Steven Sabel's Twist on the Trade: Social Theatre

I’ve never been big on social theatre. Not that I don’t think that theatre can and sometimes should make people think, but I’m a classicist who believes in subtlety. No one ever changed their mind about much of anything by being hit over the head, or force fed with a message. The best way to affect social change through performance is doing a show containing those “ah-ha” moments that strike audience members on their drive home from the theater. The classic masters were – well – masters at this.

Aristophanes sent a message of peace to his fellow Athenians, while highlighting the power of the feminine force through humorous metaphor with his “Lysistrata” without losing its entertainment value by drilling home his message to the populace.

Shakespeare was able to make his point about anti-Semitism by giving Shylock his famous speech, wrapped inside a mostly comic play he knew would appeal to his audience. In fact he almost pandered to their views, and then sort of snuck his message in under the radar. He does this equally well in tragic terms with “Othello,” adding another layer of subtlety by making “the savage Moor” the most eloquent and intelligent speaker in the play, perhaps the entire canon.

Sophocles used a dressing of anti-tyranny for his fellow democratic Athenians to sneak in his messages regarding loyalty to a higher power and the bonds of family over government and society when he wrote “Antigone.” Jean Anouilh used the classic Greek tragedy 2,385 years later to sneak those messages past the Nazi regime in occupied France.

Moliere used his comedies to take stabs at hypocrites of all sorts, and though he was regularly condemned by the religious, political, and medical profession leaders of his time because his attacks hit them too close to home, he was popular with the public who consumed his works with fervor. He wrote 31 of the 85 plays performed at the theatre in the Palais-Royal in Paris over a 14 year period. In today’s modern French, a tartuffe is a hypocrite, and a harpagon is a greedy miser – names of two of Moliere’s most famous characters that have now become part of the French lexicon. How’s that for making an impact?

Too many of today’s playwrights lack the creative subtlety to send their social message to an unsuspecting audience. Instead they write directly to the audience they already have. They preach to the choir. This does not affect any social change. It convinces no one of anything. It merely creates an echo chamber of like-minded people congratulating themselves and each other for sharing the same view – often a tunnel vision view. There is nothing clever about that, and thus not very interesting. It may have some entertainment value, but it isn’t opening new minds to new points of view. If anything, it only pushes potential new audiences away. In essence, a hammer head message accomplishes the exact opposite of what social theatre should be aimed at doing – opening the message to new minds through subtlety.

Much of today’s social theatre is a result of social theatre, in that a group of like-minded friends get together and say: “let’s put on a play!” The play is their social outlet, not unlike a bowling league or softball team. Rehearsals become a place to hang out with friends, and performances become not much more than a precursor to socializing at a local bar or house party. The audience is composed of friends and family members like the backyard productions we used to put on for our parents as kids. Any social message contained in the material actually takes a back seat to the true intent of the gathering: maintaining a social calendar for the participants. It’s a “play” date for grown-ups.

Benedict Knitterbatch

All of that is fine indeed. As I mentioned, some people join bowling leagues, others join softball teams. Some people form book clubs, knitting circles, and model airplane societies. We are social animals, and we like to surround ourselves with like-minded people who share our same interests. The difference is in the professed intent. I’ve never heard of a knitting circle with a “mission” to affect social change through the scarves and beanies they create.

On occasion, the casual hobbyist can turn their past time into some extra dollars. I know several people who place their creations on Etsy, E-bay, or other sites to make a little money by sharing their artistic hobby with others. Unlike actors, very few of these people profess to be aspiring to a career in their chosen social outlet or hobby. People who knit just aren’t that pretentious. Either that, or they have a keener sense of their own realities.

If you are an actor, it is time to examine your reality. Is your social theatre truly reaching the unenlightened masses? Is your social theatre just social theatre, filling your nights and weekends with play dates - or are you truly working toward that career by doing projects that either increase your aptitude, strengthen your skills, advance your professional network, or get you seen by a greater audience?

Have fun. It’s called a play for a reason. But if you’re just playing around with friends, then call it what it is, and build a career doing something else. No subtlety here.


Audio Interview: Derek Chariton - Heinrich (Stargate Origins) stars in "Andy Warhol’s Tomato" at Pacific Resident Theatre

Pittsburgh folklore has it that there is a working class bar which has the reputation for being the place where a teenage Andy Warhol drew on napkins in exchange for Coca-Cola. While drinking at that same bar, playwright, Vince Melocchi, began to see it in a different way… as a creative, mysterious place. He noted, “Andy allowed us to see, think, and feel about art in a completely new way. I wanted to find out who and what were his real influences. Andy Warhol’s Tomato imagines a chance encounter between Warhol and a Pittsburgh bar owner, as one of the steps on Warhol's extraordinary journey in life”*

Enjoy this interview with Derek Chariton - Heinrich (Stargate Origins) and the cast of “Andy Warhol’s Tomato” at The Pacific Resident Theatre, running until Sep 29th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.

*taken from the website


Interview With Multi-Talented Marc Antonio Pritchett About Directing Mousetrap at Theatre Palisades

Director Marc Antonio Pritchett is currently rehearsing his cast for the next main stage production Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at Theatre Palisades. I sat down with this classically trained actor, singer, and stunt combatant to learn more about his take on this classic crime script and uncover a few details about this multi-talented entertainment industry professional.

The Mousetrap is truly a classic of the whodunnit genre. What is your take going to be?

How are you directing this production for Theatre Palisades?

It’s amazing to break into this material and really see how detailed Agatha Christie was - which she had to be, as the queen of crime! She put all of these little details, all of these “Easter eggs” into places that will pay off later in scenes. In rehearsal, it’s a challenge. But the payoff is worth it. We just have to cross all of our t’s and dot our i’s, and manage to act in there as well, to pull off this amazing show that’s been done more than any other show ever.

There will be some fun discoveries and connections for those who watch and listen very closely. We are definitely honoring the original script, and we are making it as digestible for a modern audience as possible.

Why did you choose to direct Agatha Christie?

I’ve always been into the genre! As a kid, I was into Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys, and Sherlock Holmes. I loved to try to figure out what was going on before the ending. So this is a really unique opportunity to help shape that experience for other people.

What inspires you as a director?

Probably the most impactful experiences have been working with the classics - working with Shakespeare in particular, where, in addition to the normal things you have to work with in a play, you have this heightened language that you have to make seem commonplace. You have to get the actors to emote through the language, and to get them to be able to communicate in a way that modern people can hear.

I also have a background in Opera, which is very helpful, because in many cases with that genre, the audience is just looking at supertitles and may have no idea what’s going on! So you really have to make sure the performers are communicating physically and emotively for the audience to be able to follow the story all the way through.

We know directing is only one of your many skills and talents. What are some of the others?

I’m a session singer. Recently, I sang on the new Lion King movie soundtrack, which was an amazing experience! I also do fight work, sword work in particular. I’m a fight coordinator and I run a stage combat school.

So it’s a weird, eclectic mix but it all comes together when I'm directing or acting.

I went to the University of Georgia where I was a double major in Music and Drama, and I also studied Martial Arts and Fencing. A counselor there directed me to go into entertainment where all of these skills could come together. No one cares if a concert pianist can throw a side-kick, but an actor who can play piano and throw a kick is more valuable. And this is true with directors as well. So I changed my music focus to film composition, and fighting into stage combat.

What shows are on your future wish list? Besides all of Shakespeare, of course...

Hamlet was one of my first professional gigs, which I did 170 times! I’d like to do something like David Ives (All in the Timing) again, an evening of one-acts. I love hilarious one-acts like that, so either specifically David Ives, or someone who is similar. Also, some of the parodies to the classics are fun, like Fortinbras. I’ve always wanted to direct that. So maybe have a run of Hamlet on a double bill with Fortinbras.


The Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie, is performing at Theatre Palisades from August 30 through October 6, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm.

You can purchase tickets via phone at 310-454-1970 or via http://www.theatrepalisades.com/ Tickets are $20-22.

Address: Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Cyn. Rd., Pacific Palisades.

For cast and crew interviews, join their facebook page at facebook.com/theatrepalisades.

The Mousetrap is produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – August 12 - 18, 2019

Theatrical shows NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar!
For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

THE LONESOME WEST, BY MARTIN MCDONAGH

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VALERIE PERRI AND JACK & BENNY LIPSON: ALL IN THE FAMILY

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SYLUS 2020!

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EVITA

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IMPRO THEATRE'S SHAKESPEARE UNSCRIPTED AT NORTH COAST REP

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THE ADVENTURES OF PETER RABBIT

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HANDJOB

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FERTILE: A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE EXPECTATION OF PROCREATION

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DIRTY TRICKS W/ THE NEW BAD BOYS OF MAGIC

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ATHENA

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LAST SWALLOWS

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Female Fusion Spotlight on Arianne MacBean

Arianne MacBean is a writer, educator and Artistic Director of The Big Show Co., a LA-based interdisciplinary performance group. Although when asked how she would describe herself she leads with choreographer, her biography on her company page does not list that among her many titles. In contrast, her Instagram profile defines her as “Choreographer, Writer, Educator, Girl Gang Boss.” She dances and performs with her company, but specifically says that she is no longer a dancer. This enigmatic question of self categorization set off a conversation full of layered responses and complex ideas related to identity, process and creation. Her journey to become the artistic force that she is today was and continues to be long, winding and constantly evolving.

Like most creatives in Los Angeles, MacBean wears many hats, has numerous titles and shoulders many responsibilities. In addition to being the director and force behind the Big Show Co., she was the Director of the Dance Program at Oakwood Secondary School for eighteen years, and is now adjunct faculty at Cal State University Long Beach, Pasadena City College, and Glendale Community College. Her classes include graduate seminars in Dance Management, graduate level Modern Technique and Composition, Beginning and Intermediate Hip Hop, Modern Technique and Dance History. She is a regular facilitator of professional development workshops for LAUSD teachers on how to promote diversity in the classroom through movement. Through the Big Show Company, she leads Memory Writing Workshops at Casa Treatment Center in Pasadena, for women in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, and she has spent many years working with U.S. military veterans leading free Memory Writing & Movement Workshops. She is a published author. Her academic dance works include Dancing into Diversity – a curriculum for self-discovery, empathy and creative leadership, which was published in the 2014 special teacher edition of The Journal of Dance Education and Scripting the Body, an essay and curriculum which was published in 2001 and which continues to guide her work today. She also wrote a charming children’s book, Backyard Fairies. In 2012, she was awarded the year-long CHIME Mentorship Grant, produced by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company in San Francisco, which is a mentorship program for professional choreographers. Other recent awards include the 2018-19 Cultural Trailblazer Award and 2016-17 Artist-in-Residence Grant from the City of Los Angeles' Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as the 2016-17 & 2017-18 California Arts Council Veterans Initiative in the Arts Grant.

The Big Show Co. was founded in 1998 and has five core members. In addition to MacBean, the company includes Angelina Attwell, Genevieve Carson, Brad Culver, and Max Eugene.

left to right: Max Eugene, Arianne MacBean, Genevieve Carson, Brad Culver, and Angelina Attwell. Photo: Dyanne Cano

Both men began as actors and have become movers. The women are all technical dancers, but as they have worked together for over a decade, those lines have become blurred. What you see in The Big Show Co.’s work is the result of literal years of breaking down then rebuilding creativity.

“When that core group came together, we started to develop this creative process. It was unlike anything we had ever done before and we started making work that was unlike anything we had ever seen before and we called it dance theatre. We generated the text and the movement simultaneously and we started to refine and then I started to think about the creative problem solving…..to codify it, to think of it not just as creating material for performance but as a way of processing information that feels to me a little bit more authentic to life.”

“I grew up, even in grad school with this idea of the integrity of the art. There was a lot of judgement…that these ideas need to be completed. I still feel all of those things and bring all of that but I wanted process to reflect what I wanted to show up on the stage which was much more dynamic and not tied up or wrapped up in a string, which is much more reflective of the way I live; I have ideas, they come, they melt away, I’m laughing, then I’m crying because I am so sad at what I’m laughing at and then I’m pissed and I love this person then I hate them all in the same minute. We called it the creative problem solving method.” She jokes that naming the process was mostly for grant writing purposes.

Once they had solidified and codified this method, they looked out, away from the core group of dancers/performers and sought to apply it to more diverse communities. At the suggestion of a friend’s husband, himself a veteran, she started working with groups of veterans in free workshops and began to develop the idea of memory making as a performative act. A result of that undertaking was The Collective Memory Project, a show that was developed and performed at The Ford Theatres in June of 2018. Creating the show was a three year long process.

The Collective Memory Project at The Ford Theatres, June 2018 Photo: Timothy Norris

Joining the core company members for the Collective Memory Project in June were Heraclio Aguilar, Edem Atsu-Swanzy, Armen Babasoloukisn, and Priscilla Songsanand. It is impossible to write about all of the elements of this incredible performance so I have linked to two reviews, The Berkeley Daily Telegraph and Broadway World. I would also urge you to check out the Work in Progress video: The Collective Memory Project, and both the Collective Memory Project Promotional Video and The Collective Memory Project Reel. I saw both the developmental workshop and the performance. It was astounding and glorious and emotional. As MacBean says so eloquently, “Every veteran wears their service differently.” The journeys taken throughout the evening were both immense and minute and all of it was intensely moving.

When asked about her work as an activist, the issue of self identity was once again raised. “I don’t really see myself as an activist. The work that I do is creative work and I think it is activism, but it is a collaborative community process and its this really intuitive listening and pushing and guiding and listening and pushing and guiding. And re-visioning with the material that comes in front of me, we start with text and start mining human experience. Then you have to guide these non-performers into thinking performatively and thinking about storytelling, but there is the goal of art, but that separates from the trauma of it...”

That stated, there are multiple avenues that Arianne pursues with the creative memory writing process; Memory Writing Workshops, Memory Movement Workshops and Creative problem solving. For example, in addition to veterans, she works with women in recovery from addiction. These workshops are mainly writing, though as with everything that Arianne is associated with, movement finds a way in. In contrast to the work that led to the Collective Memory Project, the workshops are not performative. They are about personal growth and the journey that each individual takes.

All of this creativity, whether focused on a performative or personal goal is intense and can be triggering for both the participants and MacBean. The related issues of balance and care came up in our conversation in numerous ways: in regards to being a mom and teacher, as a guide and therapeutic leader, and in her family life. MacBean has a husband and two tween daughters. She is close to her parents, who live in Berkeley, where she grew up. Her mom has stage four breast cancer and was just diagnosed with Dementia and Alzheimers. There is a lot to juggle and she is open about having her own therapist to help deal with it all. Even with the stress, MacBean expresses gratitude and excitement for her complicated family and life, and for how she has grown artistically with and as a result of it. Once she had kids, she found that she had to start integrating more of the sides of herself, moving on from the heady space of academia into a softer, more accepting place. Her motherhood and teaching is intertwined with her creative output. “It’s all part of the process...with my family, we have always danced." She found that there was a stripping down of self restriction and self judgement both in her own work and in the work she of others she watched. She had to let go of the pretentiousness of it all, the academic certainty of right and wrong when it came to art and open up to much more fun. “I had to start to watch musical theater, and LOVE it!” She shares a family tradition; the Backyard Big Show. Friends and family who love to dance but may not be dancers themselves come together to create once a year. Everyone brings a dish to share and a dance for the show. The Backyard Big Show echos the work she does with her company. It is an organic process of working with communities and creating art while not taking yourself seriously. There really is a lot of play, both in the family celebration and in the creation of ultimately serious but still entertaining and joyous dance theatre.

From The Big Show Co Instagram

MacBean and The Big Show Co. will be in residence at the Ford Theatres in the Fall 2019 with a new project entitled, She/Her: Memory Trace - dance theatre exploring femininity and the military veteran experience. The project was inspired partially from a memory that was explored in the first show; attending San Francisco Ballet performances at the Opera House with her mom. She was already thinking about the influences of mothers, women and feminine energy on memory when one of the veterans contacted her about writing about his mom. This desire was partially inspired by the journey that MacBean is going through with her own. “I started to think about the military and men and this really male dominated space and how do they feel about the women in their lives, and how the women in their lives have affected how they think of themselves as men in relation to the military. Then I thought about the very few women who did come to our writing workshops and how they had extremely different experiences than the men, which then made me wonder about my own relationship with ‘femaleness’. I have always been more of a masculine woman. I have never been much of a girly girl. Nathan Clum, The Dramaturg and Co-Facilitator for all Collective Memory Project Writing Workshops, is gay and he is always thinking about his femaleness and we are in this new culture with gender fluidity being so much more accepted than before. The show will jump from this perspective to further explore the idea of durable memory and seek to discover at a deeper level why and how “memory and identity is a creative act.”

The Big Show Co. is still seeking veterans to work on this new project.

Paid Workshops and Performance!
Male & Female Veterans Wanted!
Must be available on the following dates/times:

- Workshops: Sundays, September 8, 15, 22, 29, October 6, 13, 27; 10am - 1pm at the Ford’s Community Room
- Project Launch Showing on the Terrace at the Ford Theatre, Saturday, November 2, 10-4pm. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
- Wrap-Up Workshop: Sunday, November 17; 10-1pm

Project Launch Showing at the Ford Theatres:
Saturday, November 2, 2019
10am-4pm

If you are interested, please send a resume via their website contact form at TheBigShowCo.com/contact.

There is so much more to Arianne MacBean than is possible to share in this article; her love for Hip Hop, her passion for teaching, the joy that talking about her children brings to her face. I would encourage you to check out her irreverent Instagram account, her amazing performances, and maybe take part in one of the workshops. The possibilities that are opened up by her work and collaborations are infinite.


Audio Interview: The cast of “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” at the Antaeus Theatre Company

Set deep in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia against a backdrop of violence and injustice, The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a play within a play. Amidst the rubble of a bombed out village in the aftermath of World War II, farmers debating the best use of their land enact a parable in which a humble kitchen maid risks her life to rescue an abandoned baby from civil war.*

Enjoy this interview with the cast of “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” at the Antaeus Theatre Company, playing through Aug 26th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.

*taken from the website

 


Audio Interview: The cast of “Renovations for Six” at Theatre 40

A young couple (new in town) decide to host a dinner party so they can make friends and promote their business. They invite a couple who have abandoned their song-and-dance act and show biz to raise their daughter; and a haughty psychiatrist and her engineer husband who has given up his high-paying job to write a novel. All three couples are stressed, undergoing house renovations, and could use a little fix-up in the relationship department as well. All hell breaks loose at the dinner party in this fast-paced comedy where couples, designs and cultures clash. The party will have a surprising impact on all six lives.*

Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Renovations for Six” at Theatre 40, playing through Aug 18th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.

*taken from the website

 


Audio Interview: The cast of “Dancing at Lughnasa” at Atwater Village Theatre

Dancing at Lughnasa is set in the summer of 1936 during the Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasa. Five unmarried sisters — Kate, Maggie, Agnes, Rose and Chris — live in the rural Irish countryside outside the tiny village of Ballybeg.*

Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Dancing at Lughnasa” at Atwater Village Theatre, playing through Aug 18th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.

*taken from the website


Audio Interview: The cast of “WEST SIDE STORY” at 5-STAR THEATRICALS

Set on the streets of 1950s New York City, WEST SIDE STORY is a gripping, modern rendition of Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet. Tony and Maria are young lovers in a forbidden relationship, caught in a web of intolerance and vengeance that threatens to tear them apart. Since debuting on Broadway in 1957, WEST SIDE STORY has become one of the most beloved and riveting musicals in theater history.*

Enjoy this interview with the cast of “West Side Story” at 5-STAR THEATRICALS, playing through Aug 4th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.

*taken from the website


The Second Annual 'She L.A. Summer Theater Festival' Opens at the 'Zephyr'

The 2nd Annual "She L.A. Summer Theater Festival" at the Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood opens Tuesday, July 30, 2019, with five original full-length works by women-identifying writers.

Produced by She NYC Arts, She L.A. "was borne out of the desire of artists in the LA area to bring the She NYC Summer Theater Festival to the west coast", which "supports the creation and production of meaningful, powerful, and commercially viable works by women writers, composers, directors, and actors." As a non-profit,  SheNYC Arts, Inc. receives a generous grant from The Puffin Foundation, which, along with donations from theatre patrons,  enables them to provide a free program for high-school girls interested in producing and writing for the theatre through their CreateHer program.

Rehearsal of "She's Not There" for the 2nd Annual She LA Summer Theater Festival 2019, at the Zephyr Theatre, Hollywood. Photo courtesy of She L.A./ SheNYC.

Here is an overview of the fives shows featured in this year's festival:

"To Each His Own" by Nakisa Aschtiani - A few months after 9/11, Sharzahd Jensen, a caregiver, arrives for her newest assignment: as a live-in aid to an elderly, blind Iranian man. New to the town, she befriends a kind lawyer. A few days in, Sharzahd notices harassing letters and graffiti targeted towards her new patient, but who is the real victim and who can she trust?

Aschtiani returns to the Festival as a part of SheLA, where her previous play, "Children of Camelot," was a part of SheNYC in 2017. In addition to playwriting, Aschtiani has been an active member of the theatre world for over twenty years as an actor and producer. Her third play, "Bismillah," is also playing this summer in the Fresh Fruit Festival in NYC.

The show, scheduled on Sunday, August 4th at 12 p.m., is an enhanced performance for blind and visually impaired patrons.

Rehearsal of "Charlie Boyd" for the 2nd Annual She LA Summer Theater Festival 2019, at the Zephyr Theatre, Hollywood. Photo courtesy of She L.A./ SheNYC.

Multi-award winning playwright Ali MacLean’s "She's Not There" focuses on how a third-party threatens the relationship of a contented couple. That third-party: a shadowy form that seeps into the walls to attempt to kill one of them. "The play anthropomorphizes depression and explores how it can devastate a person and the lives of those around them."

MacLean’s work has been performed and workshopped at the HBO Workspace, Comedy Central Stage, A Noise Within, Antaeus Theatre, and The Ensemble Studio Theatre. "She’s Not There" has been performed in the Screencraft Stage Play Competition, The Garry Marshall Theatre New Works, The Dennis and Victoria Ross Foundation Project, and won the John Gassner Playwriting Award.

The show scheduled on Friday, August 2nd, will have a talkback with the creative team and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services following the 8:30 p.m. performance.

"Do Us Part" by Karen Lukesh is a comedy about a bitter couple who accidentally reunite in their home the day before their divorce is finalized. "A quagmire of egos, misplaced feelings, and stubborn pride" follow, but the future of their relationship is anyone's guess.

Rehearsal of "Between the Colored Lines & Other Black Girl Tales" for the 2nd Annual She LA Summer Theater Festival 2019, at the Zephyr Theatre, Hollywood. Photo courtesy of She L.A./ SheNYC.

Playwright and director Lukesh's "Do Us Part" won the Special Marquee Award in the 2017 American Movie Awards stage play division, and her feature scripts, TV pilots, shorts, and stage plays have garnered numerous writing awards in contests such as Gimme Credit, BlueCat, Page International, Final Draft Big Break, and the Nicholls Fellowship. A seasoned playwright and screenwriter, she provides script consultation on her site KarenLukesh.com.

"Charlie Boyd" by Allie Wittner is a comedy about a college student home from Winter break, whose friend, Charlie Boyd, "re-enters her life abruptly after a shared secret compelled him to disappear. Set amidst a Hanukkah rivalry, this madcap romance brings you love, betrayal, drugs, crossword puzzles, mysterious visitors, and many, many menorahs."

Originally from Salem, Massachusetts, Wittner makes her playwriting debut with "Charlie Boyd."  Formerly a member of the sketch comedy troupe Chocolate Cake City in Boston, Wittner's previous performance credits include "The Donkey Show" at the American Repertory Theatre and "We Are Pussy Riot."

"Between the Colored Lines & Other Black Girl Tales" is a poetic stage play by Tiffani Dean that features a married couple at a turning point, where a wager determines who holds the proverbial remote control during Monday Night football. This innovative stage play with dance, music, and poetry chronicles the next few weeks of their relationship, as the dramas that play out on TV shed light into the real-life relationship that has been happening on their couch all along.

Dean, from Philadelphia, is an author, playwright, poet, executive director, executive producer, co-founder of Family Poetry Collective, co-founder The Collective Mic, LLC, The Collective Mic Productions, The Collective Mic School Of The Arts, and The Collective Mic Art Gallery & Arts Café.

The 2nd Annual "She L.A. Summer Theater Festival" at the Zephyr Theatre:

"To Each His Own" by Nakisa Aschtiani
Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 4, 2019, 12:00 p.m.*

*Sunday, August 4th at 12 p.m. is an enhanced performance for blind and visually impaired patrons.

"She’s Not There" by Ali MacLean
Friday, August 2, 2019, at 8:30 p.m.*

*Friday, August 2, 2019, will have a talkback with the creative team and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services following the 8:30 p.m. performance.

"Do Us Part" by Karen Lukesh
Wednesday, July 31, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 5:00 p.m.

"Charlie Boyd" by Allie Wittner
Thursday, August 1, 2019, at 7:30, 2019, p.m.
Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 2:00 p.m.

"Between the Colored Lines and Other Black Girl Tales" by Tiffani Dean
Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 4, 2019, at 5:30 p.m.

The Zephyr Theatre is at 7456 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Tickets are $20 are available at  SheLAArts.org.

SheNYC Arts, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, made possible in part by a generous grant from The Puffin Foundation and from theatre patron donations.


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – July 22 - 28, 2019

Theatrical shows, Film Festivals, Cabaret, and Music Programs  NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar, including Hollywood Fringe Festival Encore! Producers and Best of Broadwater Award recipients.

For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

Treya's Last Dance

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Goosebumps the Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium

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TRUE WEST

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Harry Potter & The Forbidden RUSH

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A Midsummer Night's Dream Anniversary Show

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GOOD MOURNING

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BARRYMORE

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I'M NOT A COMEDIAN...I'M LENNY BRUCE

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But, I'm Almost Famous?

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SHAME OF THRONES: The Musical

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Dido and Aeneas and Gianni Schicchi

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Dance in Flight

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Songfest

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Futureproof

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Kristine W and Ada Vox In Concert

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Ragtime

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Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

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The Cherry Orchard

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Darlene Love

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Ruben Sings Luther

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Blake Pouliot, violin

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Naturally 7

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An Evening of Stories and Songs with Chris Hillman featuring Herb Pedersen

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Simply Three

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Versa Style Dance Company

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Leo Kottke

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Taimane: Elemental Tour

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Phil Norman Tentet

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Viva MOMIX

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The Rainbow Fish

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Take Me to the River Live! – Celebrating the Music of New Orleans

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Zlatomir Fung, cello

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Tommy Emmanuel with Special Guest Jim and Morning Nichols

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PODCAST: Interview of "Coin & Ghost's" Rob Adler and Zachary Reeve Davidson, 2nd Season and 'Bad Hamlet' at 'New American'

An interview with Artistic Director and C0-Producer, Zachary Reeve Davidson, and Director, Rob Adler, of Coin & Ghost, on their world premiere play, "Bad Hamlet: An Irreverent, Interactive, Inventive Bootleg," which opens today at New American Theatre in Hollywood and their second season, MYTH-REMEMBERED.

Davidson and Adler, discuss the interactive aspect of "Bad Hamlet," which is based on the legend of “the bad quarto," and explores the "intersection of Shakespeare, memory, modern technology and Los Angeles."

"Bad Hamlet" kicks off Coin & Ghost's MYTH-REMEMBERED, which includes Cecilia Fairchild's "Mama, Mama, Can't You See," directed by Davidson, a simultaneously "modern war story and a spirit dance on the outside edge of death," and "Breakfast in Moscow," directed by Alex Demers, which is based on Chekhov’s "Three Sisters" and reimagined as a rock-opera using music from the 1979 Supertramp album, "Breakfast in America."

In addition to Davidson, the "Bad Hamlet" ensemble includes Casey Dunn, Julián Juaquín, Akshaya Pattanayak, Chris Schultz, Hannah Trujillo, Lauren Vitz, Marguerite French, and Elisa Rosin.

"Bad Hamlet" is every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. from Thursday, July 25, 2019, through Saturday, August 24, 2019. Tickets are $25 for general admission. They will also offer a healthy mix of Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) tickets for certain shows, which includes the Preview on July 25, 2019, as well as every ticket during the second and third weekends, August 1 - 10, 2019. For tickets and more information visit Coin & Ghost.

The New American Theatre is located at 1312 N. Wilton Place, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Suggested age limit is 16-years or older due to adult themes and conversations. Mobile phone use will be encouraged for this production.


JOAN OF ART: Tarantino, Vice is Nice, and Art Share

I love Quentin Tarantino's films. I've seen every single one of the them more then twice and I know, having seen "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" at a press screening early this week, I will definitely be seeing it again.

This time Tarantino takes us on a trip back to 1969. The place is Hollywood, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) discover as they make their way around an industry that they hardly recognize anymore.

The ninth film from this writer/director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood's Golden Age. The film is touching, funny and knowing what winds up happening...horrifying.

"Once Upon A Time in Hollywood" opens in theatre July 26th. Also in the cast is Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry in his last role and the wonderful Margot Robbie who plays Sharon Tate capturing her childlike innocence and joy which adds to the audience's pain of knowing her fate.

Compared to all of Quentin's other films, this one is the least violent. It has plenty of humor and insight into a time long gone.

'Once Upon A Time in Hollywood' starts Friday and will be playing in theaters all around town, but get your tickets as soon as possible. I'm sure the film will be selling out quickly.

VICE IS NICE is the next thing on my list and it is not at all what it sounds like. This is an event put on by the Animal Rescue Alliance on Saturday, July 27th from 6:30pm to 11pm. You will have a blast at this event and at the same time make a big difference in the lives of animals are in need of a home.

Last year over 750 animal lovers attended VICE IS NICE and helped raise much needed funds for the Animal Rescue Alliance. This 10th annual event will be the best one ever. Music, dancing, drinks, food, raffle, casino games, tarot card reading and more.

The Animal Rescue Alliance rescues and finds loving homes for abandoned and abused companion and farmed animals. They offer sanctuary to those animals that have special needs and for which it is more difficult to find a good home. The animals come from a variety of backgrounds...from homeless strays and feral animals to rescues from kill shelters and hoarding situations.

Wherever and whenever they see an animal in distress, they help. This is one of my favorite organizations. All an animal wants is to be loved and in return they are forever grateful. I always say, an animal always knows when you save their life. Why not support an organization that does just that?

The Animal Rescue Alliance (TARA) is located at Rancho Providencia, a peaceful four acre ranch in Chatsworth. TARA is a haven for goats, horses, donkeys, parrots, geese, cats and dogs. Their address is 10945 Old Santa Susana Pass Road, Chatsworth, CA 91311.

For tickets and more information go to TheAnimalRescueAlliance.org. or call 818-256-0060.

THE FUTURE IS NOW is a free art show that starts on July 27th and runs through August 11th.

Art Share LA'S 'The Future Is Now" poses the question: What then, does our future look like? Will it be a warning? A call to Action? A celebration of ingenuity? Witness for yourself what the future for you, Los Angeles, and the world may hold. Intriguing? VERY.

Art Share LA is located downtown at 801 East 4th Place, Los Angeles. They are opened Wednesday-Sunday 1-6pm.

For more information call them at 213-687-4278 or email them not only about their upcoming shows, but submitting art work as well at... ArtShareLA.org.

While you are downtown you might want to head over to the REDCAT theatre to check out THE NEW ORIGINAL WORKS FESTIVAL 2019. At REDCAT you will find some of the world's most intriguing envelope-pushing avant-garde theatre, film, music and performance art.

This Annual New Original Works Festival launches nine new works by Los Angeles emerging and mid-career artists who are redefining the boundaries of contemporary performance to invent hybrid artistic disciplines, re-imagine traditions and confront urgent issues. All artistic teams receive free rehearsal space, tech support and artist fees.

The 16th Annual New Original Works Festival kicks off with a program of works by solo artist Sola Bamis; visual and performing artists, Zach Dorn and Danielle Dahl; choreographer Katherine Helen Fisher and Andrew Ondrejcak's THE MUSES renders a suite of lush and riotous dances that conjures a communal space in celebration of the divine feminine.

For more information and for future performances go to RedCat.org.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, make it a fun one people.