02 Nov Theater Reviews by Morna
THE WOMAN WHO WENT TO SPACE AS A MAN (East Hollywood)
Alice B. Sheldon was an officer in the Army, worked for the CIA, the Pentagon, and traveled the world. In 1968, in her 50’s, she started writing science fiction under the male pen-name James Tiptree, Jr. Writing provocative and socially relevant stories, she used science fiction to address issues such as genocide, ecocide, sexism and racism. Her works ended up taking the science fiction world by storm and she exploded the myth that writing is inherently ‘male’ or ‘female.’ Writer-director Maureen Huskey states: “I have always been drawn to the lives of female artists; while their work may be celebrated, often their lives and personal triumphs are not.” The play experiments with form, interwoven with one of Tiptree’s short stories. Huskey explores links between gender orientation, creative expression and mental health. However, as the play shows, it was the life Sheldon led as a woman that made her so believable as a man. At Son of Semele Theatre, 3301 Beverly Blvd (nr. Hoover). Tickets: 818-841-5422 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Previews are pay-what-you-can.
BLISS (OR EMILY POST IS DEAD! (Atwater Village)
It’s 1960 in a wealthy New Jersey suburb where ‘Progress and Science’ are buzzwords of the day. In this farcical, domestic tragicomedy, theclassical Greek heroines, Aeschylus’ Clytemnestra and Euripides’ Medea, have been recast as indolent, pill-popping housewives, while Sophocles’ Antigone is the lovelorn, teenage girl next door. Their ‘blissful’ lives are upended when Aeschylus’ Cassandra, a ‘colored’ girl cursed with the gift of prophecy, arrives with a mind to free them from their dark destinies.Written by Jami Brandli, directed by Darin Anthony, this is a Joint World Premiere with San Diego’s Moxie and Chicago’s Promethean Theatres. At Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave, Atwater Village. Tickets: 323-472-5646 or www.movingarts.org
MIDDLE 8 (Hollywood)
Subtitled ‘The World’s Greatest Rock Band… you’ve never heard of’Stefan Marks’ dramedy, with live original music, is about a fictitious Kansas City rock group played by the real-life LA-based band THE FOUR POSTMEN (all 5 of them). A 40-year-old father gets his band back together to take one last shot at stardom. He admits the path to fame is a winding road, and if it’s too late to succeed – Rock On! But as real-world responsibilities mount, the band is forced to face some long-buried emotional truths. Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd (at Highland). Tickets: https://middle8.brownpapertickets.com
ANATOMY OF A HUG (North Hollywood)
Kat Ramsburg’s family drama explores the lives of its female characters with considerable depth. Amelia works for a charity that rescues kids and is attracted to co-worker Ben. However, her mother, in prison for murdering Amelia’s father, is terminally ill and given Compassionate Release from prison and has moved into Amelia’s apartment. Can Amelia possibly bridge the emotional chasm with her mother and will the wounds of the past prevent her from returning Ben’s affection? Direction Steve Jarrard, Collaborative Artists Ensemble. Sherry Theatre, 11052 Magnolia Blvd, NoHo. Tickets: (323) 860-6569 or https://anatomyofahug.bpt.me
THE BOYS NEXT DOOR (Culver City)
This comedy-drama features actors with disabilities from CRE’s ‘Theatre Arts as Therapy’program. Tom Griffin’s play is about a social worker who supervises four disabled men living together in an apartment. Mingled with scenes from their daily lives, are moments of great poignancy since all of them want to find meaning and purpose in their lives. The actors in this production face challenges steeper than most and it is their living truth that fills this story with emotional authenticity. Directed by Jeremy Aldridge. The Blue Door, 9617 Venice Blvd, Culver City. Tickets: (310) 425-8215 or https://creoutreach.org
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