RSSArchive for March, 2010

Can Theatre still stick it to “the Man” or has Theatre become “the Man”?

Can Theatre still stick it to “the Man” or has Theatre become “the Man”?

I know, I know, can I make it any more abstract?  Well, I could, but I won’t. Interesting debate going on across the pond at Chris Wilkinson’s Guardian blog Noises Off. The article is called Is Theatre Elitist? and the comment section is probably the more fascinating part of the whole affair.  Here are some [...]

Left to right: Alina Phelan, Olivia Henry, Silas Weir Mitchell  (Photo: Dawid Jaworski)

LASCIVIOUS SOMETHING: 91% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET Callaghan finds the madness in each of her characters. It’s not apparent but it’s there, as it is in each of us. This gives the play its strength, as each of the characters is strong, too, and the three of them stubbornly fight to defend their turf. August is weak and unlikeable and, as [...]

Behind the Scenes: Boxes into Books

Behind the Scenes: Boxes into Books

Might try to make this a regular feature here at the Lemon.  Sort of a “behind the scenes” look at those that don’t get all the glory and yet are equally crucial to a production’s success as the actor, writer and director. Today we focus on the prop master/set designer.  In this video, John Slauson, [...]

Enci & the Block – Integrity and the Actor

Enci & the Block – Integrity and the Actor

John March: Here we are at the beautiful Barnsdall Art Park in East Hollywood for this weeks post of Chip & the Block, where we have the lovely Enci filling in for my Chip. She’s going to take on the incredible role of being a 17 year old boy… Enci: (giggles) John: …with a strong [...]

Bitter Lemons Exclusive: A List of the 2009 LA Weekly Theatre Award Winners

Bitter Lemons Exclusive: A List of the 2009 LA Weekly Theatre Award Winners

That’s right, Lemon Heads. We got the connections over hee-yah. Drum roll please. Wait for it. Wait for it a little longer Almost there. And now, your… 2009 LA Weekly Theatre Award Winners: PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR Block Nine, Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre REVIVAL PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR (of a 20th- or [...]

Photo: Ed Krieger

THE SECOND CITY: CAN YOU BE MORE PACIFIC?: 100% Sweet

SWEET To celebrate 50 years of renowned comedy, Chicago’s Second City has dispatched a talented troupe of seven to the Laguna Playhouse in order to transform Orange County tropes into a satirical revue entitled “Can You Be More Pacific?” Though overlong and somewhat toothless, the show is a sure mirth-maker for natives of all ages [...]

Rainer Maria Rilke, circa 1900

“Nothing touches a work of art so little as words of criticism”

From Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke Letter One Paris February 17, 1903 Dear Sir, Your letter arrived just a few days ago. I want to thank you for the great confidence you have placed in me. That is all I can do. I cannot discuss your verses; for any attempt at [...]

Carson Elrod, Heidi Schreck, Danielle Skraastad and Andrea Frankle. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

THE WAKE: 69% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET If “The Wake” succeeds more as a character study than as an assessment of the historical zeitgeist, it’s probably because Ellen is too much of an individual to bear the metaphorical burden placed on her. Those blind spots she’s begun to recognize don’t belong to her exclusively. But her journey into understanding the heartbreak [...]

My Night at the 2009 LA Weekly Theatre Awards

My Night at the 2009 LA Weekly Theatre Awards

Well my first impression was, “Wow.  I’ve never seen so many people wearing makeup.”  And the women were laying it on pretty thick as well. But seriously, overall it was a pretty fun affair.  And quick.  That was the most surprising part.  They got that bad boy done in under two hours.  For that they [...]

Dwain A. Perry, Jonathan Palmer at LATC. Photo: Ed Krieger.

Robey Theatre Company, Scarecrow Press illuminate theatre history

Paul Robeson is well remembered today for his performance as the self-appointed monarch of a Caribbean island in Eugene O’Neill’s “The Emperor Jones.” What’s been largely forgotten is that it was the first important dramatic role for a black actor on Broadway—and that the actor who created the part was not Robeson but a man [...]

Laurie Morgan - Janet Wood. Photo by Robert Engalia

SWEET SUE: 75% – Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET The quality of the acting is good. The women are pert and spunky, the men are big and obliging. Susan takes pills while Susan Too drinks wine. She’s constantly looking for her kids’ approval. Jake is waffling between romance with Susan and love with an unseen woman his own age. Dichotomy abounds. Susan Too [...]

At South Coast Repertory, founding leaders David Emmes and Martin Benson have announced they're stepping aside -- but they'll remain involved in the artistic direction. (Lance Gordon)

McNulty Speaks

And it’s one of his better offerings since he’s been the LA Times head critic, in my book.  The article is called Southern California’s big theatres need fresh, dramatic thinking. Oh yes they do. With the demise of Pasadena Playhouse as a takeoff point and the recent coming’s and going’s of the “big house” Artistic [...]

Legitimizing the Los Angeles Theatre Awards

Legitimizing the Los Angeles Theatre Awards

Producer Rick Culbertson has an excellent article up at his site Thoughts from a Los Angeles Theater Producer, concerning Theatre Awards here in Los Angeles. Again, our resident statistician and Dynamo of the Diagram, Rick, emphasize organizing, scheduling, prioritizing and setting some standards. All the Award-Giving Organizations should take a look at this. That’s right [...]

Cast from "Life Could be a Dream", hosts of the LA Weekly Theatre Awards.  Photo by Michael Lamont.

31st Annual LA Weekly Theatre Awards Tonight!

And I will be there.  Yes indeedy.  Rubbing shoulders with the class of LA’s 99 Seat Theatre Community.  Although I am a little perplexed by the announcement that the show Life Could be Dream is hosting the affair?  How can a show host another show?  Well, should be interesting! I’m sure there are still tickets [...]

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

Ah, the memories.  Commercial auditions.  Good for the soul.

Theatre of the Breaking Wind

Theatre of the Breaking Wind

Was guided to this incredibly-self-involved and yet somehow-fascinating site with the great name Second Wind Theatre.  I’m thinking of creating a sister site known as the Breaking Wind Theatre. But that’s beside the point.  The byline of the site goes like this: SECOND WIND’S BEHIND-THE-SCENES DIARY FOR HAROLD PINTER’S ASHES TO ASHES AND CONOR MCPHERSON’S [...]

Photo by Indrek Mandmets

Critique of the Week

THE CHARM OF MAKING By Paul Birchall – LA Weekly Playwright Timothy McNeil’s drama is one of those deep, Southern-baked ham fests in which the characters baste themselves with family guilt and grief while downing endless glasses of bourbon (which seems to have been flavored with a dash of Tennessee Williams and a soupçon of [...]

Photo courtesy of SOLOCAT Productions

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

THE BLUE ROOM Review by Cynthia Citron – LA Examiner Who knew sex could be so tedious? In David Hare’s The Blue Room 11 acts of intercourse are conducted without heat, or charm, or intimacy, or humor, or foreplay. It’s just “wham, bam, thank you, ma’am” and “Where are my shoes?” Moreover, if a cardinal [...]

Photo by D. Lugolecki

Critique of the Week – Runner Runner Up

THE MYSTERY PLAYS Review by K. Primeau – LA Theatre Review I find it difficult to critique a play in which a technical malfunction knowingly disrupted the performance. In the case of Knightsbridge Theatre and The National American Shakespeare Company’s presentation of The Mystery Plays, that malfunction included a busted light board, resulting in last [...]

Professor Braveheart

Professor Braveheart

This is great.  Tom Loughlin, theatre professor and always insightful theatre blogger over at A Poor Player shows his Sword Skills.  With text! Watch out William Wallace! Tom’s the bald guy.

Who’s Making the Los Angeles Theatre Waves and Who’s Riding Them?

Who’s Making the Los Angeles Theatre Waves and Who’s Riding Them?

I realize that title up there is completely non-sensical really, but I’ve found myself caught in my own “crazy post title” wave.  So deal widit! Anyway, there IS some relevance to it, as Steven Leigh Morris, LA Weekly critic and commentator, has offered a companion piece to his Why Theatre Matters article.  This one is [...]

Happy World Theatre Day

Happy World Theatre Day

What a pleasant surprise it was when I came across the World Theatre Day website today. I didn’t know there was an official World Theatre Day and I’m glad I found out on the day of, not after. People all over the world are celebrating in a theatre or outside, with friends and community members [...]

What is this Critic’s Opinion of this Show?

What is this Critic’s Opinion of this Show?

And do you feel that he or she owes us one? Personally, I do.  After all the analysis, after all the context, after all the perspective, I believe it is crucially important that the critic form an opinion of the show they have seen and communicate that opinion as clearly as they can to us [...]

Photo: Thor Edgell and Bonnie McNeil. Photo credit: Indrek Mandmets.

THE CHARM OF MAKING: 33% – Bitter – UPDATED

BITTERSWEET This Stella Adler Los Angeles Theatre Collective production has its charms, including the genuine sense of connection that director Milton Justice creates among his cast, and some tart dialogue. But the play is an ensemble in search of an engine — everyone sits around the living room half in love with easeful death – [...]

2011: The Year Los Angeles Takes the Stage

2011: The Year Los Angeles Takes the Stage

Sounds epic, doesn’t it?  Thanks, I worked hard on it.  Frankly, I’m exhausted and need a nap.  But there’s more to say. So, onward! Why 2011?  Well because Steven Leigh Morris says so.  Well, not exactly, but he makes a compelling case in his latest LA Weekly feature “Why Theatre Matters” that we as a theatre [...]

The Thursday Thought

The Thursday Thought

Do Los Angeles Theatre Critics have a “double-standard” when it comes to 99 Seat Theatre? I know I certainly do.  Well, it’s not that my standard necessarily changes, it’s more that my expectations will lower or raise according to what I’m presented with.  If I got to a Taper show, I have certain high expectations [...]

Criterion Collection’s ‘Shaw on Film’ DVD set, ‘Beckett on Screen’

Criterion Collection’s ‘Shaw on Film’ DVD set, ‘Beckett on Screen’

Back from Pandora? Remember when Hollywood made movies with fully-developed plots and characters, before special effects hijacked movie budgets? And playwrights were called in as script doctors? Two of the 20th century’s greatest playwrights—Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett—not only refused such lucrative jobs, but frustrated producers, directors and studios to no end with their disdain [...]

Credit: John Merritt Photography).

URINETOWN, THE MUSICAL: 100% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET With a well-performed good-versus-evil story between Bobby Strong (David Laffey), Caldwell B. Cladwell (Michael Heimos) and a solid supporting cast, “Urinetown” will definitely leave its musical savvy audiences tickled with laughter and happiness. Parimal M. Rohit – Campus Circle SWEET Whether the title Urinetown amuses you or disturbs you, it should at least intrigue [...]

Adam Silver. Credit: Craig Schwartz.

AWAKE AND SING!: 92% – Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET Long before feminism made it a catchphrase, “Awake and Sing!” revealed just how political the personal can be. And though its language often sounds dated, the play’s discordant notes continue to speak to the turbulent longing in our national soul. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET Director Andrew J. Traister captures the play’s potent [...]

Photo by Keith Roenke.

EXTROPIA: 100% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET Director Kelleia Sheerin cleverly adjusts to the nightclub venue, offering a rockin’ rock reinvention of the overworked theme. Any familiarity is made forgivable by adding the talents of McQuilken and his cohorts, whimsically futuristic set pieces by Squared Design, and sincere—if uneven—performances. Littlefield and Fulton are charming together as the stunned but delighted discoverers, [...]