Beautiful weekend, huh? Not too hot… not too cold… just perfect! Wish we could magically lock in those “temps” all year!

Acts on the Edge… Pushing Theatre to the Limit

Victoria Stern

Elizabeth Godley and Carmen Thomas-Paris in “Acts on the Edge.”

In a two-part production, A & B, The Edgemar Theatre Group has picked 12 innovative one-act mini plays (about 10 minutes each), submitted by an astounding 800 playwrights all over the world. I caught and fully enjoyed Part B at a 5 o’clock matinee on Sunday. Based on the strength of the six acts I saw, I wish I’d had the time to stay and catch Part A at 7:30. If you’d like to do that (pull a double header) I suggest you take the 1½ hour break in between, and walk across the street to Santa Monica’s oldest steakhouse, The Galley, for some food and libation! (Of course, you’d have to buy a second ticket, but at $15 a seat, that’s do-able.) Part B, a “cutting edge,” surreal, and edgy collection, was very well performed and directed, and the unusual scripts were deliciously entertaining! Not easy to describe without giving too much away, let me give you a brief idea of each act to pique your interest.

L.A. 8 AM: Written by Harvey Levine and directed by Jeremy Aldridge. Two elfin-eared aliens in lab coats narrate the zany action in this oddly eerie piece. Kevin, the quirky patient, is a “numbers freak.” His need to calculate everything in life is destroying his relationship with Paige. Starring Shannon Going, Thomas S. Nielsen, Aria Bruss, and Jayson Kraid.

Back to Normal: Written by Tom Moran and directed by Michelle Danner. A stern government agent and a school therapist summon a therapy session with a young boy and his parents. It seems the boy is too bright and normal… a threat to society. Compelling! Starring Michelle Danner, Corianna Di Julio, Nicholas Danner, Danilo Di Julio, Shayne Anderson, and Kim Sting.

Ziploc: Written by Holli Harms and co-directed by Elizabeth Holder and Nick Toren. Two adult sisters meet to clean out their memory-challenged mother’s home, after the death of their father, and Mom’s broken hip fiasco. Bickering as sisters do… Victoria Stern and Heather Stewart give spirited performances!

Third-First Person: In a coffee bar, two strangers, both “would-be” playwrights, check each other out… but never speak to one another. He is overly self-involved, and She, a real beauty, lacks self confidence. Starring Al Bernstein and a sassy Lauren Simon.

Soar: In my favorite scene, we meet a mother and her 17-year-old daughter. After a thunderous car crash sound, we realize the daughter has died, and is reaching out to her distraught and sleepless mother to inspire closure. Beautifully depicted by Elizabeth Godly and Carmen Thomas-Paris.

My Name is Art: Written by Jennifer Maisel and directed by Gita Donovan. In a hilariously bawdy skit, a man and woman happen to meet at an art museum. They strongly disagree on the “value” of an exhibit of “boxes,” and nearly “lose it” when an unexpected “live” male “exhibit” appears. Fun surprise ending! Starring Sarah Karjian, Jeff L. Williams, and Matthew Siegan. A worthy grouping of “quickie” one acts… Well done!

Running through May 16th at Edgemar Theatre (2437 Main Street in Santa Monica). Part B: Saturdays at 8, and Sundays at 5. Part A is Fridays at 8 and Sundays at 7:30.

Footnote: Kudos to all involved in Henry Jaglom’s “45 Minutes from Broadway,” running on The Edgmar’s beautiful Main Stage. I was there to review it on opening night… and nine months later… it is still packin’ them in!

Mark Your Calendars!

Two openings: The weekend of June 4th:

(Both sound interesting… will let you know!)

Baby: A West Coast premiere-at The Lonny Chapman Theatre in N. Hollywood. This updated version of the Broadway musical, invites us to peek into the complicated lives of three couples from three different generations… as they juggle the emotional and humorous experience of facing parenthood. Whether young college students, “thirtysomethings,” or middle-aged folks with kids already in college… impending parenthood is a major life-changing event! If you’d like to book seats before the “birth” of this play, call 818-700-4878.

The Socialization of Ruthie Shapiro: A world premiere at Theatre West in L.A. (Studio City area). Billed as a memory play, this story chronicles the reminisces of a mother now in her “30’s.” As Ruthie, a lonely and unpopular young Jewish teen finally makes a friend… in Loretta, a freakishly tall Texan. The two become very close, until “something” happens that presents a serious challenge to the bond they’ve shared. For early bookings, call 323-851-7977.

Random Heart-touching Tip: The Bucket List: Starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, in two powerfully poignant roles… you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll “reflect,” A wonderfully live affirming film, loaded with wisdom, ponderance, and heart… if you’ve never seen this film, you should! Running on HBO this month, I watched it again today, for the sixth or seventh time, and with each viewing… I gain a bit more insight on the tricky business of “living” and “dying.” See you next week…


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