Friday, September 29, 2017

THE DANCE OF DEATH …West Los Angeles

 August Strindberg wrote scathing plays, exposing the hypocrisies within class conflict and modern marriage in his Swedish society. When, as a young actress, I played Miss Julie I was hooked on his understanding of female sexuality and the rage concealed within a rigid class system. In this tragical comedy, The Dance of Death, he tackles the game-playing in marriage and it’s a no-holds-barred Battle of the Sexes

According to director Ron Sossi, “This play is often considered a precursor to Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Sartre’s No Exit. Three people trapped together in hell. It’s claustrophobic and eerie and delightfully venomous.”
Living on an isolated island military base, gruff quixotic artillery captain Edgar holds his bitter former-actress wife Alice in vicious thrall. On the eve of their 25th wedding anniversary, as the two face off in a fierce battle of wills, into this dungeon of poisonous invective comes Alice’s ingenuous cousin, Kurt. 

Soon, all unknowingly, he is ensnared in the couple’s wicked game and we witness his transformation from decent fellow to raging bull.
Adapted by Irish playwright Conor McPherson, and directed with brilliant pacing and energy by Sossi, the three superb actors, Darrell Larson, Lizzy Kimball, Jeff LeBeau, are a well-matched trio. Apt dungeon set by Christopher Scott Murillo, lighting by Chu-Hsuan Chang, sound by Christopher Moscatiello, costumes by Halei Parker and props Misty Carlisle. Do not miss this Broadway-level production.

Presented by the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, produced by artistic director Ron Sossi in association with Isabel and Harvey Kibel

At Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd, West Los Angeles, through November 19. 

Reservations: (310) 477-2055 x2 or

Photos by Enci Box.
Also reviewed in the November issue of Not Born Yesterday.

Friday, September 22, 2017

DAYTONA …in Hollywood

This intriguing play, by British author Oliver Cotton, is about two Jewish brothers who, in their youth survived the Holocaust, then reconnect after a 30 year rift. The younger one has a secret that he believes can bring satisfaction and closure to their past trials. Without giving away the surprises in the plot, let’s just say their brotherhood bond is being tested to the limit. The play vehemently touches on the question of justifiable revenge, but in the end focuses on loyalty and leaves the moral dilemma unresolved.

The parallel story of a past love affair distracts from the glaring question: Is seeking revenge for evil actions in the past, justice or murder? Although the author makes good points about the danger of denying one's past, I wish what could have been a serious ethical debate had not turned out to be a family drama about lost love. In fact, I would have enjoyed an after-show discussion on the theme.

Richard Fancy is an emotional tyrant as the long-lost brother Billy, while George Wyner’s Joe displays outward calm as he desperately tries to hold on to his once calm life. Sharron Shayne, as the practical Elli, shows the pain and wonder of being torn between two strong men.

This Rogue Machine presentation is produced by John Perrin Flynn, and expertly directed by Elina de Santos, with a naturalism that, unfortunately, often left us unable to hear the dialogue.

At the MET Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave, Hollywood, through October 30. Tickets: 855-585-5185 or at
Parking is $6 at Medical Center, 5300 Santa Monica Blvd.

Photos by John Perrin Flynn