GIRLPLAY at theSpace on North Bridge, Venue 36, is a perfect mix of spoken word, performance, and powerful storytelling.
Lucy is average and awkward, but what she lacks in sexual experience she makes up for it in curiosity; wearing her heart on her sleeve and telling it like it is, unpacking the journey of her sexual and emotional development with fierce, unflinching honesty.
The production is effective in its simplicity, the staging full of energy, and the three actors,
Sarah Richardson (also the playwright), Laura Brady, and Martha Dunlea move around the stage sharing the story of Lucy’s life and delivering a superbly-crafted performance at the same time. There are moments of great tenderness as well as a lot of laughter. The piece is tightly choreographed and the actors never miss a beat.
With so many shows to see during the fringe’s 75th year, this one is an excellent choice.
What a great way to celebrate theatre and come back from the pandemic at the same time by bringing a show to the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
I’m so proud of the play, cast, and crew of Unseen Shepard, written by Nic D’Avirro and Matt Braaten. The piece imagines Sam Shepard’s last night alive, a fever dream in which Shepard is visited by various characters from his plays, all of them demanding a rewrite and they are not going to leave without a fight!
Unseen Shepard asks important questions about dramaturgy and the way male playwrights write female characters.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has invited us to premiere Unseen Shepard on the opening night of the 2022 Festival! The show runs Aug. 5-20 in The Space on the Mile (Space 3), Venue #39. Click HERE for tickets!
Los Angeles is currently under Corona virus lockdown like much of the world. Check out Raze The Space's International Quarantine Series -- video responses to life in these strange times: https://www.razethespace.com/now-playing.html
The View From Here
Besides the two theatre books I published in 2018, the literary and art journal HCE Review in Dublin published my poem The View From Here. You can read it on the HCE Review website and while you stop by please check out the rest of the journal, edited by students of the MA and MFA Creative Writing programs at University College Dublin. Click here to visit the site. The cover art is titled “Dances of Nature” by Keith Moul.
Where Did The Year Go?
I haven't posted on this blog since last October! Where did the year go? I'll endeavor to post more than an paltry annual update from now on but in my defense, this year has been busier than usual so lots to update you with.
Back in May my third book for Smith and Kraus came out. This came a week after I'd finished my second year as Associate Producer at Directors Lab West, a hugely rewarding yet time-demanding effort that brings 50 theatre directors and choreographers together for a week-long intensive series of workshops and performances.
We had a great book launch at Samuel French, which has hosted every one of my books so far. Here's me plugging the book ahead of the June launch:
I was by Brainard Carey at Yale Radio back in August and in case you missed it here it is again:
By mid-summer, I was up to my neck in scripts. As part of Raze The Space's annual ten-minute international plays fest. we received and read well over 500. The final 8 were performed on the The Mark Taper Auditorium stage in downtown Los Angeles. Chip Bolcik's Take Me Out was a huge hit with the audience, both poignant and funny:
The festival took a lot of organizing since it featured the work of more than 30 international theatre artists but I still found time to write as I always have and for me the most exciting product of that effort this year has been a book-length collection of poetry, which I am submitting to various literary magazines and a few prizes. Thank you to John Fox for an excellent resource online that list an ample number of magazines worth submitting to:
A one-act play I write during my time at Oxford has also been edited and will get some rehearsal time in October.
And if all that wasn't enough, I've just received a publication date for my fourth book, the third and fourth were part of a two-book deal with Smith and Kraus. This one is all about sonnets and another video gave me chance to show off my new haircut:
Charles III @
I'm currently working on the Pasadena Playhouse's forthcoming production of Mike Bartlett's fantastic play Charles III. It's fun being a part of the creative team. It's going to be a great production!
A Wee Dram
Having conducted “extensive research” into whisky the world over, I'm delighted to announce my forthcoming book, a compendium on all things connected to 'the sovereign liquor' is ready. The proposal is polished and the search for the right publisher begins. Thanks to all the 'research partners' far and wide, and I raise a glass to whatever lies ahead!
Last week was the culmination of the months of planning and scheduling that go into making the Directors Lab West the success that it is. My modest part in this was as associate producer, and sometime photographer, recording what I could of the various sessions that took place over the course of the week.
An alum of the DLW myself it was a joy to see this group come together and bond. How rare it is to have 40 to 50 stage directors and choreographers in the same room at the same time sharing ideas and methodologies. The week included workshops, round tables, panel discussions, a host of invited guests and presenters, as well as a packed schedule of performances to attend in the evening.
Among them Scottish Ballet's A Streetcar Named Desire was one of the most exquisite performances I have ever seen.
We also so Peter Brook's production of Battlefield based on his Mahabharata. It was beautifully told. I had never seen a Brook production before so it was long overdue. The composition of the actors on the stage, the lighting and storytelling were simple and clear and yet I wished for a different kind of drama where characters were directly locked in conflict to produce a more immediate form of drama. This is where Brook has been for some time - in this storytelling mode - and while it was a story told well, I can't help lament the passing of his earlier engagement with classics of the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage. None the less, as one might expect with a Brook production, it will live long in the book of memory.
Karen Rizzo's Mutual Philanthropy is a gem of a play and the Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA production serves it well.
A View From The Bridge
Miller's classic runs at the Ahmanson Theatre, Downtown Los Angeles until October 16th. Here's my View From The Mezzanine. In this pic you can see the onstage area with a black tab (centre) obscuring the acting area (before curtain up) and on either side of the stage audience members seated onstage.
This beautifully stylized and tightly choreographed production was marred by two lead actors who struggled to cope vocally. Having audience onstage and beyond the footlights couldn't have helped. They may be skilled on-screen actors with an abundance of TV credits between them but they simply lacked the vocal power to fill the space.
It might claim to be the same Van Hove production but with a different cast it lacks the punch that so excited audiences on Broadway and in the West End. The Los Angeles Times is generous when it refers to the production as "smoldering" (latimes.com).