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Episodes

Breaking free from Shakespeare's Ghetto

10/15/2018
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What if “The Merchant of Venice” were told from Shylock’s daughter’s perspective? That’s the conceit behind Sarah Mantell’s play “Everything that never happened”.

Duration:00:03:16

A blue Jello spit take of truth

10/8/2018
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When’s the last time, in the theater, that you saw a really good, slow spit take?

Duration:00:03:34

An argument for Dramaturgy

10/1/2018
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Watching Jose Rivera’s play “The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona” is a bit like flipping through the sketchbook of a talented artist who can’t figure out exactly how all those sketches turn into a big painting.

Duration:00:03:28

The glory of subversion

9/24/2018
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Branden Jacobs-Jenkins plays aren’t quite what they seem on the surface. Or maybe a better way to say that is - they are everything they seem to be ... and more. Take his play “Appropriate” or “Appropriate” that played at the Taper in 2015.(That was a couple years ago but stick with me - because he’s doing something very similar now).

Duration:00:03:32

Catching glimpses of a great play

9/17/2018
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It’s easy to see why Lynn Nottage’s play “Sweat” won a Pulitzer prize. “Sweat” chronicles what happens to a union factory town when the old way of doing things isn’t doing it anymore. It’s set mostly in a local dive bar. The kind of place you go after your shift to grab a beer. The kind of place you celebrate every birthday since - well, hell you can’t even remember it’s been so long.

Duration:00:03:33

The present soul of a classic

9/10/2018
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The question of the classical soul is always looming in the air for the Getty Villa’s annual outdoor drama. Calling upon those classical Greek and Roman plays, one always wonders how academic, how true to form (and perhaps devoid of soul) will the work be? That question is particularly poignant when Anne Bogart and SITI Company are tackling the Greeks, as they are for the third time this year, with Euripides “Bacchae.”

Duration:00:03:44

Too little water; too much drama!

8/27/2018
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It’s in roughly the third scene of Circle X’s world premiere of “Hole in the Sky” that the moon rises behind the actors. Not a prop moon or a piece of scenery - the actual moon…because we’re sitting on the edge of horse stable deep in the Valley - Lake View Terrace to be exact.

Duration:00:03:30

‘Cabaret’ as cover band

8/13/2018
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The tricky thing with a musical like “Cabaret” is that it’s so iconic.

Duration:00:03:16

"Who gets to be a mom?"

8/6/2018
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Yes, this is a play about new mothers but because child-rearing is inextricably linked to privilege and class it becomes about much, much more than that. To say this is play that could only be written by a women is like saying only a woman can give birth - both overly simplistic and more complicated than we can fully grasp.

Duration:00:03:38

Getting lost in a playwright’s mind

7/30/2018
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With most plays and playwrights, you track story, character, plot. There’s a sense that while the source of the drama may have been the playwrights mind that’s not the setting. That’s not how it works with a Murray Mednick play.

Duration:00:03:28

Falling for young fruit

7/23/2018
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You know how you feel about brussels sprouts? You know you should probably eat them. “A Month in the Country,” the Turgenev classic, is basically the theatrical equivalent of brussels sprouts. Fortunately, the Patrick Marber adaptation of “Three Days in the Country,” - is like the chef that throws in a little bacon into the brussels sprouts and makes you reconsider the whole affair.

Duration:00:03:37

Moms will do anything

7/16/2018
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The story behind the play "Hostage" is incredible.

Duration:00:03:26

Going crazy in the Valley

7/9/2018
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To wrap your mind around Jonathan Muñoz Proulx's production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" without going crazy yourself, you've got to separate the concept of the piece from the actual drama.

Duration:00:03:28

Easy endings to difficult problems?

7/2/2018
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Dominique Morisseau's play "Skeleton Crew" is a feel good play about an auto plant closing. It takes place in the break room of a Detroit auto plant. Times are tough. Plants are closing all over the place. People are losing their jobs, their dreams. And there are rumors that this plant might be next. That's got this play’s quartet of African-American characters on edge.

Duration:00:03:20

Great play! Right theater?

6/25/2018
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I want to tell you to buy a ticket to this play right now but I also need to tell you to buy a ticket up front because the Ahmanson is a less than ideal theater for this play.

Duration:00:03:46

A little stinky is okay - but too much and the whole thing's a mess

6/11/2018
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It's June - which for Los Angeles intimate theater means it's time for the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Now, if you've never done the fringe, it's a bit like doing a tasting menu with a drunk chef. Everything happens quickly, some things are brilliant, some experiments are catastrophes, and almost everything goes better with a wine pairing.

Duration:00:03:41

An unsatisfying journey

6/4/2018
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Mfoniso Udofia's play at Boston Court is not a satisfying play. In the opening scene of “Her Portmanteau,” Iniabasa certainly does not look satisfied. She's at arrivals at JFK - she's just flown here from Nigeria with a big tattered suitcase, the “portmanteau” of the title.

Duration:00:03:32

Perverse magic of LA’s intimate theaters

5/28/2018
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You know that moment at the bookstore when you're browsing the serious, literary classics and the salacious cover of something pulpy catches your eye? It's that same impulse that has you order a plate of cheese fries. You know it's not going to be good for you, but god is it satisfying. "Forever Bound" by Steven Apostolina is the theatrical equivalent of that moment.

Duration:00:03:41

Better than Cats

5/21/2018
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Two facts you need to know before you go see "Soft Power" David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori's new musical at the Ahmanson. One, weeks after the 2016 election, playwright David Henry Hwang was walking home in Brooklyn when he was brutally and mysteriously stabbed in the neck - this really happened. Two, that election? Hillary Clinton didn't win. Both these facts are critical dramaturgical departure points for "Soft Power."

Duration:00:03:34

Straying from a mission to fulfill a promise

5/14/2018
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About 10 minutes into Antaeus Theatre Company's production of "Native Son", a black man accidentally kills a drunk white heiress. With most structurally sound plays, that would be enough. We have our moral crisis. We have a protagonist and a powerful question - "what will society do when a black man in 1939 accidentally kills a white woman?"

Duration:00:03:25