Writer: David MacDowell Blue

David MacDowell Blue has been reviewing Los Angeles theatre via his blog "Night Tinted Glasses" since 2012. He has a degree in Theatre Arts and graduated from New York's National Shakespeare Conservatory. At different times, he has acted, directed, written plays and designed things from sets to lights to costumes. Born in San Francisco, he ended up raised in Florida (where he lived through twelve--yes TWELVE--hurricanes) then eventually landed in Los Angeles.
Feb

Two Trains Running at Matrix

When I look at this play, that is what I come away with. Hope in all its terrible sweetness, a siren voice which brings disappointment even heartbreak, yet not always. As addictive as a drug, save this drug sometimes turns out to be medicine. Actually, that was what drugs were invented as, right? At play’s end, I myself feel so much hope for all these people–and most of all maybe for Risa, whose backstory we never learn yet by the power of words and performance and staging we feel as wildly real.

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Feb

Too Heavy for Your Pocket

Bozie, who seems our hero, clearly plays the role of clown, and his friends enjoy it. Truth to tell, they all have wonderful senses of humor. Yet there’s an edge, one we see first in Bozie. Even as they celebrate his acceptance into college, he has a brief explosion of rage amid his own pride. What lies behind it?

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Feb

THE POW AND THE GIRL

But what stands out remains my emotional reaction. I’m too jaded to be satisfied by a play that goes through the motions or performances that don’t ultimately feel like human beings talking, reacting, deciding. Sarah, Paul and Johnny ended up a trio who touched my heart. What happens with, to and by them by play’s end feels achieved. More it reminds us there’s more to life than tragedy or regret, even if we are very lucky not to end up with lots of both.

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Feb

A Permanent Image by Samuel D Hunter

This play seems far more akin to Edward Albee, his existential exploration of human questions. Who are we in this cosmos? What decisions and reactions emerge from the mysterious alchemy which makes up our lives? How much can one person’s answers be of any aid to anyone else? And amid all this, one of the very last lines in the play resonates in to my soul and out to the stars. “I wish we knew each other better.”

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Feb

Brilliant Traces

…it ends up very funny.   No, really, the weird things each of them say, and the reactions they give alone are just a delight.  Both in a real sense are not only ducks out of water, they seem like all sorts of different creatures, each totally removed from their natural environs.  Moles in the air, elephants at sea, camels on a glacier–take your pick.  Really, the effect proves not only hilarious but deeply illuminating–and not only to we the audience.  Not least because when you think about it, both of them must feel in danger.  Yet there’s nowhere to go.  No one to help or flee from or run to save each other and themselves.

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Feb

The 39 Steps

Readers of this blog probably know how much I likes me some angst, some tragedy, some drama both personal and existential. But I also love a good laugh and such is what this show delivers!

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Jan

The Diary Of Anne Frank

Perhaps to emphasize this even more, the director took a startling but powerful chance: Having read that some refugees are hiding from ICE in safe houses here in Los Angeles, director Stan Zimmerman decided to use that as the frame for the whole show. In a place not unlike the Annex of the book, Latin American refugees gather with copies of the script and begin reading the play aloud. Soon, in a not very clear transition, they go from reading the play to becoming the characters in the story.

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Jan

Definition of Man

During the course of an hour, in dance and drama, movement and aching words, not only do they wallow in their own issues, but slowly (sometimes quickly) whittle away at what underlies them, to their most primal shapes. It gets ugly. It also becomes beautiful, as they learn so much about each others’ pain. Once all things are exposed, all wounds revealed, every dark or neurotic impulse with their consequences now stand naked–then real communication happens.

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Jan

SOUL CRUSHING DISCO BALL

But a few problems do pop up. One I just mentioned. Both actors. As in two and only two. The play has numerous scenes, jumping “o’re time” in a way that makes perfect sense for the story–going from childhood to teenage years, early adulthood, marriages, etc. But this requires in effect the entire cast to leave the stage ever few minutes and do a costume change. Literally, the play stops. I’ve seen this kind of thing gotten around before, but it always proves tricky.

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Jan

The Diary Of Anne Frank

Having read that some refugees are hiding from ICE in safe houses here in Los Angeles, director Stan Zimmerman decided to use that as the frame for the whole show. In a place not unlike the Annex of the book, Latin American refugees gather with copies of the script and begin reading the play aloud. Soon, in a not very clear transition, they go from reading the play to becoming the characters in the story.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

Special

The roller coaster ride involved uses six very talented actors to perform the forty roles, come of them commenting to the audience about what really happened, others playing everything from extras to nerds eagerly awaiting the special, to many of the execs and actors directly involved.

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Dec

THE BLACK HOLE

And I just kept laughing! Even when my eyes popped or my jaw dropped at some casual mention of perversion, corruption, kinky gossip, or uber-jaded suggestion–I laughed. Sometimes I squirmed, and there was even a moment near the end when my flesh crawled a little bit.

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Dec

Clarissant

After the fall of Camelot and wars rack what was once a united England, Mordred’s Clarissant finds herself the Queen of the Orkney Isles. In theory. But something holds her back from even considering a desire to take that throne. She grew up here, and firmly believes their mother cursed her brothers, dooming Camelot and Arthur’s dream. But did she curse her daughter? If she did, then to claim that crown will doom this land beyond hope.

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Dec

KING LEAR

The world of King Lear has all the virtues and good things of life. What makes the story so dark is how fragile all that proves. Society dissolves into chaos. Because an old man got cranky. Peace became war. Because another old man made a mistake. Yet is it really all down to Lear and Gloucester?

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Dec

Love’s Labour’s Lost

The sweetness of the silly love stories, the antic goings on, the misadventures–at one time involving a lot of wonderfully inventive masks and costumes–work all the better for a dashes here and there of the bittersweet. A moment of casual cruelty by someone who isn’t generally cruel. A reminder of personal tragedy. A human moment of humiliation. But amid trap doors, wit, practical jokes on top of practical jokes, the wise and foolish as well as the high and low spouting what they think is wisdom and what they hope is true love.

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Dec

White Nights, Black Paradise

White Nights, Black Paradise aims to accomplish much–recreating a bizarre and sprawling series of events that in truth stretched back decades, and thousands of individuals each with a personal history and story. Not easy. Not impossible, but a difficult challenge. Honestly the success ends up mixed.

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Nov

Blue Surge

What do you do when someone you care about is in vast trouble and helping them endangers you? If you are habitually, almost painfully honest and have been trying to live a lie, what comes out of your mouth once the damn breaks? When someone hurts you, what do you say? Do you strike out? How about if someone’s pain makes you deeply uncomfortable? What do you do when your life becomes one failure after another after another after another?

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Nov

Turkeys! The Musical

This is where the whole thing gets a tiny bit brilliant, combining as it were Rogers & Hammerstein’s Carousel with George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

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Nov

A Mile In My Shoes

Others have been treading water in the ocean for years. We don’t like to think about them. Understandably. We like to pretend homelessness is a choice. Or the result of some flaw in character. Less than three days before I saw A Mile in My Shows, the driver of a Metro bus carrying me to another show was loudly telling everyone how the homeless did this to themselves, they chose this life, they never even try to anything to help themselves. It is a common idea. Lots of folks are stupid enough to believe it.

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Nov

Anatomy of a Hug

Eventually we do learn the situation.  Sonia is Amelia’s mother, who has spent decades in prison for the murder of her husband and Amelia’s father.  Now, as she enters the final stages of a terminal cancer, Sonia has been granted compassionate release.  In all this time, her daughter has never visited her.  Never written.  Naturally one wonders why she agreed to allow this stranger into her small apartment?

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