Lost Moon Radio, Episode 10: Fluent in Fringe

Lost Moon Radio is three fringe shows in one: • A rock band doing comedy songs and parodies; • A crack five-person comedy troupe; • A touching yet comedic relationship drama between this live series’ recurring character Jupiter Jack and—huh?—rock … [Read more...]

BLINK and You Might Miss Me: A Fringe Film Career

Larry Blum seems like a very likeable guy. He's carved out a unique career in Hollywood and New York, chronicled in this autobiographical one-man show. Every one of Blum’s brushes with fame is accompanied by a photo or video, but these is not your … [Read more...]

Cowboy Mouth at the Fringe: Cow Flop

Hey, Slim (Justin O’Neill): if you want to nail this proto-punk mad-love classic by Sam Shepard and Patti Smith, don’t look down at your hands while you’re playing guitar. Take more lessons before you attempt to portray a rarified rocker. And learn … [Read more...]

‘Asleep at the Wheel’: Waking Up

About a dozen people learned more about sleep apnea, narcolepsy and cataplexy than they might have reasonably expected on a Friday night at a Hollywood Boulevard bar/improv comedy club. They also gleaned insights into the joys and sorrows of American … [Read more...]

‘Julius Caesar’ on Fast-Forward: Podcast

Orson Welles in 1937. Photo: Carl Van Vechten, courtesy Library of Congress   How do you make Shakespeare edgy enough for the Hollywood Fringe? You resurrect a 75-year-old script edited by a brash, young Orson Welles. Listen to the … [Read more...]

Does an Apocalypse Have To Be All Bad?

A friend was recently at the playground with her children when a stranger began to explain in detail about how the end of the world was fast approaching. Talk about an uncomfortable conversation to have in front of your children: “Mommy, does the … [Read more...]

Our ‘Spider-Man’ Entanglements

Given Julie Taymor's appearances at the Theatre Communications Group conference, Engine28 is going bicoastal, with impressions from some of us who've spent time with Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, both 1.0 and 2.0. From JENNY LAWTON: Spidey … [Read more...]

‘Solitude’: Waxing Philosophical, Waning Into Tedium

A stiff but stylish drama inspired by the philosophical musings of Octavio Paz, the Latino Theater Company’s Solitude attempts to imagine a Mexican-American existentialism but achieves only everyday, generalized angst. The action, such as it is, … [Read more...]

Hall Passes: ‘I Never Sang for My Father’

The memories in the Robert Anderson’s 1968 memory play I Never Sang for My Father belong to Gene Garrison, a widower with both parents in declining health. Mother Margaret, survivor of cancer and a series of heart attacks, increasingly turns to him … [Read more...]

Rock ‘n’ Roll All Night: Three Music-Fueled Shows at the Fringe

Tight combos rocking hour-long sets late at night in small spaces, on a street where you can quickly dash from one venue to the next, with booze always near at hand. For years, that was my accustomed Friday night — but as a local band columnist, not … [Read more...]

‘Krunk Fu Battle Battle’: B-Boys, B-Girls, Be Charmed

It’s West Side Story meets The Karate Kid in the East West Players crowd-pleasing original musical, Krunk Fu Battle Battle. The Asian American theater company closes out its 45th season with this playfully derivative piece, its deft blend of rap, … [Read more...]

‘Hot Pepper’: Downsized Dance by Chelfitsch

Anyone who’s ever worked in a cubicle will recognize the fluorescent-cool pecking order of corporate culture in Chelfitsch's Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and The Fairwell Speech.  The Japanese company opened its dance theater piece which runs through … [Read more...]

‘State of Incarceration’: Locked Up, and a Little Locked Out

You walk down a hallway at Los Angeles Theatre Center and into a large, brightly lit room. But where do you sit? Painted black wooden boxes line a wall and row on row of metal bunk beds with thin, tightly tucked blankets confront you.  You file in … [Read more...]

‘Feeling Feeling’

A recent study found that women whose first relationship was marked by constant approval-seeking – asking, for example, "Do you love me?" again and again – are more likely to be depressed and have relationship problems for the rest of their lives. … [Read more...]

You Can’t Always Get What You Want: ‘Another Effing Family Drama’

June’s coming home for closure. She finds it, but not in the package she expects in Another Effing Family Drama, Catherine Pelonero’s Hollywood Fringe Festival production playing at ArtWorks Theatre. June, a pharmacologist, wants to confront her … [Read more...]

‘Amarillo’ Climbs the Wall in Search of the Disenfranchised

A man goes into the desert and dies … or dreams. Storywise, that's it. But this spare scenario allows for kinetic visual imagery and a series of bilingual monologues to anchor Teatro Linea de Sombra's Amarillo. The setup merely explains that people … [Read more...]

Los Angeles Art Lovers Blown Away: ‘A Suicide Bombing by Invitation Only’

In early 2010, Lars Jan, a Los Angeles-based playwright and director, was commissioned by the Whitney Museum in New York to create a performance in one of its galleries. What he delivered was as much prank as play, a theater happening in the … [Read more...]

Four Women in One Night: How I Dived Into the Hollywood Fringe

Among the many benefits of a consolidated festival like Hollywood Fringe is the ability to cram attendance at several shows into one night. Even if you have a specific subgenre you are interested in — say, one-woman shows — the scheduling gods often … [Read more...]

Relentless: ‘Titus Redux’

Here's a parlor game for all your dramaturg friends: Prod them for their opinions of William Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. The aesthetes among them will point out that no less than T.S. Eliot called it "one of the stupidest and most uninspired … [Read more...]

Rectangular Anger: ‘2 Dimensional Life of Her’

  Puppets — and menace — in the ballroom 2 Dimensional Life of Her, the first production of the RADAR L.A. International Festival of Contemporary Theater, might better qualify as experimental film than any conventional idea of theater. … [Read more...]

‘2 Dimensional Life of Her,’ Revisited

  Since its Tuesday premiere as part of the RADAR L.A. festival, Fleur Elise Noble’s enigmatic and captivating hybrid experience 2 Dimensional Life of Her -- part film, part theater, and all art installation -- has generated a lot of "you've … [Read more...]

‘The Method Gun’: Rude Mechs Leap, Moving Us

Five actors stand, facing downstage and smiling at the audience.  One is in a brilliant orange jumpsuit.  She holds an old, faded kitchen timer.  On a whiteboard upstage, an overhead projector beams “Training Technique: CRYING PRACTICE.” She sets … [Read more...]

Fear and Brooding: Twain’s ‘Ghost Story’

Read Mark Twain's A Ghost Story and you'll get a hybrid tale that teases readers with all the clichéd elements of suspense but ends with one of the author's signature lessons on human folly. See the story adapted from page to stage in a 20-minute … [Read more...]

Waiting for Furlough: The Existential Drama of ‘Brewsie and Willie’

The fighting has ended for the title characters in Brewsie and Willie, an adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s rumination on American World War II veterans that opened last night as part of the RADAR L.A. theater festival. But as they wait for their … [Read more...]

Sometimes It Rains Apples: ‘Ground to Cloud,’ ‘Myth and Infrastructure’

Despite its age, the term performance art remains a useful one, if only because no other phrase encompasses so many types of alternative theatrical expression in which you hear so much about "environments." Whatever you choose to call it, a double … [Read more...]

Cube Farm: ‘as you are now so once were we’

Any parent of small children knows you can have more fun with a cardboard box than the most expensive toys, but The Company takes the concept beyond any three-year-old's wildest imaginings. In As you are now so once were we, the Dublin theater … [Read more...]

Gallery Piece?: ‘2 Dimensional Life of Her’

Presenting your art to an audience doesn't make it theater. Only when Fleur Elise Noble's puppets have stripped down their setting -- the artist's messy studio -- to the blank white walls of a gallery, do they begin to burn the place down. The … [Read more...]

The Defiant Ones: ‘The Word Begins’

Words fly, and the audience laughs  -- then ducks A monochromatic white screen acts as a canvas, and stools, plugged-in microphones and not much more are the tools for Steve Connell’s and Sekou Andrews' two-man assault on racism, politics, fear, … [Read more...]

Chekhov’s Widow Faces Love, Death: ‘Neva’

  A Chilean company finds the bitter side of humor The psychic whiplash inflicted by Teatro en el Blanco’s Neva, one of four plays to inaugurate the RADAR L.A. festival on Tuesday night, goes far beyond the race your eyes must make (if you … [Read more...]