Friday, July 28, 2017



It’s not often you see a full grown man transform into a large thick-skinned mammal before your very eyes but mastermind director Guillermo Cienfuegos makes it happen. In fact, from all accounts he pulls this trick himself, onstage, in this madcap drama by playwright Eugene Ionesco. 

It’s about a delightful French town where friendly locals are faced with a dilemma – whether to hold on to their humanity or be sucked into the miasma of becoming unfriendly beasts! As these characters become rhinos we can see the contentment in embracing a herd mentality.
Although written in 1959, it’s a prescient view of today where it appears that standing ones ground for humanity is under attack. Ionesco‘s alarmingly absurd tale grew out of his own youthful experience in Romania when he saw people drawn into acceptance of the rise of Fascism. 
To quote him: “When people no longer share your opinions, when you can no longer make yourself understood by them, one has the impression of being confronted with monsters - rhinos, for example. They have that mixture of candor and ferocity. They would kill you with the best of consciences.” 

The highly impressive cast is headed by Keith Stevenson as the bewildered holdout and Alex Fernandez as his loquaciously demonic friend; with dynamic support from Peter Elbling, Jeff Lorch, Carole Weyers, Melissa Weber Bales. And, in multiple roles, Brad Greenquist, Sarah Zinsser, Robert Lesser, Sarah Brooke & Dalia Vosylius with Melinda West on accordion.

At Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice, through September 10. Tickets: (310) 822-8392 or Free Parking.
Photos by Vitor Martins.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

THE MARRIAGE ZONE …North Hollywood

What if you were able to view your life as it was in the past, and will be in the future? Would you refuse to accept the inevitable, or do you believe your destiny has been decided by some unknown power. Welcome to The Marriage Zone, where a couple halfway through their not-so-happy wedded lives are confronted with just such questions. It’s an intriguing conceit and handled brilliantly by author and director Jeff Gould and, after you see this play, you will never think of your own relationships the same way again.

Actually, with this excellent cast, it’s a sweetly told story of a marriage that is starting to unravel. Beth (Anne Leighton) cannot stop picking on her husband Cal (Jeff Pride); he has sunk into a sardonic attitude that blocks her out, while their son Ryan (Ciaran Brown) has his ears plugged into a world of music. It’s a familiar domestic comedy until visitors arrive: Skip and Ellie (Ryan Cargill and Megan Barker), young and in love, can’t keep their hands off each other; Mike and Liz (Alex Hyde-White and Jacee Jule), cynical, divorced and full of regrets. We recognize these people because we are these people.
On another level it’s a triangle between wide eyed youth, mid-career strugglers, and jaded elders. Gould also has a sense of humor that pokes fun at us! e.g. just as my companion whispered to me “I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone” the onstage senior said the exact words.

At The Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd. NoHo, through September 24.  Tickets: 323-960-7784 or Photos by Ed Krieger.

Also reviewed in the August issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY.