RSSArchive for February, 2010

Welcome Cindy Marie Jenkins to Bitter Lemons!

Please, give a warm welcome to our new contributor Cindy Marie Jenkins! Cindy is a Freelance Theatre Director, Writer & Community Activist. I’ve met Cindy many years ago and her love of theatre impressed me the first day we sat down and talked at Caffe Etc. in Hollywood. Since then I tried to be involved […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES by Don Shirley – LA Stage Watch David Mamet was in the Taper audience on Sunday evening – an especially noteworthy appearance because it was Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow that had been ousted from the Taper season to make room for the production that was opening, a revival of Frank Gilroy’s The Subject […]

The Case for a Nap

The Case for a Nap

Does there need to be one? Grey, rainy, Saturday. Nap. It follows. But since I’m in the need for one – or seven – in a row – my one year old has a cold – I thought I’d bring in some scientific evidence that naps should be incorporated into – well – everything! – […]

LOBBY HERO: 100% Bittersweet – UPDATED

LOBBY HERO: 100% Bittersweet – UPDATED

BITTERSWEET There are no real heroes here, and no true villains either, just nimble moral equivocators who tap-dance their way through the ever-shifting rationales of Lonergan’s keenly observed social satire. Unfortunately, in his staging at Pacific Stages – the first full-scale production in this new El Segundo venue – director Robert Bailey short-changes his material, […]

Guerrilla Warfare

Guerrilla Warfare

If you were alive last month, you know the Pasadena Playhouse announced it’s closing last month. So much for being the State Theater of California. There is nothing in a name, after all, Jules. Same day news: according to the Arts For LA website, The City of Los Angeles Budget and Finance Committee put forward […]

Plays That Change Lives

Plays That Change Lives

“The Play That Changed My Life: Americas Foremost Playwrights on the Plays That Influenced Them,” a new paperback collection of essays and interviews from Applause, is a must-have for any theatre lover. Playwrights include Lynn Nottage, one of today’s hottest African American playwrights, who discusses the impact of “A Raisin in the Sun”Š Donald Margulies, […]

THE BALLAD OF EMMETT TILL: 89% Sweet – UPDATED

THE BALLAD OF EMMETT TILL: 89% Sweet – UPDATED

BITTERSWEET The problem may be one of taste, but it ties directly back to the compulsion to spill the guts theatrically. Finney’s staging of the abduction starts brilliantly, with a pair of headlights appearing behind a translucent scrim. The production then devolves into a graphic, extended and emotionally exploitative depiction of the fatal beating – […]

Self Promotion Alert!

Self Promotion Alert!

Here it comes, wait for it, drum roll… A new play of mine entitled MISSION TO MATE is getting a staged-reading in the Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA’s annual and ever-illustrious “Winterfest” (downloads as pdf).  EST-LA is the company that produced the fantastic Julie Hebert’s “Tree” at Inside the Ford last year, garnering a glut of award nominations. […]

The Thursday Thought

The Thursday Thought

We don’t get too political over here at the Lemon – leave that to the Talking Heads on TV and the “do-nothings” that we elect to lead us – but there are certain issues that are very close to home to me personally. And one of them is Gay Rights. My older brother is Gay. […]

Free Art for the People?

Free Art for the People?

A Ms. Rachel Kolar, from Post Fact Productions, sent me some information about an Art Project she and her company are engineering here in Los Angeles and around the country.  Here was her pitch: My name is Rachel Kolar, Head of Production for Post Fact Productions: an experimental theater company based out of Los Angeles. […]

Chip & the Block - fear and risk

Chip & the Block – fear and risk

John: Hi. My name is John and I’m a freelance session musician and sound mixer here in LA and in New York for the last 30 years. Jesse: And I’m Jesse, a senior at the Los Angeles County Highschool for the Arts. John: Welcome to our blog. We’re going to be writing about art and […]

Welcome John and Jesse March to Bitter Lemons!

Please help me in welcoming our newest Contributors to Bitter Lemons, the father and son team of John and Jesse March!  Henceforth known as “CHIP & THE BLOCK”, this debating duo will be posting their regular feature on Wednesdays to help carry you safely and soberly through those Hump Day Blues. Hooray! Please check out […]

DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS: 100% Bittersweet – UPDATED

DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS: 100% Bittersweet – UPDATED

BITTERSWEET The company was wise to enlist the direction of the award-winning local director Richard Israel who I think has set out to direct every musical that ever existed since he never stops working. He has successfully managed to translate the action into that small space. Casting was more problematic but then I saw a […]

FENCES: 100% Sweet

FENCES: 100% Sweet

SWEET Robinson is riveting as the conflicted man whose fanciful storytelling and outward affection for Rose is in sharp contrast to the way he handles his self-professed responsibilities and the harsh treatment he metes out when his authority is challenged. Jennings’ portrayal is also authentic and moving. Seret Scott’s directorial choices are finely tuned, allowing […]

Will Creating Better Business Oversight Help Legitimize Los Angeles Theatre?

Will Creating Better Business Oversight Help Legitimize Los Angeles Theatre?

Producer, Rick Culbertson (Divorce, the Musical), seems to think so.  He suggests forming a type of Better Business Bureau of Theatre compromised of Los Angeles Theatre Producers to keep tabs on bad business practices in the town. Sounds promising.  Here’s a sampling from his latest post: If we had a producer’s organization, we could set […]

BROADS, THE MUSICAL: 50% Bittersweet – UPDATED

BROADS, THE MUSICAL: 50% Bittersweet – UPDATED

BITTER I loved the four gals playing the Broads – all talented – but the show needs a major overhaul. Too many jokes are tired old cliches – and singing about side effects from medications? Audiences do not find that entertaining as many experience these very problems on a daily basis. No one was laughing […]

THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES: 70% Sweet – UPDATED

THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES: 70% Sweet – UPDATED

BITTERSWEET All right, given this impressive pedigree, what’s my beef? Well, beyond the play’s passé style, I have trouble with the workmanlike use of the symbolic roses that inspire the title and even more with scenes that sometimes seem like acting workshop exercises. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET Yet traditional dramatic styles needn’t be […]

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

This is just fun. Enjoy the 50 Impressions in 50 Seconds.

"Elton John finally gets his own ('homoerotic') ballet"

“Elton John finally gets his own (‘homoerotic’) ballet”

Read this in the LA Times and, I dunno, all I keep thinking is, “Can you buy these things on Amazon?  Where do I get one?” I keep imagining Elton John sitting at home, alone, watching his very own Homoerotic Ballet in his living room.  Sighing.  “Finally.” Yes, folks, it’s “Take-Everything-Out-Of-Context-Sunday” here at the Lemon. […]

"Laurie Metcalf fashioned a "cameltoe" out of spandex."

“Laurie Metcalf fashioned a “cameltoe” out of spandex.”

If that doesn’t get your attention this Sunday morning, I don’t know what will. Yes, feeling a bit randy on this the Sabbath Day and thought I’d pass along a funny, albeit riske e-mail French Stewart sent to Steven Leigh Morris over at the LA Weekly. Hey, it’s on Steven’s Stage Raw site, it’s not […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

NORTH ATLANTIC by Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly If you drive through the San Gabriel Mountains, where radio reception is already dodgy, set the dial on the scan mode. Every three seconds or so, you’ll get a new frequency, a new station, sometimes bathed in static. Some country-and-western crooner with his heart on his […]

Where are all the Los Angeles Theatre Producers?

Where are all the Los Angeles Theatre Producers?

I’m not talking about those of us who produce out of necessity. Hey, I’ve been there. Nobody wants to produce your play, you raise some money, find a theatre, cast your peeps, maybe put yourself in the show and – bada-bing! Suddenly you’re a producer! And I’m not talking about Theatre Owners who perhaps “co-produce”, […]

EXILES: 100% Sweet

EXILES: 100% Sweet

SWEET The show’s pacing sags occasionally, particularly toward the end, which feels inordinately drawn out — and the breakdown of the boat seems like a forced plot development to keep the characters from being able to get anywhere. Yet the the play’s emotions crackle, and the piece brims with real fury and regret, whether it’s […]

CALLIOPE ROSE: 75% Sweet - UPDATED

CALLIOPE ROSE: 75% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET “Calliope Rose” features innovative and clever staging. Writer and director Bill Sterritt’s script contains some heady concepts but does not neglect the emotional quotient. It is a fascinating glimpse of how ancient beliefs have filtered into our daily lives. Recommended. M. Jarrett Christensen – Tolucan Times SWEET Despite being only one act, “Calliope Rose” […]

The “Stew Review” Becomes a Veritable Pasta Medley

The “Stew Review” Becomes a Veritable Pasta Medley

See?  I knew it.  Don Shirley got the ball rolling with his Stew Review and now everybody wants a taste. The latest Stew Review comes from Cynthia Citron over at Reviewplays.  In this particular concoction Cynthia reviews the two shows running at the Geffen, Wrecks and The Female of the Species. I don’t know what […]

The Thursday Thought

The Thursday Thought

“Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas: I cannot serve the cause of friendliness when I am trying to serve the cause of theatre by being as passionate, subjective and truthfull as I can be.” “Criticism is, by definition, one of the most elitist activities extant. It is highly presumptuous to sit in judgment – to […]

CELADINE: 60% Sweet – UPDATED

CELADINE: 60% Sweet – UPDATED

BITTERSWEET Evered apparently set out to write a modern Restoration comedy, but his play is too pale, genteel, and bloodless to qualify. It’s all pleasant enough, and it’s not without charm, but it’s too loosely plotted, thinly written, and dependent on offstage action to generate theatrical excitement. A bit of swordplay toward the end perks […]

DITCH: 33% Bitter – UPDATED

DITCH: 33% Bitter – UPDATED

BITTER But Coffman breaks our hearts by trying to be something he is not yet, and that is a playwright effectively dealing with searing emotional catharsis. Stories of Will’s best friend and Beth’s brother dying in a car crash or Will’s mother leaving him at an early age for no particular reason do not tonally […]

HELLZ KITCHEN ABLAZE (Extended Run): 33% Bitter

HELLZ KITCHEN ABLAZE (Extended Run): 33% Bitter

BITTER Unfortunately, the script has the feel of a ‘wannabe’ film, perhaps one we have already seen many times before. The stereotypical characters and plot, along with the trite dialogue and predictability of action, made me happy that the intermission had been done away with and loose ends were all tied up within little more […]

THE PRICE: 89% Sweet – UPDATED

THE PRICE: 89% Sweet – UPDATED

BITTER Miller’s characters all seem to struggle with responsibilities and guilt. This play offers the same type of individuals, but because of its long, drawn-out and repetitive dialogue, it is not one of his better plays. None of the characters are too likeable save for Gregory Solomon (performed so well by Kaplan), and the play […]