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.
Sep

Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

Most of all, the whole thing flows together as this organic and quite fun-filled whole, with an emphasis more than anything else on the feel of events--one where everything matters and nothing, where love is delightful but baffling, where humor and good cheer prove an excellent way to meet life's challenges. Meanwhile, never forget foolishness remains our birthright as mortals.

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Jul

The Last Croissant

A story of people who go into the words and are changed by it. I smiled. I laughed. I shed a tear or two while wanting to hit a couple of characters upside the head.

And in the end, I emerged from the woods a little changed myself.

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Jul

The Bully Problem

But here is my favorite bit. Its message, given in action rather than words. Hope for the bullied children of this world. You are not alone. Time is on your side. You can endure and even win. And reaching out to others like yourself helps so very very much. That in the end, the bullies are not even portrayed as sociopaths or demons but rather fools who need to grow up--I liked that very much. Honestly, I wish I had seen this musical when I was the age of its cast of characters. It would have helped. A lot.

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Jul

FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation

Quiet joys and disappointments make up most of our lives, and navigating them remains the focus of this lovely and intimate tale. We care about Jenny and her friends. We grow to know her (and her husband) better and better, so in this honest and startling (as well as funny) odyssey we increasingly understand. We hopefully gain a little of the wisdom they do. Drop by drop. Each one precious. Each one to be savored.

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Jun

Saving Cain

What this show, written by Aaron Kozak, offers proves very compelling indeed. No less important, it surprises. Saving Cain was described to me as the story of a rebellious teenager trying to deal with his born-again Pentecostal control-freak of a mother. I expected one of two things: Either a dark comedy or a polemic against a certain brand (at least) of Fundamentalist Christianity. Maybe both.

I got something a lot better.

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Jun

EXIT THE KING

Every detail makes sense.  More, every details forms part of  a dynamic drama/comedy taking place.  From the Doctor's bizarre method of walking, Marguarite's empowered way of watching, listening, and waiting, the King's yo-yo style of ever increasing panic, even the Guard's barely-successful blowing of his trumpet--all are played to the hilt and given meaning in each moment.  We don't understand, yet we do.  We cannot say why it all makes a weird kind of sense, but it feels somehow cohesive amid the slippery nature of reality itself.

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Jun

Bronco Billy - The Musical

But more--and more than the good songs, the consistently fine performances, the clever staging, the general paraphernalia of the musical--it is how the hint we all belong here, we are all misfits looking for a home, for family, for love that gives this show its power.

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Feb

America Adjacent

Yes, it decries cruelty and inhumanity--and I hope down to my soul such is not seen as some kind of agenda to stir suspicion--but it offers no solutions, no policies, no proposed legislation, no political candidate. Instead, the play tells human stories, urging us to feel compassion for our fellows.

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Feb

ANNA KARENINA

Great art does not usually offer answers.  Tolstoy's novel certainly does not, but rather asks profound questions and does not allow any easy answers.  Such was my experience watching this adaptation, which left me deeply moved and haunted by these people, all of them, and I ponder their choices.  Their tragedies.  And their victories.  For that the script and cast and director Heather Chesley deserve a lot of credit.

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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

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.

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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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ADS
  • Give Up the Ghost at the First Christian Church of Whittier
  • Fefu and her Friends at the Odyssey Theatre
  • DIRTY TRICKS w/ The New Bad Boys of Magic

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