The first thing that “struck my fancy” in the production of Resurrection of the Ants, now in its run at the Hayworth, was the wonderfully arranged set (Allison Schenker, scene designer). For a minimally funded production, the sets and musical interludes were beyond expectation and delightful. The title of the play refers to a book written by George Sackett, played by Paul Fontana, who also wrote the play. The play focuses on a passionate writer, obsessed with selling his book. This is basically the story of a frustrated, yet determined writer whose book is about a prisoner talking to an ant in his cell. The ant is a wise philosopher who saves the prisoner’s life. A constant theme running through the play is that people are imprisoned by their own unchangeable perceptions of their world as they know it. As the Eagles made famous in their classic hit, “Hotel California,” the phrase “we are all just prisoners, here, of our own device,” so rings true.
Another main theme of the play is the achievement and fulfillment of dreams. The whole play is a serial comic rendering of the absurd attempt of a writer relentlessly pushing forward to pursue his dream and instill his ideals. His girlfriend/fiancée, the bubbly Billie (Amy Main) vivaciously talks about a seminar on dream analysis; Miguel (Claudio Pinto), a wise-guy drug dealer from Juarez, dreams of a better life in America for himself and his sister; brother Dean (Ken Arquelio), a reality show producer has created a show called American Wedding, featuring five couples pursuing dreams of life and love. The producer (Meeghan Holaway), a very brusque, matter-of-fact woman, tries to mold the couple into her “ideal, dream couple,” though George is reluctant to dip his foot into the seedy shark tank of reality TV, despite the vetted $250,000 reward.
The beauty is in the writing and dialogue. The playwright gives each character colorful, vivid lines, such as “Can love survive success?” and “Women are on this earth to save men from themselves,” and “1,000 quills for your next thought.”
Resurrection of the Ants is a well constructed conceit, with universal themes and potent ironies.
Resurrection of the Ants runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through July 28 at the Hayworth Theatre located at 2509 Wilshire Blvd. For tickets call (800) 838-3006.