It is a new year, folks! A time for new beginnings, fresh experiences, new friends, and exciting theatrical openings

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Theater around town is booming with new plays to pique your interest and broaden your horizons. I hope you will set aside time to support L.A. theater in 2014. As always, I will tell you all about the productions I attend … The good ones, & the not so good ones too.

Arousal and The Lover

John Steen and Laura Lundy-Paine in “The Lover.”

John Steen and Laura Lundy-Paine in “The Lover.”

I caught a scintillating duo of “one act plays” on the weekend, and fully enjoyed both of them. The first, titled Arousal, was sensually written by George Pfirrman, and the second one was cleverly penned by the British, multi-award winning Harold Pinter (1930-2008). Presented by the San Francisco based “Virago Theatre Company” for a short run in L.A. … if interested, you only have 3 performances left to catch it … this weekend … Friday thru’ Sunday. Both intriguing acts are directed with sassy flair by Chloe Bronzan, and both feature spellbindingly haunting performances given by Laura Lundy-Paine and John Steen. Starring in each scene together, they accomplish impressive versatility and hypnotic performances. To summarize the storylines:

Arousal

A virgin man afflicted with Asperger Syndrome, visits a Ukrainian prostitute for her services. An erotically comedic, yet touching scene, each of them have life lessons and unique qualities to share with the other. Steve Budd appeared briefly as The Milkman. Michael Vega takes over the role this weekend. This mini play won “Best of the San Francisco Fringe Festival” in 2010 for its playwright.

The Lover

The scene opens in the living room of a stuffy, “oh so British” married couple. He is off to work, and she is anxiously awaiting her lover’s visit later in the day. An “open marriage” of sorts, this is a cat and mouse game of infidelity, looked at from both spouse’s sides. After a civilized chat and a brief kiss goodbye, we soon realize that there’s more spice in their lives than we thought. With continuous “teases” about the art of infidelity … the final scene is positively delicious! Considered a sensuous masterpiece … Pinter was nominated for four Broadway World awards.

The performances of this stellar duo, offer mind teasing, suspenseful, and titillatingly involving theater. Behind the scenes kudos go to: Robert Lundy-Paine (Set Design), Sophie Spinelle (Costumes), Nikki Eggett (Sound), and Gary Quinn (Lighting). This was my first encounter with this talented and innovative San Francisco troupe. I do hope they will bring other productions to Los Angeles in the future. In the meantime, do try to catch this provocative production this weekend! Running Thurs, Fri, and Saturday at 8 o’clock at Theatre Asylum Lab located at 1078 Lillian Way in Hollywood. For tickets go to viragotheatre.org or call (510) 865-6237.

That’s all I have to report on this week, but I have others booked in the next few weeks. Keep tuning in, and make 2014 the year you make a point of catching more “live” theater! Not every play offered is mind blowingly impressive … but each offers new viewpoints on life!

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