A promising beginning which turns into a missed opportunity for O!edipus, a new play written, directed and starring Ravi Kapoor.
Set in a prisoner of war camp during World War 2, the stakes are laid out very clearly at the beginning: 3 prisoners, a British Colonel, an American Lieutenant, and an Indian Sepoy must perform a play and entertain the German Commandant or face a firing squad. In fact, the AUDIENCE will also face the same penalty if the show doesn’t go well.
And this being a comedy, of course it doesn’t go well, and that is a part of the fun. But very quickly the jeopardy they (and we) are in is soon forgotten, deflating stakes for the audience and removing a source of comedy.
The show itself has a sort of Three Stooges meets British Comedy feel, with its mix of word play and slapstick. Sometimes the routines land and other times they don’t. Russell Milton as the beleaguered Colonel Humphery Huvar has a marvelous turn in a particularly explosive moment and Kapoor and Norman Scott are solid as his comic foils.
But, in the end, the pieces don’t quite come together. The timing feels off and some of the staging is unfocused. I feel the play itself could go farther, even as a comedy, exploring the themes in the play within a play. Right now, it feels like they are just touching the surface, which leads me to wonder, why did the characters choose Oedipus?
Two more performances, June 19th at 10 PM, and June 20th at 8 PM, tickets $12, Artworks Theatre, 6567-6585 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Filed Under: Fringe Reviews
About the Author: Larry Pontius is a playwright and screenwriter whose work has been seen around the world. His produced stage work includes an Off-Broadway production of Umbrella by Alchemy Theatre Company of Manhattan; Fallout by Working Man’s Clothes Productions and The Lunar Adventures of Dar and Matey by Stolen Chair Theater, followed up with Dar and Matey’s Christmas SpectaculARGH at the The Brick Theatre in Brooklyn, On The Night of Anthony’s 30th Birthday Party, Again at the Manhattan Theatre Source, On Sunday Morning, by Collaboraction in Chicago; American Autobahnics at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. The Connection is Made and Running Out of Time were both ACTF Regional Ten-Minute Play Finalists. Pontius is one of the highest paid TV writers… in Pakistan. He has written three serials, including Qaatil, Pakistan’s first tele-thriller, and most recently Neeyat, a 20 part drama set in New York City, as well as a number of episodes in the anthology series New York Stories. His work also includes multiple television spec pilots. He is the recipient of the Michener Fellowship from the University of Texas at Austin where he received an MFA in Playwriting. He also studied at Dell’Arte, The International School of Physical Theater, and received the Nicholas Meyer Scholarship for Playwrighting from the University of Iowa, where he received a BA with Honors. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America and The Playwrights Union. @LarryPontius