The rest of the country must be so jealous, while they’re freezing their patooties off! Not one single day of rain to date…. Still, with everything so dry, the chances of fire devastation linger…. Keep your yards nice and wet, and keep an eye on your neighbors’ homes too! I only caught one play on the weekend to tell you about … and it was a “cutting edge” winner!
The Twilight of Schlomo
Written gut-wrenchingly by Timothy McNeil, this “slice of life” drama is the final chapter in his Hollywood trilogy. I did not see the others, titled Los Muertos and Anything, but have friends who did, and were impressed. This is a powerfully involving production … top notch in all aspects of theater. Pitch perfect portrayals all round, and David Fofi’s insightful directorial choices (assisted by Meghan Cox) are boldly gritty! The story opens on and revolves around Richard … played with volatile and achingly raw emotion by Jonathan Goldstein. Richard is a jaded 49-year-old ex-standup comedian, twice divorced and riddled with Jewish guilt. He lives a shoddy personal life, and barely has 400 bucks in the bank. Using drugs, hookers, and booze to dull his pain and regrets, he carries on a non-committal sexual relationship with Galina (a solid and heartfelt Kelly Hill). When his young adult stepdaughter, RFK turns up after a long absence, old memories surface. Asking to stay on his couch for a few days, and harboring a dark secret … he is forced to view his life … both past and present. Lilan Bowden as the spirited RFK totally captivated the audience each time she appeared. As Richard’s feuding neighbors and friends next door, Jackson and Lydia, Danny Parker-Lopes and Nikki McCauley both offered gutsy and multi-faceted performances. He, a sleazy drug dealer, and she, the sweet and subservient wife … live their lives like a ticking bomb … which is confronted in an explosive scene near the play’s ending. Technically strong too: Kudos to Elephant Theatre Company for a mood-inspiring set design and lighting with sound by Matt Richter and Peter Bayne. Costumes and powerful music and lyrical taped interludes were also “spot on” though not credited in the program. A darkly realistic “in your face” look at life, religion, regrets, mistakes, and tough choices, with comedic moments weaved in … this is a first-class, volatile, and powerful production. I won’t soon forget it, and recommend it to L.A. theater enthusiasts. It is certainly no lighthearted picnic … but is abundant in “food for thought”! Running Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through Feb. 9 at The Elephant Space located at 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. For seats call (855) NO-FORGET or go to PLAYS411.com or ElephantTheatre.org.
Back next week to tell you all about “On the Money” opening Friday night at Burbank’s Victory Theatre. Tickets: Call (818) 841-5421.