FREE - Spumoni 3 Plays.
I have 7 free tickets to attend this play in Hollywood. Ideally attendees will be 3 or 4 guys + 3 or 4 gals. No +1 at this time.
If you would like to attend this event, please put yourself on the Waiting List and send me a $5 deposit as described below.
This free event requires sending me a $5 deposit via Paypal as "friends" using a debit card or Paypal balance (so that there's no fee charged to you or me) to: [masked]. $5 will be returned to you when we meet at the event venue. If you already have an ongoing $5 deposit with me then you can just rsvp without sending me another deposit.
If you cancel or don't show up, your $5 will be forfeited. No show member(s) may be banned from my future events and/or subject to removal from this group.
Please meet me in front of the theater at 7 p.m.
The Rant Theater at the Complex, 6476 Santa Monica, Hollywood, CA
Spumoni! by Patrick Hurley
Three short, one acts were chosen as the best for the Hollywood Fringe Festival, that which make up the ingredients for Spumoni! The idea for the festival’s title derived from the theater-owner’s love of the frozen Italian dessert (spumoni is even sold during intermission!). And though the trio of plays shares no connection, they all deal, at one point or another, with the difficulties of relationships and love. So, much like the dessert, this Spumoni has three equally distinctive flavors that complement one another quite nicely.
The evening starts with The Booby Prize, written and performed by Lizzie Czerner. Czerner’s one-woman show is about learning to accept oneself, even in the face of large obstacles….or two large obstacles, in this case. Czerner has created an over-the-top persona that sometimes plays as a sketch-comedy creation, yet sometimes has genuine heart. The story itself is often funny, and directors Rebekah Walendzak and Jeffrey Wylie keep Czerner moving around the stage reenacting moments from her past. The play is quick paced enough, and does not wear out its welcome. It could have devolved into a bad series of boob jokes, but instead it remained engaging. The material never devolves into an easy joke, and Czerner has a deranged sweetness that never veers too far one way or the other. She is a more accessible Amy Sedaris. And the result is a play that starts as a boob joke, yet ends as a statement about sexual liberation.
The second helping in this comic dessert comes in the form of Daddy Didn’t Die, Did He?, written and performed by Casey Christensen and Will Matthews. This brisk, verbose, comic gem was immensely entertaining from the moment the lights came up on Christensen wailing over a coffin. Daddy is set around the funeral of a man whose family is busy trying to figure out who will inherit what and who will be allowed to deliver the eulogy. There is also a love story between the Temporary Assistant Funeral Director and the dead man’s daughter. Christensen and Matthews play eight roles between the two of them. The pace is dizzying, the volume of their voices is unnerving, and the crisp banter is joyful. Both actors do a superjob of separating each character….so much so, that by the end, only their posture gives away who the character is. There are neither costume changes, nor any make-up. It is simply the deft ability of two people on a mostly empty stage. As funny as this play is, it is not without its catharsis, which we find in an elderly couple whose discussion of death prompts a genuine tenderness which serves to anchor the outrageous humor. And though all the characters are distinct and funny, the highlight of this show comes in the form of twins, Karen and Joffrey, who are fighting over which of them should be allowed to eulogize their dead father. Both actors attack these characters with pitch-perfect gravitas, and director Jeffrey Addiss directs them with larger-than-life movements, and they are often circling each other like animals sizing one another up for a kill. The dialogue between these two characters is also a notch above the rest of the characters. The severity of their words, and the deep resonance of their slightly British voices, gives the moments with these two characters a euphoric, glorious edge that is somewhat missed when they are not present. Still, in the end, this was a wonderfully funny, inventive piece of theater that should not be missed.
The final serving is Define Dif-fer-ent, written and performed by Keaton Talmadge (who is—in an interesting side note—the great-granddaughter of Buster Keaton). This one-woman show deals with a heterosexual woman who falls in love with another woman. The play deals with sexuality in a beautiful way—by separating the human heart from the human brain, it allows for ambiguity. This ambiguity, though unexplainable, drives Talmadge’s character to take a chance on love that most people would be too fearful to try. Talmadge has written a poignant piece on the inexplicable impossibilities of love. There are no easy answers, and we watch as she struggles and revels in every minute of her unconventional romance. There are moments of great cleverness. For example, when she puts her sexuality on trial we see an internal struggle acted out as a courtroom scene, with her female lover as the prosecuting attorney. What makes this scene work so well is Talmadge’s ability to keep each character distinct. There is also a greater truth at work throughout the play: there are moments of honesty that should shock (like when she lies on the ground and between her legs describes acts of sexuality), but instead they work as comic relief. The way in which she discusses sex with her girlfriend was done in a sensual and delicate manner—the emotion of the moment seemed to overpower the physicality; it was a beautiful moment. There are also amazing moments of heartbreak and renewal. She performs a brilliant scene with a blood red piece of cloth which symbolizes inner struggle and despair. Kelleia Sheerin directs Talmadge skillfully, allowing her to be physical when necessary, and other times completely still. There are also great moments when she is crying in front of a mirror that were spot-on representations of drunken self loathing. As a performer Talmadge is stellar. She excels as a writer, but her performance rises above even the great material, and finds a sincerity that provokes the audience to laugh, cry, and ponder. The play rises above a mere story about sexual experimentation, and becomes an ode to self discovery. The chances that people do not take, because of self-labels, is put into question; and, the result is an incredibly honest, raw examination of the human heart.