Privilege, At What Price?

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Stephanie Scholz, Brett.L. Tinnes and Matthew Grondin in “This is Our Youth.”

This is Our Youth has all the elements of a good drama/dark comedy. The storyline is set in a seedy NYC apt during the ‘80s, basically a very unsettling time for the youth culture of the day, post Reagan era, where the rich were rich and the poor were poor— a definite contrast between the haves and have-nots of society. The three lead actors, Brett Tinnes (Dennis); Matthew Grondin (Warren); and Stephanie Scholz (Jessica) are kids of privilege, but have chosen to submerge themselves into the angst of a hellish urban environment, amidst the generation of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.”

Aptly, the music at the very beginning of the play has clever, catchy lyrics related to this very theme and era. The actors are clearly the mouthpieces of playwright Kenneth Lonergan’s take on youth, then and now, each with their inner turmoils and uncertain futures. The language and tone (similar to Catcher in the Rye) encapsulates a generation of kids’ impaired sense of selves, amidst drug overdoses and life in the fast lane, a la Warhol’s crowd.

The constant usage of a prop, the rotary, corded telephone, reminds us of the pre-computer era, but relationships are still filled with doubt and insecurities, without all the digital accoutrements.

The Acting Center has a creative, edgy ambience, and is one of the nicest stages in the city for small theatrical productions. It showcases the vast talents of beginning actors to working professionals and offers scene study, improv, commercial intensives and private coaching.

The show runs through Nov. 21 Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. The Acting Center, 5514 Hollywood Blvd. For more information, call (323) 962-2100.

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