watch in high school with titles like “Scared straight.” Gay men in perfect relationships who haven’t gotten married beware: this could happen to you. While the end of the play is a little heavy handed, the reason to go see “Daniel’s Husband” is the cast. Headed up by Tim Cummings and Bill Brochtrup as that ideal gay couple - they’re as perfect in these roles as the characters seem perfect for each other. Jenny O’Hara is just right as the mom who comes for a visit and takes over everything. These fine actors manage to keep the play from descending into melodrama. In the wrong hands, this play could have gone very, very badly. As it is, it’s skating on the edge. But these are some of the finest actors in LA and they not only keep things together - they make it all terribly touching. And make small silent moments speak volumes. This is the kind of acting that make intimate theater special. You’re not going to see a cast this good in a space this small in other cities. So laugh with the first half, cry or cringe with the second half - but enjoy these actors. “Daniel’s Husband” plays at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood through June 23rd.
5/6/20194 minutes, 23 seconds
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Enjoy the dancing dildos

Sometimes watching a play is like having a friend tell you a confusing story. You know, one of those stories where, a few minutes in, you begin to wonder exactly what the story is about and why, exactly, are they sharing it with you. That’s how I felt watching Ammunition Theatre Company’s world premiere of “Brain Problems” by Malcolm Barrett.
4/29/20194 minutes, 28 seconds
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The tenure of white supremacy

In the Geffen Playhouse’s latest production, you’re going to office hours at an elite university.
4/22/20194 minutes, 39 seconds
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Doll hubris, anyone?

Children’s theatre is tricky business. It’s a bit like cooking for kids. The easy way out is all sugary sweets. Give ‘em saccharine fake smiles and stories so simplistic they’re easily digestible without any real thought. Like that ice cream cone for breakfast, it may hold the child’s attention for a few minutes but … is it really what they need?
4/15/20194 minutes, 35 seconds
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A play boss-battling itself

Inda Craig-Galván’s play “Black Super Hero Magic Mama” is a tricky one to wrap your mind around.  Not because the setup is unfamiliar (unfortunately, you’ll recognize it immediately) but because where the play takes that setup has it fighting against itself.
4/1/20194 minutes, 40 seconds
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A theatrical sudoku puzzle

“Incognito” at the Son of Semele is a puzzle play.
3/25/20194 minutes, 14 seconds
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Female power? Hell yes.

Sarah De Lappe’s play “The Wolves” is having a bit of a moment.  On top of being a finalist for the Pulitzer, it’s slated for over 50 productions across the US - making it one of the year’s most produced plays.
3/18/20194 minutes, 22 seconds
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Time for Block Party to evolve

If you’ve been patiently waiting for a play about roller derby, I have good news.  If you had hoped it would be a great play about roller derby - um…not so much. “For the love of it (or the roller derby play)” takes us inside the locker room of the Brooklyn Scallywags - the best female roller derby team in the league.  Gina Femia’s play gives you a peek behind the scenes at women who go by names like Lizzie Lightning and Diaz De Los Muertos.
3/11/20194 minutes, 38 seconds
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Bring your kids to the theater!

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts latest offering, Pigpen Theatre Company’s “The Old Man and the Old Moon” is the ambling story of how the light gets into the moon told by seven guys who play all the parts and double as a charming folk band.
3/5/20194 minutes, 21 seconds
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Sometimes the past is more real than the present

What’s the difference between a play and a film? That’s one of the questions that Brazilian director Christiane Jatahy asks with her stunning piece “What if they went to Moscow?” How Ms. Jatahy poses that elegant question is a little complicated so stick with me.
2/26/20194 minutes, 40 seconds
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A method to the political madness

The Actors’ Gang has two things that run through their productions: style and politics. The style is a distant relative of Commedia Dell’Arte, the Italian comic tradition built around stock characters like Harlequin, Pantalone, the corrupt judge.  Even if you’ve never seen a Commedia show, chances are the sitcoms of your youth were built on the same formula.
2/19/20194 minutes, 56 seconds
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Questioning a fairy tale

Matthew Bourne’s “Cinderella” at the Ahmanson is fascinating as much for what it isn’t as for what it is.
2/12/20194 minutes, 26 seconds
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Our inescapable past.

For all it’s seeming simplicity, the Wooster Group’s latest show is complicated, dense experience. Let’s start with the  title: “The B-Side: “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons,” A Record Album Interpretation.” What’s a record album interpretation?
2/5/20194 minutes, 38 seconds
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Fighting the patriarchy

In Taylor Mac’s play “Hir” (spelled H-I-R - more on that in a minute), the old order simply won’t stand.
1/29/20194 minutes, 39 seconds
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Hidden classical treasures

One of LA theatre’s hidden treasures is the theatre that happens at the Getty Villa. The Getty Villa’s latest production goes up this coming weekend with a site-specific show from Four Larks called “Katabasis.” Four Larks - like the Villa - is another hidden LA treasure.
1/22/20194 minutes, 20 seconds
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Sleeping with your son

Remember that cool kid in high school? The one with the awesome jacket and that effortless edge. He was something of a rebel: used nasty language in just the right way. Made it all look so easy. Now remember that other kid who tried to copy him? Same jacket, same foul language but he couldn’t quite pull it off? Ghost Road company’s latest show is like that second kid: cool stuff but can’t really pull the whole thing off.
1/15/20194 minutes, 17 seconds
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Theatre for a New Year

New Year - new theatre!  Here’s my short list for the plays you shouldn’t miss this spring.
1/8/20194 minutes, 15 seconds
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Best of 2018, part 2

Last week I started looking back at the theatre in LA that made a difference in 2018.  This week I round out that list with the kind of work I hope fills theaters in 2019.
1/1/20194 minutes, 46 seconds
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Best of 2018, part 1

Looking back at the best shows from a year of theatre is always a little strange.  It’s not like KCRW’s list of best albums that you can instantly download and enjoy.  Theatre is ephemeral - you can’t stream it or hit rewind. So reflecting on a year’s productions is less a guide to what you should see, and more an evaluation of where we are as an audience - and maybe a hint of where we’re going.
12/27/20184 minutes, 43 seconds
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The challenge of time and space

This last weekend Taylor Mac, the fabulous drag performer and all around theatre genius, returned to the Center of the Art of Performance at UCLA with a holiday show: “Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce”.
12/18/20184 minutes, 29 seconds
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A High Sugar "Nutcracker"

I’m a sucker for theater in non-traditional spaces so when I heard about “The Nutcracker Suite” in a skyscraper downtown - even though it was ballet - I was in.
12/11/20184 minutes, 17 seconds
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Look for the helpers

“Come From Away”, the new show at the Ahmanson, is basically a feel-good musical about 9/11. If that sounds a little far-fetched, think of the advice to kids from Mr. Rogers: in the face of catastrophe, look to the helpers.
12/4/20184 minutes, 29 seconds
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A mean Lear

There’s something so absurdly ambitious about Zombie Joe’s Underground production of “King Lear” - you really want it to work. 
11/27/20184 minutes, 27 seconds
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Being a Ghost Story of Christmas

When you enter the Geffen Playhouse for “A Christmas Carol” it feels like you may have entered a victorian funeral home.  The lights are dim, there’s a waft of fog blowing on stage and what appears to be a coffin surrounded by black floral arrangements. It’s spooky. It feels like you’re about to hear a ghost story. Which you are.
11/13/20185 minutes
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Midterm Elections and the theatre

Anthony Byrnes speaks with Steve Chiotakis about theatre and the upcoming elections on All Things Considered.
11/6/20185 minutes, 23 seconds
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An absence of responsibility

At first Eliza Clark’s play “Quack” feels like a thinly veiled take-down of a Dr. Oz-like TV doctor.
10/29/20184 minutes, 32 seconds
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A Lie to make you care

Beyond the 6 Tony Awards and the record setting box office, what’s fascinating about the musical “Dear Evan Hansen” is how it gets an audience to care.
10/22/20184 minutes, 19 seconds
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Breaking free from Shakespeare's Ghetto

What if “The Merchant of Venice” were told from Shylock’s daughter’s perspective? That’s the conceit behind Sarah Mantell’s play “Everything that never happened”.
10/15/20184 minutes, 17 seconds
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A blue Jello spit take of truth

When’s the last time, in the theater, that you saw a really good, slow spit take?
10/8/20184 minutes, 34 seconds
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An argument for Dramaturgy

Watching Jose Rivera’s play “The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona” is a bit like flipping through the sketchbook of a talented artist who can’t figure out exactly how all those sketches turn into a big painting.
10/1/20184 minutes, 29 seconds
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The glory of subversion

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins plays aren’t quite what they seem on the surface. Or maybe a better way to say that is - they are everything they seem to be ... and more. Take his play “Appropriate” or “Appropriate” that played at the Taper in 2015.(That was a couple years ago but stick with me - because he’s doing something very similar now).
9/24/20184 minutes, 33 seconds
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Catching glimpses of a great play

It’s easy to see why Lynn Nottage’s play “Sweat” won a Pulitzer prize. “Sweat” chronicles what happens to a union factory town when the old way of doing things isn’t doing it anymore. It’s set mostly in a local dive bar. The kind of place you go after your shift to grab a beer. The kind of place you celebrate every birthday since - well, hell you can’t even remember it’s been so long.
9/17/20184 minutes, 34 seconds
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The present soul of a classic

The question of the classical soul is always looming in the air for the Getty Villa’s annual outdoor drama. Calling upon those classical Greek and Roman plays, one always wonders how academic, how true to form (and perhaps devoid of soul) will the work be? That question is particularly poignant when Anne Bogart and SITI Company are tackling the Greeks, as they are for the third time this year, with Euripides “Bacchae.”
9/10/20184 minutes, 45 seconds
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Too little water; too much drama!

It’s in roughly the third scene of Circle X’s world premiere of “Hole in the Sky” that the moon rises behind the actors. Not a prop moon or a piece of scenery - the actual moon…because we’re sitting on the edge of horse stable deep in the Valley - Lake View Terrace to be exact.
8/27/20184 minutes, 31 seconds
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‘Cabaret’ as cover band

The tricky thing with a musical like “Cabaret” is that it’s so iconic.
8/13/20184 minutes, 17 seconds
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"Who gets to be a mom?"

Yes, this is a play about new mothers but because child-rearing is inextricably linked to privilege and class it becomes about much, much more than that. To say this is play that could only be written by a women is like saying only a woman can give birth - both overly simplistic and more complicated than we can fully grasp.
8/6/20184 minutes, 39 seconds
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Getting lost in a playwright’s mind

With most plays and playwrights, you track story, character, plot. There’s a sense that while the source of the drama may have been the playwrights mind that’s not the setting. That’s not how it works with a Murray Mednick play.
7/30/20184 minutes, 28 seconds
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Falling for young fruit

You know how you feel about brussels sprouts? You know you should probably eat them. “A Month in the Country,” the Turgenev classic, is basically the theatrical equivalent of brussels sprouts. Fortunately, the Patrick Marber adaptation of “Three Days in the Country,” - is like the chef that throws in a little bacon into the brussels sprouts and makes you reconsider the whole affair.
7/23/20184 minutes, 38 seconds
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Moms will do anything

The story behind the play "Hostage" is incredible.
7/16/20184 minutes, 26 seconds
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Going crazy in the Valley

To wrap your mind around Jonathan Muñoz Proulx's production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" without going crazy yourself, you've got to separate the concept of the piece from the actual drama.
7/9/20184 minutes, 28 seconds
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Easy endings to difficult problems?

Dominique Morisseau's play "Skeleton Crew" is a feel good play about an auto plant closing. It takes place in the break room of a Detroit auto plant. Times are tough. Plants are closing all over the place. People are losing their jobs, their dreams. And there are rumors that this plant might be next. That's got this play’s quartet of African-American characters on edge.
7/2/20184 minutes, 20 seconds
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Great play! Right theater?

I want to tell you to buy a ticket to this play right now but I also need to tell you to buy a ticket up front because the Ahmanson is a less than ideal theater for this play.
6/25/20184 minutes, 26 seconds
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A little stinky is okay - but too much and the whole thing's a mess

It's June - which for Los Angeles intimate theater means it's time for the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Now, if you've never done the fringe, it's a bit like doing a tasting menu with a drunk chef.  Everything happens quickly, some things are brilliant, some experiments are catastrophes, and almost everything goes better with a wine pairing.
6/11/20184 minutes, 22 seconds
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An unsatisfying journey

Mfoniso Udofia's play at Boston Court is not a satisfying play. In the opening scene of “Her Portmanteau,” Iniabasa certainly does not look satisfied. She's at arrivals at JFK - she's just flown here from Nigeria with a big tattered suitcase, the “portmanteau” of the title.
6/4/20184 minutes, 18 seconds
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Perverse magic of LA’s intimate theaters

You know that moment at the bookstore when you're browsing the serious, literary classics and the salacious cover of something pulpy catches your eye? It's that same impulse that has you order a plate of cheese fries. You know it's not going to be good for you, but god is it satisfying. "Forever Bound" by Steven Apostolina is the theatrical equivalent of that moment.
5/28/20184 minutes, 27 seconds
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Better than Cats

Two facts you need to know before you go see "Soft Power" David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori's new musical at the Ahmanson. One, weeks after the 2016 election, playwright David Henry Hwang was walking home in Brooklyn when he was brutally and mysteriously stabbed in the neck - this really happened. Two, that election? Hillary Clinton didn't win. Both these facts are critical dramaturgical departure points for "Soft Power."
5/21/20184 minutes, 35 seconds
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Straying from a mission to fulfill a promise

About 10 minutes into Antaeus Theatre Company's production of "Native Son", a black man accidentally kills a drunk white heiress. With most structurally sound plays, that would be enough. We have our moral crisis. We have a protagonist and a powerful question - "what will society do when a black man in 1939 accidentally kills a white woman?"
5/14/20184 minutes, 26 seconds
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Weaving an audience’s soul

It's a sold out opening night of "the theater is a blank page" and even though there are only 80 of us in the audience - we're in the very last rows of the balcony at Royce Hall. Even stranger, it looks like we've come to the end of a tech rehearsal. All the rest of the seats are covered with white muslin. The stage, befitting the title, is mostly empty. 
4/30/20184 minutes, 41 seconds
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Struggling to find the right language

"ICE" is the story of an undocumented immigrant who comes in search of the American dream in the 1980's. We see him work a full day at a construction site only to be paid less than half of what was promised. When confronted the boss says basically "look you've got no papers, I can do what I want." We see this pattern repeat while he struggles to live his dream - converting an old ice cream truck into a gourmet taco truck.
4/23/20184 minutes, 38 seconds
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A messy, big play

"An Undivided Heart," a co-production of Circle X and the Echo Theatre Company is a big play. With 10 characters and almost as many subplots, playwright Yusuf Toropov is juggling a lot of ideas.
4/16/20184 minutes, 14 seconds
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Xeroxing Kantor’s mirror

Watching the Wooster Group's latest piece at REDCAT "A PINK CHAIR (In Place of a Fake Antique)," had me thinking about a quote from Shakespeare and a dumb joke.
4/10/20184 minutes, 44 seconds
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Everybody's got a hustle.

If you go see Sarah Jones' one woman show "Sell/Buy/Date" at the Geffen Playhouse, I'll bet you that someone in the seats near whispers during the show "wow, she's good." It's that kind of performance: one designed to elicit appreciation for its technique and virtuosity.
4/2/20184 minutes, 30 seconds
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What you get to carry as a human being

As Kristy Edmunds articulates so eloquently in both her words and her programming, that changes what I get to carry as a human being.
3/26/20184 minutes, 49 seconds
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Shamelessly preaching to the choir

It took me three hours to fall in love with Taylor Mac's "A 24-Decade History of Popular Music." Before I can even begin to explain what's so extraordinary about the show, or why 3 hours makes up barely act one, I have to orient you to the it of it.
3/19/20184 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Venn diagram of high art and fart jokes

I want you to imagine the Venn diagram where high art intersects with fart jokes. That sweet spot, if you want to call it that, is the where Sacred Fools latest show "The Art Couple" lives. 
3/12/20184 minutes, 34 seconds
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The moving target of whiteness

Maybe it was pure coincidence. Or maybe it was the dramaturgy of the universe ...but on my drive to Pasadena to see "A Streetcar Named Desire" a particular phrase from a KCRW interview struck me. 
3/6/20184 minutes, 34 seconds
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Bearing witness from the choir?

There's a lot of this ‘witnessing’ happening in the theater right now.  Our political climate has theater makers anxious to do something, say something, to protest in some way. The challenge is–when you're preaching to the choir, what do you say?
2/27/20184 minutes, 54 seconds
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How do we evolve without losing our way?

Theatre Movement Bazaar's "The Grail Project" is probably 15 minutes too long, the quest itself is a little bit of a cop out, and the end doesn't really land. So let's do this in reverse.
2/20/20184 minutes, 38 seconds
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A soldier's past, missing drama in the present

Elliott, a nineteen year-old combat vet back home between tours of duty in Iraq, is finally going to confront his dad. Ever since he came home nursing a purple heart leg injury, he's been trying to get his dad to open up. Elliott needs to know if his dad's time in Vietnam was anything like the horror he just experienced in Iraq. But something is missing....
2/13/20184 minutes, 17 seconds
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Hipster Pirates

Maybe it was all the beach balls flying through the air ... or the guy with the guitar and the sweet, terry cloth leisure suit - but as soon as I walked onto the stage at Pasadena Playhouse it was clear that this wasn't going to be a traditional "Pirates of Penzance." 
2/6/20184 minutes, 27 seconds
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Is great acting enough?

Is great acting enough? That's the question I'm left with after seeing Antaeus Theatre Company's latest production - Harold Pinter's "The Hothouse." 
1/30/20184 minutes, 40 seconds
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A not-so-silent retreat

The idea behind Bess Wohl's "Small Mouth Sounds" is pretty ingenious: it's a play about six people at a week long silent retreat.
1/23/20184 minutes, 33 seconds
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The premature death of a dream

Poor Dog Group’s show “Group Therapy” is a quiet, incomplete window into what happens when an artistic dream confronts the difficulty of time.
1/12/20184 minutes, 29 seconds
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Transitioning to new stories

Alice has almost gotten up the nerve, she's about to hit send...when her girlfriend stops her. Her girlfriend has a secret: she thinks she might actually be a he.
1/10/20184 minutes, 23 seconds
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Theater for a New Year: a busy January

Typically, right after I wish you happy New Year, I run through my top picks in LA theater for the whole spring. But this year, there's so much exciting work happening in this month alone... well, let's just say break out your calendars and block off at least a couple nights in January.
1/3/20184 minutes, 35 seconds
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Best of 2017

2017 has been a tumultuous year and the best of LA theater has spoken either directly or implicitly to with our political challenges.. Here's my short list for the work on LA's stages that left a lasting impression.
12/27/20174 minutes, 59 seconds
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Circus for the spinning multi-tasker

If you're looking for some theatrical spectacle for the whole family over the holidays, my pick is Cirque Du Soleil's latest Luzia.
12/20/20174 minutes, 40 seconds
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If it's not tax-deductible, will theater donors still give?

Okay, the holidays are almost upon us. What better time to talk about nonprofit theaters and the tax code?
12/13/20174 minutes, 39 seconds
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Meaningless entertainment, on the other hand, is actually really hard

Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns is a complicated allegory that weaves pop culture references into an alternately funny and chilling tale. It's one of those plays that allow viewers to read into it their own personal take.
11/29/20174 minutes, 58 seconds
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A lowbrow holiday in the theater

Okay, it's unavoidable. The holidays are upon us. Amidst the turkeys, black Fridays and Holiday parties, how about a little theater? Anthony Byrnes offers a quick list of the holiday spectacles on our stages.
11/22/20174 minutes, 44 seconds
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Wrestling with the 'ghosts of ideas'

10 Million is simultaneously a private story of a family torn apart and a political history about the very personal impacts of Cuba's revolution. The Cuban production is part of the Encuentro de las Américas theater festival, a celebration of Latin theater from the Americas.
11/15/20174 minutes, 33 seconds
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A bearded man with a ukulele and a bird mask

At first it's just small details . . . There's something odd about Erin Courtney's play A Map of Virtue. 
11/8/20174 minutes, 35 seconds
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An extended poetic metaphor

At its simplest level, With Love and a Major Organ is about a girl who falls in love with a guy she only knows through their shared subway rides. She decides to confess her love onto those tapes and deliver them to him with her heart -- her actual beating heart.
10/24/20174 minutes, 18 seconds
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A fraught political journey

Part of the magic of a great play is you get to experience a new world. For just a couple hours, you become a traveler with the actors into a playwright's thoughts, ideas, customs. Sometimes that journey is just across town, but if we're lucky we get to travel to another part of the world. For Guillermo Calderon's play Mateluna we travel to a politically fraught Chile.
10/24/20174 minutes, 51 seconds
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Technology or theater?

What happens when the technological magic of a theater piece eclipses the theatrical magic?
10/17/20174 minutes, 29 seconds
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A prison story

All great plays tell a story . . . but not all stories make a play.
10/10/20174 minutes, 36 seconds
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Appropriated disaster

There's a great play in the aftermath of the tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina. Runaway Home isn’t it.
10/3/20174 minutes, 10 seconds
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Arguing with God

The ancient Greeks thought theater was a way to speak directly to the gods.  Tarrell Alvin McCraney and Phylicia Rashad do them one better by arguing with God.
9/26/20174 minutes, 19 seconds
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The Chicago Greeks

Each fall the Getty opens its outdoor amphitheater in Malibu to a theater company to produce a classic Greek or Roman play for a modern audience. The gods are particularly demanding in Euripedes' final play, Iphigenia in Aulis, this year's offering, produced by Chicago's Court Theatre.
9/12/20174 minutes, 46 seconds
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Fall theater preview

Okay, get out your calendars. Here's a short list of LA theater that's going to be worth the trip this fall.
9/5/20174 minutes, 27 seconds
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A crisis in governance

Last week the Geffen Playhouse announced a new artistic director . . . but the real news is how they got rid of their old one.
8/29/20174 minutes, 19 seconds
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Don't look behind this door

The joy of the familiar is that it let's you focus on the specific.  Unfortunately, Tom Jacobson's The Devil's Wife is familiar, but that doesn't help.
8/22/20174 minutes, 18 seconds
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When the policy is more important than the dramaturgy

The trouble with autobiographical solo shows is that sometimes what happens in life doesn’t match up with the best dramaturgy. In Alex Alpharoah’s case, that’s a good thing.
8/15/20174 minutes, 46 seconds
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Making sense of an inscrutable world

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time doesn't so much tell you a story as it does allow you to sense the world through the lens of a 15-year-old boy, Christopher.
8/8/20174 minutes, 19 seconds
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Why the all-star game isn't much of a game

Antaeus Theatre Company has a problem: they have too many trained actors. I know that sounds like a blessing but sadly, that's what it feels like in Antaeus' thoroughly generic production of As You Like It.
8/1/20174 minutes, 24 seconds
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The beasts among us

Ionesco's play Rhinoceros is a perfect commentary on our political times. Unfortunately, Pacific Resident Theatre's production squanders that power on cheap laughs
7/25/20174 minutes, 29 seconds
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Missing Dad

There is a lot, and I mean a lot, to Lauren Yee's play The King of the Yees, so let's start simply. On one level, it's a play about a red door.
7/18/20174 minutes, 30 seconds
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Sweet when it should be savory

The Cake is a sweet play that really wants to be savory.
7/11/20174 minutes, 19 seconds
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The wrong kind of spectacle

A lot of things are moving in LA's larger theaters and it's got me freaked out.
7/4/20174 minutes, 8 seconds
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A Long way to go

Everything is compelling in The Pride… until it isn't. It's a bit like a scenic drive that never really takes you anywhere.
6/27/20174 minutes, 39 seconds
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A romance with slippery time

What would a romance look like in the multi-verse?  What even is a multi-verse?  Nick Payne's Constellations at the Geffen Playhouse tries to answer all your questions.
6/20/20174 minutes, 21 seconds
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A civic tragedy in 4 tweets

"Julius Caesar can be read as a warning parable to those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means" or …not.
6/13/20174 minutes, 20 seconds
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Getting lost in a playwright's mind

If you're a lover of muscular playwriting, great acting and Los Angeles - you need to spend next Sunday with Murray Mednick.
6/6/20174 minutes, 21 seconds
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A lost classic

Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry is a stunning production of a lost classic that’s beautifully directed.
5/30/20174 minutes, 41 seconds
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A House with a shaky foundation

The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage is built on a shaky foundation but the actors manage to hold the thing together.
5/23/20174 minutes, 16 seconds
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Unfair expectations?

Before you go see Rajiv Joseph's world-premiere Archduke, google the details of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914.
5/9/20174 minutes, 34 seconds
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Why we need a good 'Block Party'

Center Theatre Group's Block Party is a big deal for small theaters.
5/2/20174 minutes, 30 seconds
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We are being watched as we do the watching

Walking into Christiane Jatahy's play The Walking Forest at REDCAT feels, at first, more like going to a hip gallery opening than a play.
4/25/20174 minutes, 47 seconds
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A theatrical bologna sandwich

Sandwiched between two projection screens, Plasticity is the theatrical equivalent of bologna.
4/18/20174 minutes, 46 seconds
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Following your ears back to the beginning

Okay, you need to stop what you're doing and go buy a ticket to see The Encounter at The Wallis. No, really, I mean it. It's only here through this Sunday and the show will change the way you listen.
4/11/20174 minutes, 23 seconds
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Worse than a wall

Robert Schenkkan's Building the Wall isn't theater as reflection but theater as horrified fortune teller.  
4/4/20174 minutes, 37 seconds
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Is it the art? Or the frame?

Antaeus Theatre Company didn't just open Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, it also opened a brand new theater in Glendale.  That's a big deal.
3/28/20174 minutes, 30 seconds
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The politics of naked power

This is Anthony Byrnes Opening the Curtain on LA Theater for KCRW. Four naked bodies onstage. Two male, two female standing facing the audience. They are bathed in amber sidelight present, exposed, powerful. They begin to move. First partnered by gender: woman with woman, man with man taking each other's weight. Placing nude body on top of nude body. Then partnered across gender: man with woman until they collapse downstage left in a pile of naked flesh that's hauntingly like a mound of corpses. That's the opening of Antigonón, un contingente épico from Cuba's Teatro El Público that played at REDCAT this last weekend. To say this opening was shocking doesn't really do it justice. Nudity in the theater is always a bit alarming but it's often little more than a gimmick. You know, one naked body, typically female against a sea of clothed actors? It's often a solitary gesture, an exclamation point or a brief wake up call to the audience, saying some version of "hey, look how brave we are." Paradoxically, rather than announcing how comfortable we are with our bodies in the theater, it emphasizes how puritanical and shy we've become. Not only were these bodies, these actors, not shy -- their challenge to the audience wasn't so much to look at me but confront me. Deal with me in my purest most human state. And remember this was just the opening of the 80 minute performance. I won't lie to you and say I completely understood what the play was about -- not because it was performed in Spanish or wasn't clear but because it felt so deeply rooted in a Cuban culture and history that's foreign to me. I can tell you it left an impression on the audience. That it was a series of mostly monologues that spoke of sex, hardship, sacrifice and prostituting yourself for family and homeland. It challenged, celebrated, and mocked gender and homophobia. Those powerful naked bodies never seemed to be fully clothed often draped in wildly inventive costumes that never fully obscured the naked body underneath -- as if to remind us of that raw sexual power. Antigonón is the first in a series of four pieces that REDCAT is presenting under the banner "Urgent Voices, a series confronting timely issues facing the country and the world in 2017." The series continues this week with The Wooster Group's The Town Hall Affair and then in March with Brazilian director Christiane Jatahy's The Walking Forest and in May it closes with The Designated Mourner by Wallace Shawn. If this first piece is any hint, this is a series you're not going to want to miss. It's a precious, precarious moment in the arts. It could not have been lost on the opening night audience of Antigonón that that very same day a budget had been proposed in our country that would defund the National Endowment for the Arts and countless other programs. Like the paradox of the nude body, here was a work from Cuba that simultaneously reminded us why the theater is so essential and also, when done well, so politically feared. Antigonón played last weekend at REDCAT downtown. For info on the rest of Urgent Voices series and to subscribe to the weekly KCRW theater newsletter, check out: kcrw.com/theater. This is Anthony Byrnes Opening the Curtain on LA Theater for KCRW.
3/21/20174 minutes, 28 seconds
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A young play

Good Grief is a young play. That's part of its charm and part of its problem, but let's resist the urge to try and make the play something it isn't.
3/14/20174 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Irresistible pull of memory

If you're the kind of person who likes a traditional musical -- you know, boy meets girl, hummable tunes, linear narrative structure to a big redemptive finish -- if that's your thing, Fun Home at the Ahmanson is probably just going to frustrate you. If, on the other hand, you’re a little more adventurous, it’s fantastic.
3/8/20174 minutes, 5 seconds
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When style gets in the way

Collective Rage: A Play in Five Boops should be moving, political and empowering. Unfortunately, its style gets in the way.
3/1/20174 minutes, 8 seconds
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Why here? Why now?

In the months before D-Day, American troops took over a portion of the English seaside, displacing its residents so they could rehearse the invasion of Normandy in secret...
2/22/20174 minutes, 35 seconds
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A complicated history

Zoot Suit, at the Mark Taper Forum, is an essential piece of Los Angeles' history and, painfully, our political present.
2/15/20174 minutes, 33 seconds
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An acrobatic whale tale

Lookingglass' Moby Dick is worth the trip south, just be prepared that not everything is smooth sailing.
2/8/20174 minutes, 40 seconds
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The politics of collaboration

With all due respect to composer Kurt Weill and librettist Maxwell Anderson, the story wasn't the most important thing happening on stage Saturday night during Lost in the Stars at UCLA's Royce hall. 
2/1/20174 minutes, 30 seconds
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What makes technique, technique?

The Lion is a really tight solo show with remarkable guitar playing.  It's a production that's filled with technique and . . . that might be part of the problem.
1/18/20174 minutes, 29 seconds
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A legacy of work: Gordon Davidson

Last night at the Ahmanson Theater, Center Theater Group held a memorial for their founding artistic director, Gordon Davidson.
1/11/20174 minutes, 40 seconds
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Theater for the new year

Anthony Byrnes previews some of the year's most intriguing upcoming performances.
1/4/20174 minutes, 30 seconds
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It’s all about the audience

Two totally different shows -- one using Shakespeare, the other using a funky rock -- leave me wondering, 'Why can't more theater be like this?'
12/21/20164 minutes, 20 seconds
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It's just Tuesday

Last Thursday, a judge dismissed LA theater actors' lawsuit against their union. What does this mean and why you might not notice but we're all poorer for this outcome.
12/14/20164 minutes, 50 seconds
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A play from before . . .

WEB BONUS: The Super Variety Match Bonus Round! at Rogue Machine Theatre, is a play from before the election with hints of what was to come but those hints aren't ready for the weight we now place on them.
12/7/20164 minutes, 38 seconds
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Don't miss the experience of the forest (or the beauty of a single tree)

Kristy Edmunds, artistic and executive director of UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance, curatorial work captures both the unique beauty of an individual work and provides a larger context within which to understand those works. It's a deep journey and next week's 36-hour tour through Shakespeare's canon with Forced Entertainment will be a perfect example.
11/30/20164 minutes, 37 seconds
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#specialNOTsafe

Mike Pence went to the theater. A twitter storm erupts and amidst smoke and mirrors, Donald Trump issues a call to action for the theater.
11/23/20164 minutes, 35 seconds
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A dire, urgent warning

After the election, John Robbin Baitz's play Vicuña speaks with a completely different voice. It is now a dire, urgent warning that cannot be ignored.
11/16/20164 minutes, 13 seconds
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Getting lost in a Grimm Forest

24th Street Theatre has developed an impressive track record for complicated children's theater, but this year they get lost in a forest of their own creation.
11/9/20164 minutes, 54 seconds
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Polling a Play's Heart

Vicuña, John Robbin Baitz's world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre is going to be a radically different play in a week - not because he's going to change anything but because the country is going to change around it.
11/1/20164 minutes, 45 seconds
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An ugly story told beautifully

John Sinner's An Invasion of Decency! is an ugly story told beautifully.
10/25/20164 minutes, 25 seconds
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"Who's the bad guy?

Suddenly, a story we thought we knew is totally different.
10/18/20164 minutes, 22 seconds
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A culturally appropriate family

Together with Honky, Rogue Machine's Dutch Masters takes a compelling deep-dive on cultural appropriation and makes a strong argument for why artistic direction matters. (No audio component)
10/11/20164 minutes, 34 seconds
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As close as possible to the elemental core

A View from the Bridge is a must see show -- but only from the right seats.
9/27/20164 minutes, 25 seconds
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A classical dick joke

What's the value of classical theater? That's the question underlying the Getty Villa's annual outdoor production. For most of the past 11 years, the Getty has tried to answer that question with a tragedy. Not this year.
9/13/20164 minutes, 54 seconds
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FOUR LARKS forges a path through the INDUSTRY'S WILDERNESS

This is Anthony Byrnes Opening the Curtain on LA Theater for KCRW. There's something happening downtown and you need to know about it and support it! Today, I'm talking about Four Larks remarkable, multi-disciplinary theater piece The Temptation of St. Antony." But I'm also talking about Annie Saunder's and her company Wilderness' The Day Shall Declare It or Yuval Sharon and Industry's Hopscotch and Invisible Cities. What's emerging downtown is a group of companies that are making sophisticated, multi-layered, works of art that are bending genres and enchanting audiences. What unites these disparate works and companies? For starters, they’re makes site specific work in and around downtown Los Angeles. They aren't working in traditional theaters and instead are using the city as their stage. Whether it's an abandoned storefront on Broadway or a 1920's warehouse off Santa Fe or the expanse of Union Station or the architecture of the Bradbury Building, these companies are eschewing the confines of theater architecture and creating their own public performance spaces. That doesn't mean there's no design, to the contrary it's some of the most vital design in LA theater. But through their work, they're connecting audiences to our city in unexpected and exciting ways. Four Larks' THE TEMPTATION of ST ANTONY from FourLarks on Vimeo. These companies are also playing with, or if you prefer embracing, multiple disciplines. That's a no-brainer for opera but even Yuval Sharon's works like Hopscotch are pressing against what we expect an opera to be and do. Four Larks' 'junkyard operas' are as much musical performances with beautifully orchestrated scores as their are plays. The Temptation of St. Antony and The Day Shall Declare It are as much movement pieces as they are journeys of theatrical text. And the text, the stories, these companies are forging are far from simple linear narratives. These are stories with multiple layers and intriguing facets. Without judgement, it's the difference between MacBeth and Ulysses, both are masterpieces - just in very different ways. These companies are working more in the Joyce mold that rewards multiple viewings and resonances. The texts are both welcoming an audience on multiple levels and challenging the audience to experience a denser, fluid narrative. Welcoming an audience, is key to all three companies. While their texts are challenging and their technique polished, their embrace of audience is refreshing. In a city like LA, where we are not accustomed to the communal public space of a subway or a walk to work, these artists recognize that putting on a show isn't enough. Our city's infrastructure demands that theater create it's own architectural prologue and epilogue for it's art. So these companies are creating spaces that welcome the individual into the collective. On the simplest level, Four Larks and Wilderness are creating places to have a drink before and after the show. On a deeper level, they’re offering an opportunity and a reward for audiences to go on their journey's. These are more than shows, they’re experiences. So how can you experience the art these companies are creating? Right now, buy a ticket for Four Larks' The Temptation of St. Antony before it sells out. It's a glorious remount of their show from last year and it's even better now than it was then. Next? Keep an eye on all three of these companies. You won't be disappointed. Four Larks' The Temptation of St. Antony plays at a secret location in downtown LA through October 2. This is Anthony Byrnes Opening the Curtain on LA Theater for KCRW. Running time: 75 minutes without an intermission.
9/6/20164 minutes, 45 seconds
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Fall Theater Picks

Okay, despite your best attempts to deny it and stretch it out, the end of summer is almost here. It’s time to plan your fall theater calendar. Here are some quick highlights from LA theaters.
8/30/20164 minutes, 36 seconds
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The Equity Saga Continues

Anthony talks with Steve Chiotakis about the ongoing Actors' Equity Lawsuit surrounding LA’s Intimate Theater and talks about what to look for in the coming months.
8/23/20166 minutes, 22 seconds
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No Opposition

Church and State isn't a political play, it's a play about politics.
8/16/20164 minutes, 40 seconds
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An Essential Black, and Blue, Comedy

One of the Nice Ones is a dark black comedy that's not for the faint of heart. It's a nasty play with nasty language -- but it's essential.
8/9/20164 minutes, 38 seconds
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Taming the Ramones

In 1978 what the ramones needed was a major hit. What they got was Phil Spector and a gun. That's the back story of John Ross Bowie's Four Chords and a Gun.
8/2/20164 minutes, 17 seconds
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Lost Soles

If your shoes could talk, what would they say? Now imagine that they’ve been witness to the last half century of atrocities in Poland.
7/26/20164 minutes, 40 seconds
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A Soulful Trip to the Beach

If I had to sum the play up, it's a bit like Chekhov decided to write a science fiction fantasy play with a bunch of asides set today on the the tip of Long Island.
7/19/20164 minutes, 13 seconds
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An Uncertain Future

Listening to Ibsen's classic Hedda Gabler at Antaeus Theatre Company, I was struck by unexpected resonances from a play I thought I knew.
7/12/20164 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Sole of Satire

Honky is a razor-sharp satire about race in America and what it means to sell white suburban youth black culture and what happens to all of us along the way.
7/5/20164 minutes, 12 seconds
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That’s a Good Trick

“In & Of Itself”, Derek DelGaudio’s one man magic show, is exciting as much for the magic in the audience as the tricks onstage.
6/28/20164 minutes, 25 seconds
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A Play to Argue Over

It's easy to see why Disgraced won the Pulitzer Prize. It's also easy to see why American Theater magazine identified it as the most produced play of last season.
6/21/20164 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Revelation in Repetition

There aren't a lot of plays that reward a second viewing. The Day Shall Declare It does.
6/14/20164 minutes, 29 seconds
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Not Quite Prepared for This Disaster

Chalk Repertory Theatre's latest venture, In Case of Emergency, takes place in real garages around Los Angeles..
6/7/20164 minutes, 23 seconds
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Shock, Awe, and...Jane Fonda?

Sheila Callaghan's play That Pretty Pretty; or, The Rape Play is sensational . . . but not in the right ways.
5/31/20164 minutes, 24 seconds
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Unrelenting Drama?

There's no question that Steven Berkoff's production of The Hairy Ape is good. The question is, is it engaging?
5/24/20164 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Bodies Tell as Much of a Story as the Words

The Day Shall Declare It is a site-specific dance-theater piece not to be missed.
5/17/20164 minutes, 28 seconds
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Taking Responsibility

Dry Land is not a play for everyone. At its center is a teenage abortion. That's difficult territory but playwright Ruby Rae Spiegel takes responsibility for it in all its power and messiness.
5/4/20164 minutes, 27 seconds
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Shakespeare's Black Man

Charles A. Duncombe's play Othello/Desdemona is provocative ... if predictable.  He's caught Othello in an identity crisis about his role and his blackness and it's intellectually fascinating if not dramatically compelling.
4/26/20164 minutes, 18 seconds
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Mark It

If you only have time for one play this spring, the Taper's production of Suzan-Lori Parks' Father Comes Home from the Wars is it.
4/19/20164 minutes, 20 seconds
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Our Problem Presents Itself

This week I want to tell you about two great shows...trouble is they've already left town. What does that tell us about LA's citywide audience and our presenting houses?
4/12/20164 minutes, 10 seconds
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A Nourishing Question

What does a play about sexual identity in colonial Africa have to do with Los Angeles today? 
4/5/20164 minutes, 4 seconds
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A Canary in a Bigger Coal Mine

Remember last year’s dispute between union stage actors and Actors' Equity? Well, things are heating up again and it might be time to start paying attention.
3/29/20164 minutes, 25 seconds
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What We’ve Lost

With Pocatello, Rogue Machine Theater returns to Samuel D. Hunter's small town, Idaho, this time with the closing of an olive garden. But the play's less about the closing of a chain restaurant and more about the loss of a way of life.
3/22/20164 minutes, 15 seconds
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Don't Even Ask Her about Dressing!

Based on an Internet meme of the same name, Sheila Callaghan's Women Laughing Alone with Salad attempts satire but ends up wading through the greens.
3/15/20164 minutes, 8 seconds
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A Challenging Chorus

Stefanie Zadravec's Colony Collapse is a beautiful small play that's trying a little too hard to be a big play.
3/9/20164 minutes, 27 seconds
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Why Politics Matter

If you write a play that's mostly homophobic but end it with a gay marriage, do you get a pass? That's the question that I’m left with after seeing Bathsheba Doran's new play at the Taper, The Mystery of Love and Sex.
3/2/20164 minutes, 6 seconds
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A Verdict without an Indictment

Remember the day of the OJ verdict? That's the dramatic engine in David McMillan's new play, Watching OJ, and its tapping into our current racial moment while staying safely in the past.
2/24/20164 minutes, 3 seconds
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A Backup on the Kościuszko

How are America and Poland connected since the Revolutionary War? That's both the promise and the challenge of Nancy Keystone's epic Ameryka.
2/17/20164 minutes, 14 seconds
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Whose Play Is It, Anyway?

WEB BONUS: The Wooster Group's production of Harold Pinter's first play The Room is playing at REDCAT this weekend and unfortunately that will likely be the only chance to see it -- anywhere. The reasons are fuzzy but someone is saying that this piece of theater can't exist . . . or doesn't have the rights to exist.
2/9/20167 minutes, 17 seconds
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Opening Weekend

There are a ton of shows opening in Los Angeles this weekend. That's great, but you can't go see all of them – and neither can the critics. Here's why that matters to the health of LA's theater audience
2/3/20164 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Fullness of Nothing

Nothing happens in Will Eno's play, Thom Pain (based on nothing). But that doesn't stop Rainn Wilson from giving a stunning performance.
1/27/20164 minutes, 28 seconds
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Dystopian Delight

Britain's Headlong Theatre Company turns George Orwell's dystopian novel into a stunning theatrical production. But it might move your mind more than your heart.
1/20/20164 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Ritual of Space

A forced move for the Rogue Machine from its Pico Boulevard home is the latest challenge facing LA's small theaters. 
1/13/20164 minutes, 23 seconds
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Theater for a New Year

The new year promises several exciting theater productions. Anthony Byrnes previews a few.
1/6/20164 minutes, 18 seconds
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Best of 2015

Anthony offers his top ten for LA theater in 2015.
12/30/20154 minutes, 10 seconds
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All Hell Breaks Loose

What if you didn't have to come to church and you didn't have to tithe in order to be saved? What if the hell of the bible were really just an ancient garbage dump rather than a Dante-ian inferno? What if everyone went to heaven? Everyone.
12/23/20154 minutes, 13 seconds
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The Recipe Paradox

Cirque du Soleil's latest show, Kurios, repeats their favorite recipe and manages to recapture the magic. It's the best Cirque show to make it through LA in years.
12/16/20154 minutes, 11 seconds
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A Commitment to Actors

This may not be the best production of Guys & Dolls you'll ever see but it is the most approachable and heartfelt -- and that's perfect for a holiday show.
12/9/20154 minutes, 12 seconds
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Orpheus with an iPhone

A tragic event, a broken father and the hope of technology to contact the afterlife. Clever writing and a diverse cast help The Speed of Jake along on stage. 
12/2/20154 minutes, 17 seconds
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The Key to Diversity in the American Theater?

Is the Center Theater Group finally rediscovering its political voice? A new play there has us thinking about gender roles and white privilege.
11/25/20154 minutes, 22 seconds
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Theater in the Age of Twitter

An insightful commentary on how we're living our lives in the age of Instagram and constant notifications. Like a Tweet, Caryl Churchill's play is instantly accessible, and like the overheard conversation of a couple fighting at dinner it's strangely irresistible.
11/18/20154 minutes, 27 seconds
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Neighborly Comfort Food

In a world where everyone is oversharing what does privacy really mean? Can you really start over when your entire past is digitally archived and readily available to any curious stranger?
11/11/20154 minutes, 28 seconds
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Hopscotch-ing Tidy Art through Our Messy City

A theatrical event that unfolds across 24 individual chapters scattered around downtown Los Angeles. 
11/4/20154 minutes, 31 seconds
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Working Very Hard for Very Little

A new Chekov adaptation that you don't want to miss!
10/27/20154 minutes, 15 seconds
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Equity Lawsuit: It's Deja Vu All Over Again

Why Actors' Equity fighting it's own actors? What's at stake? More on the latest battle between the union and its actors.
10/20/20154 minutes, 18 seconds
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What Is Appropriate?

Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins forces us to confront our racist past both outside and inside of the theater.
10/6/20154 minutes, 27 seconds
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You Smiled at the Same Time as Me

Stop what you're doing, wake up your inner child, grab any other children in your life, and go buy tickets to 24th Street Theatre’s production of Man Covets Bird, a lyrical narrative about a young man who finds a bird and goes off to the big city in search of grown up adventures. There is no scary villain like the big, bad wolf. Instead, the obstacles are isolation, losing one's way, and the challenge of saying goodbye.
9/29/20154 minutes, 14 seconds
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October: An El Niño of Theater

There may be a drought in Los Angeles, but Anthony says that the city is awash in great theater in October.
9/22/20154 minutes, 20 seconds
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A Classic in East LA

For the last decade, the Getty Villa in Malibu has welcomed a theater company to produce an ancient text in their outdoor amphitheater. This year's production -- Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles -- pairs LA playwright Luis Alfaro with Euripedes' classic text and Pasadena's Boston Court Theater.
9/15/20154 minutes, 22 seconds
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A Playwright Building Bridges: An Interview with Luis Alfaro

Los Angeles playwright Luis Alfaro's new play Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles opens September 9 at the Getty Villa. Anthony Byrnes talks with Alfaro about his process, his inspiration, and the challenging balancing act between the Greeks and giving voice to his community.
9/8/20158 minutes, 16 seconds
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Grandma Franca's Curse

Luka's Room is one of those plays where plot is key and it falls squarely in the Rogue Machine mold where a mid-play revelation turns everything you've seen on its head.
8/25/20154 minutes, 17 seconds
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Fall Theater: Relatives from Out of Town

You can feel it slowly creeping towards us. Maybe it's the flurry of back to school emails, or the work projects that will finally begin "when everyone's back," or just a sense that a summer this nice can't last forever: fall is just around the corner. Before your schedule gets filled up getting back in the swing of things, I have three must-see theater picks from our presenting houses.
8/18/20154 minutes, 18 seconds
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Our Historical Selves

With the 50th anniversary of the Watts Riots, the first anniversary of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, the murders in South Carolina, the seemingly endless, and senseless, litany of unarmed black men dying at the hands of white police -- with all of this -- it's hard to imagine a more timely subject for the theater to tackle than American racism.
8/11/20154 minutes, 35 seconds
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A Taper Play

The latest production at the Mark Taper Forum, Bent is a 'Taper play,' one connected to our moment and urged, if only implicitly, towards inclusion and social justice. 
8/4/20154 minutes, 22 seconds
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Can We Go Home?

Think about home: the home of childhood. The home where you grew up. The home where your mother was. The home you had to leave.  This summer there are a trio of plays in Los Angeles that you shouldn't miss that are all set there - in that distant and complicated place called home.
7/28/20154 minutes, 34 seconds
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Going Home

This is one of those plays that’ll stick with you, in part because, true to Rogue Machine's reputation, the acting is wonderful, the casting spot on. It’s the decisions that’ll shake you and leave you with profound questions: why are we here? What makes life meaningful? It's one of those plays that's an argument for the theater: that allows us to tackle these dilemmas together as a community. What could be better?
7/21/20154 minutes, 24 seconds
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Why Do We Laugh?

At its core, The False Servant is a Commedia-inspired, biting romantic comedy with a cross-dresser as a catalyst.
7/14/20154 minutes, 19 seconds
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The Veil of Youthful Comedy

A comedy about Jewish heritage and values which, on its surface the question is "what does it mean to be a Jew?" More broadly, it's a legacy play. 
7/7/20154 minutes, 18 seconds
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It's in the Air

Have you ever been trapped by a Midwestern summer, where the stale heat seems to stop time, the limitless sky is only juxtaposed by the prison of your space and the confines of expectation? Where the air stifles you with an electric desperation. It's that air that the Antaeus Theatre Company captures in William Inge's Picnic.
6/30/20154 minutes, 24 seconds
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An Audience of One

For the sixth year, the Hollywood Fringe Festival has taken over Hollywood with over 250 scrappy, boot-strap shows across three weeks -- and perhaps most compelling are the shows that wouldn't exist outside of the Fringe context and take LA's intimate theater to its logical extreme...
6/23/20154 minutes, 26 seconds
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Don't Pause...Go

Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, currently being revived by Pacific Resident Theater, is frightening, funny, profound, and most importantly does honor to Pinter's "muscular" language. If you love Pinter, or just really good drama, don't miss this one.
6/16/20154 minutes, 34 seconds
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Old-School School

The Royal Shakespeare Company has adapted Raoul Dahl's Matilda into a  delightful musical and, now, after stopping in New York to pick up some Tony Awards, it's at the Ahmanson Theatre.
6/9/20154 minutes, 21 seconds
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What Difference Would It Make?

What would a great Los Angeles theater community look like?
6/2/20154 minutes, 28 seconds
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You Don't Exist

Act Two of the actors-union-versus-their-Los-Angeles-members' battle royale.
5/26/20154 minutes, 31 seconds
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A Vaudevillian Prism

It's rare, while enjoying a play, for me to think, "gosh, I wish this was dinner theater!"But from the opening lobby serenade, complete with accordion, checkered table cloth, and wrapped Chianti bottle, Big Shot, the latest from Theatre Movement Bazaar, had me craving a good meatball.
5/19/20154 minutes, 14 seconds
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Brutally Beautiful

Why do we go to the theater? If words like 'the human condition,' 'honesty,' and 'catharsis' pepper your answer - Mr. Bock's brutally beautiful play at the Echo Theater Company is a must see.
5/12/20154 minutes, 19 seconds
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Art vs. Commerce

This is a story that pits local against national and art versus commerce. Nationally, LA's a liability to Actors' Equity because for all this 99-seat theater the union isn't collecting a penny. The union wants to get rid of a liability and standardize business practices.
4/28/20154 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Unexpected Circumstances of Virtuosity

In simplest terms, Anna Deavere Smith's latest piece at the Broad Stage is an exploration of the struggle of Civil Rights in America dating back to Dr. Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." In more complex terms? It's a study in the unexpected circumstances of virtuosity.
4/21/20154 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Next Chapter?

There's a delicious moment in great dramas when the world comes into sharp focus for an instant and where you're not really sure how it's going to turn out. LA's 99-seat theater community had one of those moments last night at the first annual 1st Annual Stage Raw Awards.
4/14/20154 minutes, 31 seconds
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A Lot of Words

Playwright Neil LaBute likes to get under your skin. Love him or hate him, he's going to push your buttons, challenge your assumptions. City Garage theater is tackling his 2011 play The Break of Noon and it's no exception.
4/7/20154 minutes, 22 seconds
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The Monkey on Our Backs

With all the off-stage drama in 99-seat-theater of late, it's been easy to forget the art itself. Trevor written by Nick Jones is the latest 99-seat gem from Circle X. It's as passionate an argument as any for why you should care about LA's small theaters.
3/31/20154 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Tough Questions

Why does small theater in LA matter? Where's the audience rallying to support us? Why should you care? We have to answer those questions not for New York or Chicago or Athens but for Los Angeles. 
3/24/20154 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Greater Good?

There's no question that in America, we undervalue the arts.
3/17/20154 minutes, 34 seconds
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Act One: Who Isn't for a Minimum Wage?

Why would a union fight its own members?
3/10/20154 minutes, 33 seconds
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Prologue to Disaster

The drama in LA theater happening off-stage that's swirling around the stage actors' union and what's called the 99-seat Plan and it's untimely, but seemingly unavoidable, demise. And, if you listen to the majority of the LA theater community, the demise of small theater itself.
3/4/20154 minutes, 31 seconds
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Give In to the Temptation

Anthony Byrnes reviews Four Larks latest "junkyard opera," The Temptation of St. Antony.
2/25/20154 minutes, 35 seconds
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Visual Feasts

Los Angeles theater has to it a bit of feast or famine. Right now there are two shows downtown that are visual feasts with challenging narratives that you shouldn't miss.
2/18/20154 minutes, 35 seconds
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Engaging Too Much

In many ways California Tempest is Cornerstone at their best and most ambitious.
2/11/20154 minutes, 35 seconds
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The Farce of Tyranny

The challenge with "Disconnection" is its dramatic engine is built around story rather than action. The characters are included as a means of getting the details out. Trouble is if you've followed any of the writing about Scientology - and who hasn't in LA - it's going to feel like old news.
2/4/20154 minutes, 33 seconds
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Tis a Gift to Be Simple

In one sense, there isn't much there in the Wooster Group's "Early Shaker Spirituals." But there isn't much there in the same way there isn't much to a Shaker chest of drawers.
1/28/20154 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Safety of the Past

Matthew Lopez's The Whipping Man begins with a historical fact: there were Jews in the South during the Civil War. What would it be like if those Jews owned slaves and those slaves became observant Jews?
1/21/20154 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Politics of Click-bait

Viral, at the Bootleg Theater, is one of those plays that in order to talk about it you have to dismantle some of its dramatic engine - or more simply - spoiler alert.
1/14/20154 minutes, 23 seconds
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Theater for a New Year

If one of your resolutions was to see more good theater in 2015 - and you should - here are six shows to get you off to a good start.
1/7/20154 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Best of 2014

Anthony's favorite LA theater experiences from 2014.
12/31/20144 minutes, 27 seconds
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A Séance with Greatness

If you've still got holes on your holiday gift list or are looking for something to do with the in-laws from out of town, Blithe Spirit at the Ahmanson is the perfect theatrical distraction.
12/24/20144 minutes, 19 seconds
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A Shrinking Theater

Between work, holiday parties, and gift shopping there's really not much time to think about theater, but if you're a lover of good acting, subtle directing, and crafty playwrighting the Goodman Theater has a little early Christmas present for you.
12/17/20144 minutes, 26 seconds
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One Week out of 52

The LA Weekly just announced they are no longer holding the "LA Weekly Awards." Even if you don't care about theater, this is a big deal. It's another canary in the coal mine.
12/10/20143 minutes, 59 seconds
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Holiday Theater for the Whole Family

A quick guide on how to share a little live theater with the whole family while you frantically regain a little sanity.
12/3/20144 minutes, 19 seconds
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A Taper Tragedy

It's hard to make sense of the latest play, a straight forward British sex farce, at the Mark Taper Forum...
11/26/20144 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Asian Carp of LA Theater

What LA theaters and audiences can learn from the rise of the imports and the slow transformation of LA into a 'presenting town.'
11/12/20144 minutes, 33 seconds
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LA's the Thing

Luis Alfaro's latest world premiere Painting in Red, is a loose adaptation of Calderon's The Painter of His Own Dishonor -- full of LA references from Langer's to the latest Little Tokyo noodle shop, from the death of Joan Rivers to the etymology of Villaraigosa's name.
11/5/20144 minutes, 24 seconds
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Re-Imagine This! #Pro99

Anthony Byrnes on the "divisive and distracting" plan to re-imagine LA theater.
10/28/20144 minutes, 22 seconds
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Discord Is Right!

Writing is hard. Now, I wish I could say I learned that from watching Scott Carter's play "The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord" at the Geffen. Truth is I learned writing is hard by enduring it.
10/21/20144 minutes
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Art Takes A Life

What's that old saying? You should pick a doctor who's the same age so that the two of you can grow old together? Jessica Goldberg's world premiere "Better" at the Echo Theater Company, has me thinking that the same is true about playwrights.
10/14/20144 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Magic of Harmony

As you could guess from the title, "Choir Boy", Tarell Alvin McCraney's new play at the Geffen Playhouse, is all about harmony . . . and discord.
10/7/20144 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Rewards of Time

From director Matt Almos and co-director Ken Roht, whose signature joyful style is intact but somehow clearer; to the always grounded Hugo Armstrong who plays Broadus and strings together 20 years of work in a single night; to the uniformly stunning cast: this is LA's intimate theater at its complicated best.
9/30/20144 minutes, 44 seconds
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Is It a Recipe or a Formula?

Have you ever been seduced by a recipe? That's what happened to me with the inventive, if dissappointing, new production of Shakespeare's The Tempest at South Coast Rep.
9/16/20144 minutes, 32 seconds
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Upsetting the Hierarchy

The Persians is not an easy play and SITI is a complicated company, but if you're up for a work that challenges an audience rather than being dependent on it - it's a remarkable journey.
9/9/20144 minutes, 28 seconds
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Theatre’s Economic Reality

In light of Labor Day and Mayor Garcetti's floating a higher minimum wage, now's a great time to focus on some of the backstage 'labor' drama of LA theater’s 99-seat plan.
9/2/20144 minutes, 23 seconds
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Six Shows Not To Miss: Fall Theater Preview

While you're busy planning the last beach hurrah - keep the calendar out long enough to pencil in these 6 shows you're not going to want to miss.
8/26/20144 minutes, 25 seconds
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The Style is All

Like most recent Actors' Gang shows, "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" comes down to a question of style. How you feel about the show, whether you find it creative and enchanting, or. . . otherwise depends on whether you buy into the Gang's style.
8/19/20144 minutes, 26 seconds
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Let Neil LaBute Push Your Buttons

In "Reasons to Be Pretty", the moral is surprisingly simple and noble. It's worth letting Neil LaBute push your buttons for two hours to get it.
8/12/20144 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Emperor Is Wearing a Speedo

If amidst our summer heat, you're looking for a chance to watch someone else sweat it out for a while and you're willing to go on some philosophical tangents - there's some powerful acting happening at the bottom of a pool at the Rogue Machine Theater.
8/5/20144 minutes, 22 seconds
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The Mythic Poetry of the Distant Present

While you might have a tough time traversing the play's worlds, the actors in "The Brothers Size" embody the characters so completely that you are with them every step of the way.
7/29/20144 minutes, 25 seconds
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Tim Wright: Does Producing Less Lead To More?

This week a conversation with Tim Wright, Artistic Director of Circle X, half of the co-production with Boston Court of "Stupid Fucking Bird" playing through August 10th in Pasadena.
7/22/20144 minutes, 56 seconds
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Great F**king Show!

Okay, stop what you're doing . . . and go get tickets for the production of "Stupid Fucking Bird" at the Theatre at Boston Court.
7/15/20144 minutes, 27 seconds
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#Tonycanyouhearme

This week Anthony wants to talk about the Tony Awards.
7/8/20144 minutes, 13 seconds
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A Cinderella Story - Sort Of

Anthony really wants to celebrate Stoneface: The Rise and Fall of Buster Keaton, but while it captures the details of Keaton's life, it does little to illuminate his soul.
6/24/20144 minutes, 26 seconds
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Density? Yes. Quality? Uh…

Grab a couple of friends, pick a couple of Fringe shows within walking distance of a good bar and roll the dice on a night of quirky theater.
6/17/20144 minutes, 30 seconds
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Grappling with Narrative

Mickey Birnbaum’s Backyard wrestles with the sagas of good and evil we all tell -- in bouts that are simultaneously sexual, primal, bloody, and darkly, darkly funny.
6/10/20144 minutes, 35 seconds
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The Faustian Bargain of Audience

Playwright Steven Drukman's Death of the Author combines postmodern literary theory, the power dynamics of the classroom and an ethics seminar on intention.
6/3/20144 minutes, 29 seconds
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Hitting the Center

There's Zankou Chicken falling from the ceiling, there's sex after a car crash, there's Cafe Tropical, continual comparisons to New York, liposuction...
5/27/20144 minutes, 31 seconds
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It Feels like a Big Play

Musings on what Los Angeles theater is - and can be. Want to know more? Subscribe to Anthony's weekly Theater newsletter.
5/20/20144 minutes, 25 seconds
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O for a Muse of Venice

The Pacific Resident Theatre takes on Shakespeare's "Henry V," in a production that's beautifully and quirkily cast.
5/13/20144 minutes, 27 seconds
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Formally Excavating the Past

Two stages in downtown LA couldn't be more different in scale and yet are oddly both resurrecting the past and relying on the power of form to tell the hidden stories.
5/6/20144 minutes, 16 seconds
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Ever Present Technique

Mikhail Baryshnikov returns to the Broad Stage, this time in a collaboration with New York's Big Dance Theater, adapting two Chekhov short stories of missed love.
4/29/20144 minutes, 29 seconds
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Dreaming of a Sun King

City Garage's ambitious new world premiere examines state corruption, religious hypocrisy, gratuitous nudity and, for good measure, the cowardice of the state.
4/22/20144 minutes, 30 seconds
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A Dance of Specificity and Spontaneity

"The Suit" at UCLA is a tale of the tragedy of humiliation.
4/15/20144 minutes, 23 seconds
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A Dream of Imagination

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Broad Stage makes sense of Shakespeare's language and creates an enchanted world where love is both magical and terrifying.
4/8/20144 minutes, 37 seconds
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An Australian Prologue

Unfortunately, Four Larks' junkyard opera "Orpheus" only plays this week. So quickly buy a ticket and discover a hidden jewel on the edge of downtown LA.
4/1/20144 minutes, 44 seconds
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Don't Circle the Wagons!

Is LA theater suffering from a lack of critical response, or is it no longer worthy of broad coverage because it's no longer giving voice to Los Angeles?
3/25/20144 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Cult of Ensemble

Poor Dog Group, whose "Five Small Fires" is currently up at the Bootleg Theatre, have been something like that rare, blooming flower--often talked about but seldom seen.
3/11/20144 minutes, 29 seconds
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Half Baked and a World of White

A look at the Wooster Group's "Cry Trojans! (Troilus and Cressida" at the RedCat, and "White" at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.
3/5/20144 minutes, 42 seconds
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Relentless Commitment

Murray Mednick turns his sights on the 15th century French poet Francois Villon, a misshapen, crooked man who carries a dagger and cudgel - and is not afraid to use them.
2/26/20144 minutes, 34 seconds
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Vanya et alia

What's the balance between comedy and tragedy? That's always the question when you're tackling Chekhov.
2/19/20144 minutes, 29 seconds
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What You Leave Out

"Se Llama Cristina," the Theatre at Boston Court's latest production is a perfect example of the power of subtraction and abstraction.
2/5/20144 minutes, 36 seconds
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For Christ's Sake

The Evidence Room latest production at the Odyssey Theatre features three different communities who all put up their own production of a passion play.
1/29/20144 minutes, 29 seconds
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I Hope It's the Last Time

Denis O'Hare not only resurrects Homer's epic tale of war and rage, but reminds us how undeniably powerful a good story can be. 
1/22/20144 minutes, 23 seconds
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It Comes Down to the Comma

Barry McGovern takes three of Samuel Beckett's novels and boils them down into the one-man show, “I'll Go On,” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.
1/15/20144 minutes, 32 seconds
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What Does It Mean to Be Local?

The LA Weekly is cutting its theater section by roughly 70 percent, perhaps more importantly the size and frequency of critic Steven Leigh Morris' feature articles.
1/8/20144 minutes, 26 seconds
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Theater for a New Year

Anthony Byrnes looks at several productions on the 2014 horizon, everything from one-man plays to passion plays and classic theatre.
1/1/20144 minutes, 17 seconds
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The Year's Best

While we've all got presents on our minds, here are the top 10 gifts LA got from theater this year.
12/25/20134 minutes, 20 seconds
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Theater in Beverly Hills?

Will the inaugural play at Beverly Hills' new theater venue give us a hint about the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts' artistic mission?
12/18/20134 minutes, 21 seconds
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Peter Pan Doesn't Necessarily Have to Fly

In this grownup's prequel, Peter Pan doesn't necessarily have to fly in order to soar.
12/11/20134 minutes, 14 seconds
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Holiday Theater - Everywhere!

LA theaters are filled with festive holiday fare. So in the spirit of holidays both past and present, here's a quick guide to your perfect holiday theater tradition.
12/4/20134 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Magic of Less

"Play Dead," at the Geffen, is a concoction of Teller, of Penn and Teller fame, and Todd Robbins, is a cross between a magic show, a séance, and an old school haunted house.
11/27/20134 minutes, 29 seconds
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A Decade of Work

RedCat, the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater, is beginning to celebrate its 10-year anniversary and it offers a moment for reflection, a chance to look back on their decade of work.
11/20/20134 minutes, 33 seconds
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Back to Class

Furious Theater Company transforms the intimate, upstairs theater at the Pasadena Playhouse into a classroom for their production of "Gidion's Knot."
11/13/20134 minutes, 33 seconds
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Oops

The Stella Adler Lab Theater takes on one of Shakespeare's 'problem' plays, Titus Andronicus.
11/6/20134 minutes, 19 seconds
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The Culture of Resonance

The plot of "Moskva," at City Garage, ranges from Satan's ball and the promise of becoming a naked queen of the night to a dialogue between Jesus and Pontius Pilate.
10/29/20134 minutes, 27 seconds
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Our Invisible City

Director Yuval Sharon sets the new opera "Invisible Cities" within Los Angeles' Union Station, which is both the work's greatest success and most profound challenge.
10/22/20134 minutes, 28 seconds
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Gone

Time is a double edged sword in the theater.
10/15/20134 minutes, 29 seconds
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Unity

It's a poetic irony that a play about invasive rules might benefit from some old fashioned rules of its own.
10/8/20134 minutes, 28 seconds
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Connecting the Dots

What's the community doing to develop and sustain its audience? What difference does a theater festival make?  Or even more importantly, if it succeeded what's next?
10/1/20134 minutes, 8 seconds
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A Theater on a Roll

This darkly comic, dysfunctional family drama revolves around 3 generations of women struggling to break free of "degenerate bad decision blood" that runs in the family.
9/17/20134 minutes, 29 seconds
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It's All about Scale

How do you engage the Getty Villa's architecture and scale without falling prey to it? A look at CalArts Center for New Performance's production of “Prometheus Bound.”
9/10/20134 minutes, 28 seconds
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Fall Theater Preview

Anthony Byrnes previews theatre offerings to look forward to from the Getty Villa, Boston Court Theatre, A Noise Within and Radar L.A.
9/3/20134 minutes, 34 seconds
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A Feminist Rorschach Test

A feminist drama -- though not in the stereotypical sense -- but that all too rare species in the American Theater: a play driven by a cast of women written by a woman.
8/27/20134 minutes, 28 seconds
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Zombie Soap Opera

What would happen if Eve got a second bite of the apple?
8/13/20134 minutes, 36 seconds
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Large Casts: The Redemption of Small Theater

"The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" is built around a simple question:  if God is all forgiving, why is Judas condemned to Hell?
8/6/20134 minutes, 27 seconds
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Take Me Back!

'A Parallelogram,' Bruce Norris' new play at the Taper, is, at least conceptually, a play about time travel.
7/30/20134 minutes, 25 seconds
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The Weight of History

Based on a historical event, playwright Kemp Powers imagines what Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown might have chatted about behind closed doors.
7/23/20134 minutes, 31 seconds
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Cold Hard Cash

Nancy Keystone's Critical Mass Performance Group take on Euripedes. It's up at the Theatre @ Boston Court, thanks to the Getty, a funder with a vision.
7/16/20134 minutes, 29 seconds
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Who's Story Is It?

In a spare rehearsal room, six actors, three black, three white are trying to create a show, or presentation, about an African genocide from the last century.
7/2/20134 minutes, 33 seconds
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Forging Meaning

City Garage's "Opheliamachine" explores the themes of feminity, power, sex, rage, love, and madness through a faceted portrayal of Ophelia.
6/25/20134 minutes, 23 seconds
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Space Meet Time

Contemporary architecture fills the galleries at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary. If you're craving a survey of theater, the Hollywood Fringe Festival runs June.
6/18/20134 minutes, 28 seconds
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Where's the Revolution?

The genius of Neva, written and directed by Chilean Guillermo Calderón, is it captures not only Chekhov's gift for theater but also what's happening outside the theater.
6/11/20134 minutes, 24 seconds
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So Much Has Changed?

The mysterious death of an American soldier in Iraq lays the groundwork for Christopher Shinn's intimate, character-driven piece at Rogue Machine Theatre.
5/28/20134 minutes, 26 seconds
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An American Classic

"Joe Turner's Come and Gone" at the Taper not only does honor to Mr. Wilson's words and legacy, but gives us a hint at how his plays are going to age and grow.
5/21/20134 minutes, 24 seconds
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Breaking Boundaries or Thank God for Repressive Gender Roles

If you're a fan of the formally daring and witty, you need to see Theatre Movement Bazaar's riff on Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
5/14/20134 minutes, 23 seconds
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Sleeping with the Help

Neil LaBute's adaptation of August Strindberg "Miss Julie" is going to be a tough ticket to get in the Geffen's small space. So, like they say on TV, 'act now.'
5/7/20134 minutes, 33 seconds
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Trailer Park Ulysses

There's something about "Annapurna," Sharr White's play starring Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman at the Odyssey Theater, that's satisfying like comfort food.
4/30/20134 minutes, 31 seconds
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Why?

Two brothers. Foreign born. They are angry. Maybe at the government. Maybe not. Sounds disturbingly like Boston, right?
4/23/20134 minutes, 15 seconds
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Trust the Actor

Actor Brian Finney's performance in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness at the Actors' Gang shouldn't be missed.
4/16/20134 minutes, 32 seconds
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Theater Journalism: Size Matters

In theater/journalism, size matters!
4/9/20134 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Value of Consequences

"The Nether," Los Angeles playwright Jennifer Haley's world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theater, is seductive. It's a play about complicated ideas.
3/26/20134 minutes, 15 seconds
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Balancing Shaw

The Antaeus Company makes a valiant effort with their production of "Mrs. Warren's Profession" revealing both the charms and challenges of Shavian style.
3/19/20134 minutes, 31 seconds
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Defined by Disability?

"Tribes" is a complicated play about language, meaning, listening and deafness whose tragedy is one of unrealized promise, of not taking the next step in the conversation.
3/12/20134 minutes, 30 seconds
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Horsing Around

Calling Cavalia's "Odysseo" a horse circus doesn't quite do it justice. Think Cirque du Soleil meets equestrian event.
3/6/20134 minutes, 29 seconds
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And Some Things Change...

While death is the catalyst for the play, at its heart "Walking a Tightrope" is sweet tale of a grandfather trying his best and a little girl growing up.
2/27/20134 minutes, 32 seconds
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Showcasing the Dark Side

Playwright Gary Lennon’s new play, "A Family Thing," at the Echo Theater Company, features people showcasing the dark side of themselves, a sort of wish fulfillment...
2/20/20134 minutes, 25 seconds
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The Black Art of Dramaturgy

It's easy to see what attracted Boston Court Theater to playwright David Wiener's play, "Cassiopeia."
2/13/20134 minutes, 27 seconds
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Remembering John

The company that created "Ganesh versus the Third Reich" is, in their own words, "a company driven by an ensemble of…actors perceived to have intellectual disabilities."
1/30/20134 minutes, 17 seconds
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A Company's Growing Pains

Anthony Byrnes reviews Theatre Movement Bazaar's latest piece, "Track 3," which tackles Chekhov’s "Three Sisters."
1/23/20134 minutes, 28 seconds
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Damn Ephemerality!

Now typically when I talk about the ephemeral quality of theater, it’s something I’m celebrating.  It’s part of what makes theater so magical and essential.  Theater can’t be repackaged in a ‘best of’ box set or re-released in 3d.  You need to be there in the room or . . . well . . . you missed it. And that’s the flip side to that magic.
1/16/20134 minutes, 31 seconds
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Financial Times

It’s been a tough couple of years, a sort of family recession for Nora.  Looking back, it all started when her husband left his job.  He couldn’t find another.  Really there was nothing out there.  Then he got sick, really sick.  There were some major medical bills to be paid.  Nora didn’t know what to do.  She had to find a way to get the money. She had to save her husband.  But how?
1/9/20134 minutes, 30 seconds
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Theater for a New Year

1/2/20134 minutes, 5 seconds
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Best of 2012

Anthony reflects on ten plays that made LA's life richer in 2012.
12/26/20124 minutes, 20 seconds
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Six Voices

Take a break from the holiday chaos and treat yourself to the Fiasco Theater Company's production of Shakespeare's "Cymbaline" at the Broad Stage.
12/19/20124 minutes, 21 seconds
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Listen

Nothing brings out family dysfunction quite like the holidays, does it? That's where Jon Robbin Baitz's play, "Other Desert Cities," at the Mark Taper Forum begins.
12/12/20124 minutes, 20 seconds
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We, The Audience

Remember the last time you fell in love with a really good book?
12/5/20124 minutes, 18 seconds
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A Commercial Formula

Take the best tunes from a director who turns out films with great soundtracks, cast talented singers with great pipes and you've got Rockwell's "For the Record."
11/28/20124 minutes, 27 seconds
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Rapture Anyone?

A quirky, beautifully acted dark comedy set in the break room of a craft supply store - the Hobby Lobby. The twist is a new employee who wants the Rapture to happen now.
11/21/20124 minutes, 17 seconds
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A Study in Manipulation

When's the last time you saw a musical about torture? The world premiere of "Bad Apples" is a disturbing but powerful look at the Abu Ghraib scandal.
11/14/20124 minutes, 27 seconds
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Tentacle Erotica?

Playwright Stephen Yockey take’s a classic fairytale, gives it a modern spin and adds a helping of lust...
10/30/20124 minutes, 19 seconds
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Oh Krapp!

Anthony Byrnes on the bittersweet joys of memory and John Hurt's performance in Samuel Beckett masterpiece, "Krapp's Last Tape," at the Kirk Douglas Theater.
10/16/20124 minutes, 15 seconds
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A World Untethered

Anthony Byrnes calls the Studium Teatralne's American premiere of "The King of Hearts Is Off Again" at the Odyssey Theatre a rare moment in theater.
10/9/20124 minutes, 25 seconds
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The Magic of a Little Fishing Line

The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice becomes the backbone for Sarah Ruhl's 'Eurydice,' a story of love and about the inevitable act of letting go of the things we love.
10/2/20124 minutes, 31 seconds
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To Pillage

Anthony Byrnes on Chuck Mee's ethos, his [re]making project, and the wonderful 'pillaging' in his "Orestes 3.0:Inferno," a world premiere at City Garage.
9/25/20124 minutes, 26 seconds
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Five Golden Plates

Anthony Byrnes on The Book of Mormon and the secrets to making a musical in the 21st century.
9/18/20124 minutes, 28 seconds
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Quantity or Quality?

Chalk Repertory Theatre pairs up with the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits and does site-specific 10-minute plays in the museum, at night, for three weekends.
9/11/20124 minutes, 21 seconds
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Seven Hours

Anthony Byrnes says LA's upcoming theater season offers a rich menu of productions, including a seven hour production of...
9/4/20124 minutes, 32 seconds
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Amateur Virtuosity

Anthony Byrnes on a hipster magic show at the Kirk Douglas Theater that answers the age old question, what do you get when you mix grape Kool-Aid with the Dalai Lama.
8/28/20124 minutes, 25 seconds
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A painter's pas de deux

At the heart of the play “Red”, two men stand before a massive canvas. It’s center stage in Mark Rothko’s cavernous studio. The blank expanse towers before the artist and his young assistant. As the young man pours thick red paint into two galvanized buckets, Rothko, played by Alfred Molina, drops the needle on TLU.
8/14/20124 minutes, 26 seconds
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Rodney King: The First Reality TV Star

Whether we like it or not, Rodney King looms as a mythic and complicated figure in Los Angeles history. In the words of Roger Guenveur Smith, 'the first reality TV star.'
8/7/20124 minutes, 21 seconds
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99% Farce, 1% Satire

What’s the difference between farce and satire?
7/31/20124 minutes, 31 seconds
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A Crown? Or a Tiara?

If you're looking for a traditional MacBeth look elsewhere. If you want a 50-minute darkly sexual, inappropriately funny, thrill ride, don't miss this one.
7/24/20124 minutes, 30 seconds
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An Evil Metaphor

Anthony Byrnes on the theater version of "The Exorcist," currently up at the Geffen Playhouse.
7/17/20124 minutes, 38 seconds
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Two Languages at War

Anthony Byrnes on a simple 'boy and his horse' story and the theatrical magic created by the National Theatre of Great Britain and the Handspring Puppet Company.
7/3/20124 minutes, 29 seconds
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Does LA Need a Fringe?

Anthony Byrnes poses the question, "Does LA really need a fringe festival in the first place?"
6/26/20124 minutes, 18 seconds
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Behind an Actor's Eyes

Playwright Vanessa Claire Stewart’s new play at Sacred Fools is deeply indebted to silent films in ways that make it both as rich and as frustrating as its source.
6/19/20124 minutes, 23 seconds
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I Miss August

Anthony Byrnes remembers the economy, elegance and scope of playwright August Wilson, as he reviews SCR's revival of "Jitney," currently up at the Pasadena Playhouse.
6/12/20124 minutes, 24 seconds
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Irising Down on the Details

Anthony Byrnes reviews 'Los Otros,' which plays at the Mark Taper Forum downtown through July 1.
6/5/20124 minutes, 25 seconds
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The Evidence Room Is Back

Anthony Byrnes on the Evidence Room's quirky production of Ivanov at the Odyssey Theater.
5/29/20124 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Alchemy of Experience

Anthony Byrnes on Murray Mednick's play within a play, which embodies the wonderful alchemy possible when a lifetime of craft is mixed with a still youthful experimentation with form.
5/22/20124 minutes, 34 seconds
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A Greek Betrayal

Anthony Byrnes on the production of Boston Court Theatre's production of Michael Elyanow's Medea, as told through the eyes of children...
5/15/20124 minutes, 20 seconds
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A Process with Integrity

The Cornerstone Theater's latest production is produced in partnership with Father Greg Boyle and the Home Girl Cafe, which trains former gang members to run a restaurant.
5/8/20124 minutes, 34 seconds
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A Civic Voice for the Theater

Anthony Byrnes recalls Anna Deveare Smith's one-woman show "Twilight: Los Angeles 1992" and the role of theater in the civic dialogue of the city.
4/24/20124 minutes, 13 seconds
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A Master Class in Stagecraft and Movement

Anthony Byrnes on Mikhail Baryshnikov in a chronicle of the painful and awkward moments that precede love.
4/17/20124 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Internet of the Soul

Anthony Byrnes on the history of the Internet, privacy in the Age of Google, and the mystical thinking of philosopher Martin Buber in Matt McCray's "Eternal Thou."
4/10/20124 minutes, 11 seconds
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En Attendant Urgence

How do you make the familiar come to life as if for the first time? Anthony Byrnes on the blessing and the curse of Samuel Beckett's classic "Waiting for Godot."
3/27/20124 minutes, 28 seconds
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Worst Jesus Movie in the History of Cinema

Anthony Byrnes on Mike Schlitt's Jesus Ride, which he says plays "like a great dinner party story that just happens to have video all cued up."
3/20/20124 minutes, 22 seconds
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The Theatrical Languages of LA?

Wouldn't it be exciting if LA theater reflected that diversity and spoke the same languages as its people?
3/13/20124 minutes, 31 seconds
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An Exciting Failure

The Theater Movement Bazaar and the evolution of two artists who have committed to making ensemble theater in Los Angeles...
2/29/20124 minutes, 19 seconds
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The Stories We Spin

We go on a journey through time with El pasado es un animal grotesco ("The past is a grotesque animal"), which is up at REDCAT for four performances this weekend.
2/22/20124 minutes, 22 seconds
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Prison Poetry

Anthony Byrnes on the LATC production of Miguel Piñero's Short Eyes, his love of language and unapologetic view of life behind bars.
2/15/20124 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Path Forward

Anthony Byrnes weighs in on two landmark plays, inspired by the same Chicago home, but written 50 years apart.
2/8/20124 minutes, 28 seconds
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Breakfast in America

"It's all about the eggs," says Anthony Byrnes, about A Raisin in the Sun, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, and Our Town, at the Broad Stage. 
1/25/20124 minutes, 16 seconds
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In Conversation with Helen Hunt and David Cromer

Anthony Byrnes talks with actress Helen Hunt and David Cromer about their production of Our Town, now at the Broad Stage.
1/18/201252 minutes, 59 seconds
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In the Company of the Male Gaze

Anthony Byrnes muses on Neil LaBute's Filthy Talk for Troubled Times.
1/11/20124 minutes, 16 seconds
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Theater for a New Year

Anthony Byrnes in anticipation of the year's upcoming shows...
1/4/20124 minutes, 16 seconds
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Best of 2011

KCRW theatre critic Anthony Byrnes on this year's ten outstanding productions in LA theatre.
12/28/20114 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Soul of Fela!

When you think of the music and life of Fela Kuti, a broadway musical isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.
12/21/20114 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Two Sides of Consistency

The Troubadour Theater Company works its unique brand of magic on 'A Christmas Story.'
12/14/20114 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Night Watcher

Anthony Byrnes reviews The Night Watcher, which is up at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City through December 18.
12/7/20114 minutes, 24 seconds
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A Hate Crime and a Kiss

What's the responsibility of a plot point? That's the question Anthony Byrnes asks after seeing Diana Son's Stop Kiss at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood.  
11/23/20114 minutes, 26 seconds
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LA Theater: A Study in White?

Anthony Byrnes on language, diversity and The Romance of Magno Rubio at [Inside] the Ford.
11/16/20114 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Responsibility of Space

After 20 years, A Noise Within has already built something astounding: a home. Can they answer the tough questions the space asks about their art?
11/9/20114 minutes, 37 seconds
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A Play Called Hope

On its surface Hope: Part II of a Mexican Trilogy, by Evelina Fernandez, is a play about a Mexican-American nuclear family in the 1960's...
11/1/20114 minutes, 20 seconds
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Adult Culpability and Childhood Innocence

Playwright Gregory Moss' House of Gold begins with a challenge. The setting: a suburban Colorado kitchen. A husband sits at the breakfast table while his wife...  
10/25/20114 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Poetry of Fluid Time

Tucked into the third floor of the Alexandria Hotel in downtown LA is the Company of Angels tiny, black box theater. There's something wonderfully disorienting about the...
10/18/20114 minutes, 28 seconds
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Cowboys and Dinosaurs

The Dinosaur Within, by playwright John Walch at Boston Court in Pasadena, is built around paleontology and coincidence. Let's start with the Paleontology. What is it?
10/11/20114 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Responsibility of Image

10/4/20114 minutes, 25 seconds
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Where Are the Hollywood Clowns?

Let's start with what works in Cirque du Soleil's $100 million spectacle Iris at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood...
9/27/20114 minutes, 31 seconds
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Morally Bankrupt and Vacuous...but Funny

It's late.  We're a couple of bottles of rose into a dinner at Ella and Peter's beautiful woodsy place outside of the city - no, not Los Angeles, New York...
9/20/20114 minutes, 26 seconds
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The SITI Company's Questions

Trojan Women, written by Euripedes 2,400 years ago, is one of the most brutal, unrelenting anti-war plays ever created. The play takes place among the wreckage of Troy...
9/13/20114 minutes, 24 seconds
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Ideas in Need of Passion

What is love?  Really? Is it a rush of the heartbeat? Is it the dedication to a child? These are the questions in Mr. Goodspeed's AP Biology class in...
8/30/20114 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Magic of Intimate Theater

There's an experience you can only have in an intimate theater...There's an energy that's possible that is absolutely exhilarating...and at times horribly uncomfortable...
8/23/20114 minutes, 30 seconds
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A Dark Night of the Soul

Sarah Kane's play 4.48 Psychosis can be read as the internal monologue of a woman as she descends into psychosis and plans her suicide...
8/9/20114 minutes, 25 seconds
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An All Too Pretty Labyrinth

The center of the Minotaur's mythical labyrinth is not necessarily a place you want to find yourself. But I did recently - and it was stunning...
8/2/20114 minutes, 31 seconds
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Healthcare and Humanity

Longtime Angelenos will remember Anna Deavere Smith's brilliant and haunting play called Twilight: Los Angeles about the aftermath of the Rodney King trial. She's back...
7/26/20114 minutes, 29 seconds
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An All Too Clever Hamlet

Somewhere scrawled on a blackboard in a Shakespeare seminar is that perennial essay question "chart Hamlet's journey through his four soliloquies." Like "to be or not to be..."
7/19/20114 minutes, 27 seconds
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Peeling Peer's Onion

 "You are about to see the rarely performed 1867 masterpiece Peer Gynt, a disembodied voice says, "but instead of the epic 50-character, five-act, five-hour Ibsen original…"
7/12/20114 minutes, 30 seconds
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A real theatre community?

The clearest lesson of the last two weeks in LA theatre is that festivals rock! Or to try to be a little more erudite, theatre needs community and community needs context...
6/28/20114 minutes, 29 seconds
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Was It All Make Believe?

So a couple of weeks ago, I told you that this is a critical moment for LA theater...
6/21/20114 minutes, 19 seconds
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A step into the past...and maybe the future

Roughly a decade ago, the evidEnce Room was one of the centers of LA theater....churning out thrilling show after show, all in fantastic warehouse spaces...
6/14/20114 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Magic of Polaroid

Remember the magic of Polaroid cameras? Unlike the camera on your iPhone, there was that satisfying, mechanical ker-chunk as the photo spit itself out like a tongue...
6/7/20114 minutes, 20 seconds
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A Desire for Honesty

Kate Fodor's play 100 Saints You Should Know is all about longing -- for faith, intimacy, a real connection with your child, and perhaps most poignantly -- for honesty...
5/31/20114 minutes, 26 seconds
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Spotlight on LA

For a couple of weeks in June, and perhaps for the first time ever, LA will be the center of the American Theater! No really! You should make plans, buy tickets, get a sitter...
5/24/20114 minutes, 24 seconds
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Fleck's Madness

Depending on your politics and artistic tastes, John Fleck is either famous or infamous as being one of what was called "The NEA Four..."
5/17/20114 minutes, 17 seconds
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Sorry, Charlie

So you work at some high-powered consulting firm...burning the candle at both ends…You're in a bit of trouble, took advantage of a situation and now it's coming back to haunt you.
5/10/20114 minutes, 21 seconds
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Stage Stars

God of Carnage is the story of two couples who come together after their children have gotten into a little playground rumpus.
4/26/20114 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Merchant of Venice Goes to Wall Street

It's been part of the drill for centuries for directors to stage Shakespeare in exotic locales and different time periods. As You Like It in the Civil War, A Midsummer in a disco, Orson Welles' MacBeth in Harlem. In a way, Shakespeare himself got the ball rolling by setting his plays in foreign lands...
4/19/20114 minutes, 25 seconds
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The Joys of Simulated Nudity

You sit down to see Jane Anderson's new play The Escort. The lights go down, a luscious red curtain opens and there is a beautiful, buxom naked woman center stage...
4/12/20114 minutes, 29 seconds
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History Plays

Theater is so damn...ephemeral...We can still experience a Michelangelo sculpture, still read James Joyce, but an ancient Greek tragedy performed by ancient Greeks...
4/5/20114 minutes, 21 seconds
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Head in the Oven

On February 11, 1963, Sylvia Plath turned her gas oven on and opened the door. She carefully placed wet rags under the door to the kitchen so the fumes wouldn't seep into the next room where her one year old son and two-year-old daughter were sleeping. Then she placed her head in the oven and waited to die. What was going through her mind at that moment?
3/29/20114 minutes, 31 seconds
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Natural History Theater

There's a lot of Tennessee Williams in Los Angeles right now.  The great Southern playwright would be 100 this week and as a posthumous birthday celebration just about every theater in town is trotting out a production...
3/22/20114 minutes, 19 seconds
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Laughter, Catharsis and a Side of Gore

So the Greeks, well Aristotle really, argued that one of the reasons to go to the theater was to experience catharsis, literally, a kind of emotional purging or cleansing. The idea was that you'd go to the theater and get so wrapped up in the characters lives, so involved in the emotions, the actions, the "pitiable and fearful incidents" that you'd get all worked up, just like the characters, and then at the climactic moment you'd have a little emotional orgasm of sorts that would release you of the fear or pity in your life. And you'd leave the theater refreshed and ready for another day...
3/15/20114 minutes, 18 seconds
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Quixote's Misfortune Is Not His Imagination

During Argentina's "dirty war" in the 1970's, the state imprisoned dissidents and other undesirables, including many artists. For some, their treatment was extreme. They were kept in solitary confinement. Their only chance to interact with other human beings was an hour each Sunday. The prisoners were allowed to sit four to a table. As long as they sat and kept their hands on the table, they were allowed to talk; if they stood up, they could be shot. With this treatment the regime hoped to break their spirits...but amazingly, on their Sunday meetings, they made theatre...
3/2/20114 minutes, 11 seconds
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Camino Real

It’s not politically correct for a theater person to say that they hate Tennessee Williams. Well “hate” might be a little strong, but l certainly wasn’t the first person in line to sit through another gloriously languorous production of “The Glass Menagerie.”
2/23/20114 minutes, 29 seconds
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33 Variations

The heart of Moises Kaufman’s new play “33 Variations” comes about 2/3 of the way through. The audience finds themselves alone with Beethoven and his music. To the side of the stage is a pianist beginning to play Beethoven’s Variation #32 on a grand piano.
2/16/20114 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Pleasure of Consequences

Take a beautiful, sexually liberated female archetype. Mix in some macho dialogue filled with wit and innuendo. Add a dash of gratuitous nudity and play it with gusto...but mostly for laughs. Recipe for a great evening of theater? You'd think....
2/9/20114 minutes, 28 seconds
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Oh Baby, I'm a Cyclops

Today we start with a quick refresher on obscure classical Greek theater...the Satyr Play. Now, Satyrs are the those bawdy half man/half beast follower's of Dionysus -- god of wine and all things good -- like theater...
1/26/20114 minutes, 25 seconds
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Drama of the Everyday

Sometimes the best theater happens outside the theater. Like in the line at the grocery store. That little snippet of a conversation that you overhear during checkout. Or maybe in your yoga class:  that budding romance between the two over in the corner.  It's those moments where you suddenly get a peak into a stranger's life, where a little detail reveals an entire world...
1/19/20114 minutes, 26 seconds
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Greed Isn't What It Used to Be

So you get the email. You know, that email. Maybe it's from someone in Nigeria with a pile of money or maybe you've won the Irish Sweepstakes. You go to hit delete but then . . . hey, what if it's true? Who couldn't use a pile of free money? That's the setup for Karl Gadjusek's dark-comedy, Greedy...
1/12/20114 minutes, 11 seconds
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One Final Monologue

With the holidays and the year end upon us, it's that time again when we look back out our lives and creative some kind narrative; was it a good year? A bad year? A year of "personal growth?" For monologist Spalding Gray, this personal storytelling wasn't a once a year thing; he made a career out of it...
12/22/20104 minutes, 30 seconds
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A Holiday Wedding

They say that at the end of Shakespeare's plays, everyone's either dead or married. Much Ado about Nothing falls into the wedding category. And you can experience all the nuptial bliss at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City in a new production by the Los Angeles Shakespeare Center...
12/15/20104 minutes, 26 seconds
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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Recently Closeted Gay Man

In 1977, after a decade of drowning his demons, Tennessee Williams finished an autobiographical play he'd started 40 years before. On the page, the play reads a bi