Swordswoman, ghosts, a fond farewell

| March 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

Revenge Song: A Vampire Cowboys Creation by Qui Nguyen (“Vietgone”) tells the story of Julie D’Aubigny (played by Margaret Odette), a real-life 17th-century queer swordswoman / opera singer. This is a rousing, romping, music-filled work that follows our heroine on her voyage of self-discovery and acceptance. The play blends rock and rap, in a melding of 17th-century France with modern theatrical production values.

Original songs are by Shane Rettig, lyrics by Qui Nguyen. We have swordfights and puppets, super heroes and nuns, in a boisterous, very funny, non-stop adult-themed production. This is an excellent cast, especially Ms. Odette as Julie, Beth Hawkes as the delightfully ditzy Emily, and Amy Kim Waschke as the sexually charged host for the evening Madame de Senneterre. The multi-talented cast also includes Noshir Dalal, Tom Myers and Eugene Young, who double and triple in parts throughout the play. Director Robert Ross Parker has conducted this evening with style. This is a world premiere production commissioned from the Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company by the Geffen. The Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company was founded by Qui Nguyen and Robert Ross Parker and has for more than 20 years produced award-winning, innovative theater.

This is a refreshing, very funny, wonderfully entertaining production. Don’t miss it.

Through Sun., March 8, Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., 310-208-5454, geffenplayhouse.org. 5 Stars

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The renowned Open Fist Theatre company opens its 30th Anniversary season with Rorschach Fest: three programs of short works performed in rotating repertory. Inkblot A, B and C are all plays by well-known playwrights famous for pushing the boundaries of theatrical invention. I saw Inkblot A, the award-winning Ghosts, written and directed by John O’Keefe.

Billed as an evocation of the afterlife, the play concerns the moments of transition into the great mystery and as such, is timeless. An inky black box of a set — as black as vaguely lit exit signs will allow, chattering voices that seem to come from everywhere, and six characters, all ghosts in varying stages of eternity. They describe their existence, their demise, what they see and more in a wonderfully spooky one act. Kudos to cast members Bryan Bertone, Cat Davis, Jan Munroe, Tina Preston, Elif Savas and Janine Venerable, for portraying the concerned spirits.

Rorschach Fest continues through Sun., April 5. For a complete performance schedule go to openfist.org. Open Fist Theatre Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave. 4 Stars

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The $5.00 Shakespeare Company by Matthew Leavitt is a riff on a 99-seat theater in Los Angeles, where there are often more people on the stage than in the audience. And where does a little theater fit in a town dominated by film and television? A familiar array of characters played by an excellent cast covers the struggle between an actor’s need to work and sustainable jobs, all while giving their interpretation of a “Midsummer’s Nights Dream.”

The cast includes Kenajuan Bentley, Emerson Collins, Carolina Espiro, Natalie Lander, Luke McClure, Cindy Nguyen, Andy Robinson, Liza Seneca, Adam J. Smith and Jamie Zwick. There are plenty of inside jokes about small theater companies that will resonate with audiences used to being five feet, or less, from the actors. Renowned director Joel Zwick blends the comedy and bathos seamlessly that make the play very funny and relatable.

Through Sun., March 8, The 6th Act production company at Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., 323-960-5068, fivedollarshakespeare.eventbrite.com. 4 Stars

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Dear Readers: This is my last theater column for the Larchmont Chronicle. It has been a wonderful 12-year run, but now the time has come for me to move on to some other projects that have been waiting, too long, in the wings. Over the years, I have seen some amazing and magical theater here in Los Angeles, (in large and smaller theaters). Consistent throughout have been the casts and directors. They are not often given material equal to their talent but they always rise to superlative performances and productions.

My hat is off to the smaller theaters which, during the recent revisions by Actors Equity, have managed to survive and continue to produce quality theater. Please continue to support local theater.

See you at the show.

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Category: Entertainment

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