30 Apr Theater Reviews by Morna
THE BOOK OF WILL – Pasadena
It’s historically true that two actors in Shakespeare’s company, after he retired, gathered up his scattered manuscripts and thereby saved his work for posterity. Now, you don’t have to love Shakespeare to enjoy playwright Lauren Gunderson’s re-imagining of their desperate search. After the Bard’s death, John Heminges and Henry Condell, former friends and colleagues from his acting troupe, the King’s Men, contend with egotistical actors, bootleg knockoffs and a ticking clock to ensure that the First Folio gets published.
Backstage comedy meets detective adventure as these aging actors race against time to reassemble masterpieces such as Lear, Macbeth and Hamlet – some parts of which may only exist now in the lines they have memorized. Their mission is to make sure that the works of William Shakespeare don’t end up on the trash heap of history.
At A Noise Within, 3352 E Foothill Blvd. Pasadena. Tickets: (626) 356-3100 or www.anoisewithin.org
TORNADO – Hollywood
This dramatic play is set in the aftermath of the devastating tornado in Oklahoma in 2012. Jade, a college student at Oklahoma Baptist University, and Becca, a corporate lawyer from New York City, have come to volunteer in the clean-up efforts. When a Chick-fil-A lunch truck arrives to offer free lunch to the volunteers, their vastly different cultural perspectives clash head-on, and they must struggle to set aside their differences for the good of the tornado victims they hope to serve.
The cast features Anna Salvini as Jade, Susie K. McLean as Becca, and Jody Carlson as Tanya. This world-premiere production is presented by the Actors Co-op Theatre Company, is written by Chris Cragin-Day, directed by Linda Kerns, and produced by Kendall Lloyd.
At The Crossley Theater, 1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood, on the campus of the First Presbyterian Church. Tickets: (323) 462-8460 or online at www.ActorsCo-op.org. Free parking.
THE REVOLUTIONISTS – Beverly Hills
In this woman-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, four beautiful women lose their heads. Human Rights writer Olympe de Gouges; Marat’s assassin Charlotte Corday; Queen Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle meet while trying to beat back the extremist insanity in 1793 Paris. This history dream-tweaked comedy is about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually try to go about changing the world. It’s a true story. Or total fiction. Or a raucous resurrection that ends in a song and a scaffold.
Cast includes Kat Kemmet, Alana Webster, Meghan Lloyd, Sami Stumman and Ashlee Olivia. Written by Lauren Gunderson, directed by Melanie MacQueen and produced by David Hunt Stafford.
At Theatre Forty, 241 S, Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills, on the campus of Beverly Hills High School. Free parking. Tkts: (310) 364-0535 or http://theatre40.org
THE LARAMIE PROJECT – North Hollywood
In 1998, Matthew Shephard, a college student at the U of Wyoming was kidnapped, beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die. His crime? Being gay! Members of the Tectonic Theater Project made trips to Laramie where they conducted more than 200 interviews with people from the town. The breadth of the reactions to the crime were fascinating, and too often troubling. From these interviews, as well as their own experiences in Laramie, they constructed this moving theatrical experience. The result explores the depths to which humanity can sink, but also the heights of compassion of which we are capable.
Written by Moises Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski and The Techtonic Theater Project, this production is directed by Kathleen Delaney and produced by Bill Fitzhugh and Danica Waitley for The Group Rep.
At the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Tickets: (818) 763-5990 or www.theGROUPrep.com. Free street parking.