Sunday, May 2, 2010

Around Town - LA Theatre or Why I Love Netflix

I had never really stopped to think about the fact that Los Angeles really is a theatre town...
not in the way of London or New York, with their well defined theatre districts, debuts and big productions. LA is all about small productions where the local acting populace can hone their craft. Across the city, in tiny theatres from Venice Beach to Hollywood to Downtown, you can find all kinds of plays, from the obscure to the well known.
And that's what I got on two subsequent evenings this week.
First was the well known...David Hare's "The Blue Room", a play about sex that was anything but sexy.
I liked the idea of the play with only one actor and one actress playing multiple parts that interacted in a quick succession of scenes.

The Girl (Irene) (Scene I & X)
The Cab Driver (Fred) (Scene I & II)
The Au Pair (Marie) (Scene II & III)
The Student (Anton) (Scene III & IV)
The Married Woman (Emma) (Scene IV & V)
The Politician (Charles)(Scene V & VI)
The Model (Kelly) (Scene VI & VII)
The Playwright (Robert) (Scene VII & VIII)
The Actress (Scene VIII & IX)
The Aristocrat (Malcolm) (Scene IX & X)

Considering the intimacy of the scenes, staged in the tiny Odyssey Theater in Westwood where the audience was seated no more that a few feet away from the actors, I would have thought that it would have been easy to have been drawn into the play as it progressed. Unfortunately I was bored by scene VII and just didn't give a damn about any of these characters and who they were screwing and why.

Fortunately it was a play in one act.

The next night I was off to another adventure in theater in Hollywood.

Now to drag me into Hollywood for anything is no small thing and I'm glad that I went just to remind myself that culture (good and bad) is everywhere and that the borders of the city don't end at Doheny Drive. Luckily, preceding a theater experience from hell, was a nice dinner at Cafe des Artistes, a charming restaurant with a decent frenchy menu and lovely service. After hoovering down my dinner and two much needed glasses of wine, it was off to see the "Buffalo Hole" the Arena Stage at Theatre of Arts.

Here's the description

A Dirty Bloody Black Comedy. From his outpost single wide, 30 miles from nowhere in freezing Foxholm, North Dakota, Braggert Strong awaits the arrival of his family to say their last goodbyes to a father, Patton L. Strong, Medal of Honor “winner” who has been a little less than “fatherly.” Between vicious dog bites, a mother who arrives 60 and pregnant, a sissy brother who won’t leave, and a sister who’s rode hard and put away wet, Braggert has little if no idea what he’s in for. A story of revenge, “dog food” and…amputation.

I don't even know what to say about this horrendously bad black comedy. It was insulting on so many levels, with characters so cliche that it made the playwright and lead actor, Robert Riechel Jr., just look like a smug ignoramus. The play was insulting to men, to veterans, to medal of honor winners, to fathers, to Midwesterners, etc. in a way that only a hip Hollywood writer would think was clever. But we've all seen these stock white trash characters before, so there was nothing daring or amusing in this production.

Out of politeness I didn't walk out.

Thank God for netflix so I could watch Balzac's "Cousin Bette" at home in my comfy bed after sitting through that pathetic play. Yeah, give me a well acted classic film over a wanna be edgy play any day.

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La Belette Rouge said...

I should have you do an installment of the "365 things that don't suck about L.A.". You have me wanting to check out LA opera and your review has me wanting to skip out on this bit of LA theater.
Cousin Bette is one of my favorites. That Balzac could write a little bit.;-)

Looking Fab in your forties said...

I must admit from over here, we would never think of LA as being associated with threatre going.

Jill said...

That restaurant looks divine!

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