CODA Examines Relationships

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Ashley Danielle Simpson and PJ King in “Candy Ghost,” one of six short plays in the “CODA: Debut Album” collection.

A series of short playlets combining humor, drama and absurdity, CODA: Debut Album humorously examines love and relationships, and how people look for validation and a sense of belonging in them. Fine ensemble acting and some strong insights capture the messiness of emotions and relationships.

Writer Cynthia Glucksman’s seven short scenes look at romantic and companionate relationships from different angles, detailing the confusion, trepidation, and emotional volatility involved in blending one’s life with another.

“Down the Niagara Falls” symbolically reveals the emotional leap into a possible relationship, as the two characters struggle to avoid drowning in unknown waters. “A Change of Clothes” comically captures the Mars/Venus dichotomy in trying to organize a potential first date. CODA ends the production on a high note, as the members of a codependent group commiserate over their dependence in relationships.

The small stage hampers movement and energy, giving the production a somewhat uneven pacing. Director Vincent Tula adds comic bits and symbolism in the staging of “Down the Niagara Falls” and “A Change of Clothes,” and gives the CODA a fitting emotional arc.

He draws particularly fine performances from Scott Cooper and Katey Zouck, two charming and expressive performers. The full cast provides fine chemistry and touching moments as well.

CODA provides a light, sweet look at people’s needs to connect with one another and gain strength and confidence in that bond. To quote a Beatles lyric, “Love is all you need.”

Ed Blount Productions and the Hollywood Fringe Festival presents CODA: Debut Album on Thursday, June 16, through Sunday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Flight Theater in the Complex located at 6476 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. Tickets cost $15. Visit www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/446 or call (323) 455-4585 for tickets or information.

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