Photo by Ric Perez-Selsky
bash: latterday plays
Three one-acts by Neil LaBute
The Actors Circle Theatre
(7313 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood 90046)
A production of Coeurage Theatre Company
Man - Robert Hardin
John - Peter Weidman
Sue - Sara Lorriane Perry
Woman - Jessica Anna Blair
These three acts, bound together by the faith of their characters (and carefully hidden violent streaks), are each phenomenally performed by an amazing cast assembled and directed by Meredith Hinckley Schmidt. Each of the three acts is its own one-act play. Iphigenia in Orem and A Gaggle of Saints make up acts one and two, presenting us with upper middle class Mormons who, while smiling and winning on the outside, walk around with dark, dark secrets. After intermission is Medea Redux, the longest of the three one-acts, this one dealing with infanticide (as you could probably guess from the title).
In Iphigenia in Orem, a businessman (Robert Hardin) divulges the part of his life he can tell no one to a stranger in a Las Vegas hotel room. Cheerful smile and engaging attitude never diminishing, the man reveals in sections the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of one of his children, and his own involvement therein. Mr. Hardin's performance is intense and layered as the salesman's heavy guilt and determined positivity come at you simultaneously and unmercifully from beginning to end.
A Gaggle of Saints features two adorable college students/long-term sweethearts attending a posh party in Manhattan. John (Peter Weidman) and Sue (Sara Lorraine Perry) recount in two-part harmony the cute (but violent) circumstances surrounding their introduction, the extra cute efforts to get themselves and their friends into New York from Boston and finally the not-so-cute activities John gets into once Sue has drifted off to sleep for the evening. Mr. Weidman and Ms. Perry exude charm and perfection in their performances. One could easily believe they'd just roamed off the top of a wedding cake to make friends with everyone. Mr. Weidman shows his considerable ability as an actor in the last turn of this piece, providing the audience with a harrowing glimpse of what could lie beneath the unassuming grin of any friend or lover.
The woman (Jessica Anna Blair) in Madea Redux, however, is neither polished nor charming. Smart but obviously lacking higher education, she's clearly in trouble from the moment the stage lights come up. Nervous, smoking and talking into a police station tape recorder, this is someone whose violence did not stay a secret for long; though there is a lifelong secret she, too, has kept. Over the course of fifty minutes, she builds her case: an underage affair with her junior high English teacher, his abandonment of her once she became pregnant, her life as a single parent. Ms. Blair is riveting as she unravels; there are no phony smiles or facades here. She wears her pain on her sleeve and is unapologetic for her actions. She confronts you with the unthinkable and lets it fester. You will leave the theater changed.bash: latterday plays runs now through May 15th (Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm). Tickets are "pay what you want" at the door or in advance through Brown Paper Tickets. For more information, please visit www.coeurage.org.
Director: Meredith Hinckley Schmidt
Assistant Director and Stage Manager: Ric Perez-Selsky
Lighting Design: Michelle Stann
Sound Design: Joe Calarco
Set Design: Ric Perez-Selsky