Theater Reviews by Morna

Morna Martell

For some interesting programs that will help one feel safe because they are OUTDOORS, here are a few suggestions for the month of August.

MATRIARCH – North Hollywood

The Roots and Wings Project (RAW) is a politically charged, socially transformative, project-based theatre company whose goal is to provide space for voices of the unnamed, unknown and misunderstood. Now, a number of Los Angeles’ writers and performers are bringing a live program that will empower, provoke, and uplift attendee’s spirits. The show will perform outdoors on Friday, August 20 and Saturday, August 21 at 8 pm at the MKM Cultural Arts Center, 11401 Chandler Blvd. NoHo.

Plays include Lioness written and performed by Jesse Bliss; Perfecta by Diane Rodriguez performed by Cristina Frias; Age Sex Location by Roger Q. Mason performed by Ramy El-Treby; Remember This by Sigrid Gilmer performed by Bahni Turpin, and Gabriel’s Monologue by Tamar Halpern performed by Gabriel Diamond. Taylor Lytle from California Coalition for Women Prisoners has written Tell the Light performed by Morgan Day. The program also includes songs by Sheila Govindarajan; poetry by Carla Vega, and a dance performed by Adrianne Sledge.”

Presented by Roots and Wings in collaboration with Houston Coalition Against Hate ((HCAH Texas). For information:


 From August 5 to September 6, a number of uniquely colorful pianos, hand-painted by local artists, will be in public spaces across Beverly Hills as part of the Sing for Hope Pianos community initiative. These 16 piano artworks will be available for anyone and everyone to play, listen to, and enjoy!

Piano locations include Beverly Hills City Hall and Wallis Annenberg Center. Parks are Beverly Gardens, Will Rogers Memorial, La Cienega, and Roxbury. Artists were selected by a panel of art and community leaders in June. In the Fall, the Pianos will be given permanent homes in public schools across the greater Los Angeles area.

THE LAST, BEST SMALL TOWN – Topanga                

In this modern-day Our Town by LA-based Latinx playwright John Guerra, Hank and Willow Miller, and Benny and Della Gonzalez, have been neighbors for years. The Millers are a perfect picture of the American Dream: Hank (Christopher Wallinger) is editor of the local paper, while Willow (Christine Breihan) is a stay-at-home mom who loves fitness and their daughter, Maya (Jordan Tyler Kessler) who excels at everything she attempts.

Meanwhile, hard-working Benny (Richard Azurdia) must rise early each morning to catch a bus to work at a local car dealership, while Della (Jeanette Godoy) spends her days cleaning houses that includes, occasionally, those of her neighbors. Their son, Elliot (Kelvin Morales), has been named class valedictorian and seems about to make all of Benny and Della’s sacrifices worthwhile. However, Benny’s hard drinking father (Miguel Pérez) is a constant source of frustration for the Gonzalez’s.

Says director Ellen Geer: “You see the differences and complexities in the cultures of these White and Latinx families who live next to one another in the same town. Their different lives and the way they make choices.”

The Last, Best Small Town, runs in repertory with Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, that opened earlier in the season. Performances are on Theatricum’s beautiful* outdoor stage in Topanga. Through Nov. 7. Info: (310) 455-3723 or

*“The amphitheater feels like a Lilliputian Hollywood Bowl, with pre-show picnics and puffy seat cushions, yet we were close enough to see the stitching on the performers costumes. Grab a blanket and a bottle and head for the hills.” Los Angeles magazine.

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