Clarissant

Critics

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 4

Audience

LemonMeter

88 %

Reviews: 4

Camelot has fallen. The heroes of the Round Table are dead and gone. The divided kingdoms turn to a reclusive princess in the barren islands of northern Scotland, the last survivor of the royal line, to take power and to lead Britain out of darkness. Her name is Clarissant. Her mother, Morgause, was King Arthurs sister and a wicked sorceress whose power continues to choke Camelot from beyond the grave. Rather than wear the crown offered to her, Clarissant uses the magic of her ancestors to try desperately to bring back the golden days when her brothers lived to serve the great King Arthur. Is it truly her destiny to rule Britain? Or the final step in her mothers curse? In this innovative new play by Shakespeare and Medieval scholar Hailey Bachrach, a dynamite ensemble of eight women takes on the chivalry and epic quests of King Arthurs Camelot. Magic, sword fighting, true love, and imagination abound in Little Candle Productions' World Premiere at Atwater Village Theatre. ALL PERFORMANCES WILL BE PAY WHAT YOU CAN. We never want a ticket price to stand in the way of our company's belief that theatre can be for everyone. Whether you can afford a little or a lot, you are welcome. Productions at this venue typically range in price from $25 - $35.

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Reviews

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"Clarissant, an original play in its world premiere as presented by Little Candle Productions at the Atwater Village Theatre, is a mix of some very fine acting with some mediocre and confusing acting, but a much better ratio of good to bad than is the standard with many small Los Angeles shows. Even those actors who were not fully on their game had strong vocal quality. Never once in the show did I struggle to hear or understand anything. The script and Arthurian fantasy plot was very engaging. Written by a historian who has spent many years researching these legends, you could feel a genuine love and interest for the subject matter in the story. That transfers to the audience and gains our interest as well. The minimal set design was creative and worked very well for the small space. A stone castle wall with glittering gold lights was particularly effective as was a ragged tapestry dangling in torn shreds center stage. But, speaking of the space, there were some issues specifically related to the venue, which I am given to understand is the smallest of three theater spaces at the Atwater. First off, the sound/light "booth" is in the corner of the audience without any sort of curtain or separation and the light from it was a distraction when much of the stage was dark (which was often). The raked seating is also not quite raked enough to allow the audience to see a lot of what ends up staged sitting/kneeling near the front row. There were a lot of people shifting left to right to try to see those particular moments. Given the audience rake is preset, the staging really ought to have been modified. Finally, the seating is pretty uncomfortable. It sneaks up on you, but within an hour I was pretty desperate to stand up and do some strecthing. Back to the performance aspects, one thing of note is that this show had an entirely female cast (except one) and most of the actresses played multiple parts. I have to admit I had a little difficulty with the double casting at times. Actresses who were very distinctive in appearance and vocal quality playing multiple roles became a bit of a distraction at times. I understand this was probably budget related, but I would have preferred to see the lead roles not doubled up. Some fine performances would have carried even more weight if they had been a little more distinctively separated from character to character. The only other issue with the show I had was related to the movement design and the fights. The action sequences were staged and performed terribly (no sense of drama or story telling and no sense of physical danger) and when the women playing men were fighting the vocalizations were very female indeed. This was a major problem. I'll end the review with a bit of praise for several people in particular: Linzi Graham, Karissa McKinney and Olivia Choate stood out in particular in their roles, making some good choices and staying convincing throughout. The costumer Betsy Roth did a lot with very little. And the set designers Kate Woodruff and Allison Darby Gorjian were also very effective, as mentioned before. Overall a bitter sweet production. I am glad I saw it and if I hadn't caught it right at the very end of the run I would have been happy to recommend it to a few people who would have found aspects of the show very interesting. The end result was that I left feeling a definite desire to see the play staged again in future, just with a few different choices, a proper fight choreographer and a better budget. I would also like to see more from this company in future. There's room for improvement, but they have a good base of talent and creativity which I think could yield some wonderful theatrical experiences."

sweet-sour - Mario Perez


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"Although improvement is possible, this is a good and interesting production of new work, and that always makes it worth seeing. For those of enjoy the Camelot milleau, this is certainly worth seeing. For those that want to support women in the theatre — both on stage, at the author's table, and on the production team — this is also worth seeing. Looking back, I enjoyed it."

sweet - Daniel Faigin - CA Highways - ...read full review


Mark Hein
"After all these centuries, playwright Hailey Bachrach has found a way to fit the King Arthur myth's many pieces together. From a woman's point of view. Little Candle gives "Clarissant" a smart, smooth production for its world premiere. If you're feeling XY, you get sword fights aplenty; if you're feeling a bit more XX, you get all the powerful knights (including Arthur) portrayed by women. And almost every actor takes a turn as a ghost. Are you a Camelot fan, a lover of quasi-medieval romances, or a player of sword-and-sorcery games? You'll find much delight in "Clarisssant." Are you a woman, a feminist of any wave, or an ally? You'll enjoy it even more. This is a worthy unveiling for a happily fresh take on Arthurian myth -- and the angle from which we need to see and tell these stories from now on."

sweet - Mark Hein - Theatre Ghost - ...read full review


David MacDowell Blue
"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."

sweet - David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses - ...read full review


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"Do not miss seeing these 8 strong women skillfully perform their roles in Clarissant! It's a fantastic show all around! Congratulations to the entire cast and crew on a job well done!"

sweet - Kelly Cretti


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"the theme of female empowerment is felt in every aspect of this beautiful original production. there is something for everyone - levity, romance, revenge, witchcraft, family drama, heartbreak, rage. from every member of this strong cast (most in more than one role) to the simple set that keeps the focus on the cast's ability to draw you in at every moment to the spot on medieval costumes and overall, mostly thanks to A+ direction, this show leaves one feeling ready to take on the world. and believing in magic."

sweet - tania verafield


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"Clarissant is phenomenal. I walked into the show excited for the premise but concerned as to how they would pull it off considering that most of the performers pull double duty, but I loved how it turned out. Clarrisant is an original stort based on Arthurian legend where the title character of Clarrisant looks to the past to determine her future. In this way a story develops as we watch the knights and kings of yesterday play out the events of their life and ultimately, their deaths. There was a lot to love here. Betsy Roth's costumes and the set design of Kate Woodruff and Allison Darby Gorjian set the tone of the entire production and were used to great effect, the costumes in particular having an authentic feel that wasn't all suits of armor, but rather leather and furs to give a sense of the wild nature of the time. The writing of Hailey Bachrach was very well researched and set out a clear message and the director, the above mentioned Allison Darby Gorjian, finds a way to bring it to life. The cast is where the play truly shines, however, and everyone deserves praise. Paula Deming is the focal point of the story and is anxiety inducing with her indecisiveness and desperation. Karissa McKinney and Linzi Graham play Lynette and Lyonor, the sisters in law, to perfection with each adding a sense of counterbalance to the other as they advise and steer Clarrisant towards her destiny. Lynette wanting to be patient, but understanding their urgency and Lyonor who wants to be practical, but as the story develops you get a real sense of pain and depth to the character. In fact, Linzi Graham, Kym Allen, and Whitton Frank share what is perhaps my favorite scene of the performance as Frank, playing King Arthur, gives Allen, playing a Sir Gareth, a quest to escort Lyonor. Kym Allen plays Sir Gareth with such earnestness and makes the romance between them so believable that knowing the fate of Sir Gareth ahead of time makes the performance that much more heartbreaking. And Linzi Graham for her part doesn't allow you to forget, really selling the pain and anger of losing someone like that. Whitton Frank plays her dual roles masterfully, first as the roguish Mordred but then filling the stage as the majestic King Arthur. Whitton portrays the weight of responsibility in a way that will make you not envy the position of a king. Renèe Torchio MacDonald brings out one of the most intense performances as Sir Gaheris, with an anger that could be felt in the audience. Olivia Choate balanced the roles of the very studious Sir Gawain with the lovable but quietly dangerous Sir Lancelot. Dawn Alden delivers palpable impatience as Agravain which is then tempered by her contemplative Lady Guinevere. Top to bottom the production had my rapt attention and I can't wait to get back and see it again."

sweet - Danny Bell


Avatar
"The message of the play is clear and strong — that self-acceptance allows us the power to create our own stories."

sweet - Julia Stier - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar
"Although improvement is possible, this is a good and interesting production of new work, and that always makes it worth seeing. For those of enjoy the Camelot milleau, this is certainly worth seeing. For those that want to support women in the theatre — both on stage, at the author's table, and on the production team — this is also worth seeing. Looking back, I enjoyed it."

sweet - Daniel Faigin - CA Highways - ...read full review


Mark Hein
"After all these centuries, playwright Hailey Bachrach has found a way to fit the King Arthur myth's many pieces together. From a woman's point of view. Little Candle gives "Clarissant" a smart, smooth production for its world premiere. If you're feeling XY, you get sword fights aplenty; if you're feeling a bit more XX, you get all the powerful knights (including Arthur) portrayed by women. And almost every actor takes a turn as a ghost. Are you a Camelot fan, a lover of quasi-medieval romances, or a player of sword-and-sorcery games? You'll find much delight in "Clarisssant." Are you a woman, a feminist of any wave, or an ally? You'll enjoy it even more. This is a worthy unveiling for a happily fresh take on Arthurian myth -- and the angle from which we need to see and tell these stories from now on."

sweet - Mark Hein - Theatre Ghost - ...read full review


David MacDowell Blue
"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."

sweet - David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses - ...read full review


Avatar
"The message of the play is clear and strong — that self-acceptance allows us the power to create our own stories."

sweet - Julia Stier - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar
"Clarissant, an original play in its world premiere as presented by Little Candle Productions at the Atwater Village Theatre, is a mix of some very fine acting with some mediocre and confusing acting, but a much better ratio of good to bad than is the standard with many small Los Angeles shows. Even those actors who were not fully on their game had strong vocal quality. Never once in the show did I struggle to hear or understand anything. The script and Arthurian fantasy plot was very engaging. Written by a historian who has spent many years researching these legends, you could feel a genuine love and interest for the subject matter in the story. That transfers to the audience and gains our interest as well. The minimal set design was creative and worked very well for the small space. A stone castle wall with glittering gold lights was particularly effective as was a ragged tapestry dangling in torn shreds center stage. But, speaking of the space, there were some issues specifically related to the venue, which I am given to understand is the smallest of three theater spaces at the Atwater. First off, the sound/light "booth" is in the corner of the audience without any sort of curtain or separation and the light from it was a distraction when much of the stage was dark (which was often). The raked seating is also not quite raked enough to allow the audience to see a lot of what ends up staged sitting/kneeling near the front row. There were a lot of people shifting left to right to try to see those particular moments. Given the audience rake is preset, the staging really ought to have been modified. Finally, the seating is pretty uncomfortable. It sneaks up on you, but within an hour I was pretty desperate to stand up and do some strecthing. Back to the performance aspects, one thing of note is that this show had an entirely female cast (except one) and most of the actresses played multiple parts. I have to admit I had a little difficulty with the double casting at times. Actresses who were very distinctive in appearance and vocal quality playing multiple roles became a bit of a distraction at times. I understand this was probably budget related, but I would have preferred to see the lead roles not doubled up. Some fine performances would have carried even more weight if they had been a little more distinctively separated from character to character. The only other issue with the show I had was related to the movement design and the fights. The action sequences were staged and performed terribly (no sense of drama or story telling and no sense of physical danger) and when the women playing men were fighting the vocalizations were very female indeed. This was a major problem. I'll end the review with a bit of praise for several people in particular: Linzi Graham, Karissa McKinney and Olivia Choate stood out in particular in their roles, making some good choices and staying convincing throughout. The costumer Betsy Roth did a lot with very little. And the set designers Kate Woodruff and Allison Darby Gorjian were also very effective, as mentioned before. Overall a bitter sweet production. I am glad I saw it and if I hadn't caught it right at the very end of the run I would have been happy to recommend it to a few people who would have found aspects of the show very interesting. The end result was that I left feeling a definite desire to see the play staged again in future, just with a few different choices, a proper fight choreographer and a better budget. I would also like to see more from this company in future. There's room for improvement, but they have a good base of talent and creativity which I think could yield some wonderful theatrical experiences."

sweet-sour - Mario Perez


Avatar
"Do not miss seeing these 8 strong women skillfully perform their roles in Clarissant! It's a fantastic show all around! Congratulations to the entire cast and crew on a job well done!"

sweet - Kelly Cretti


Avatar
"the theme of female empowerment is felt in every aspect of this beautiful original production. there is something for everyone - levity, romance, revenge, witchcraft, family drama, heartbreak, rage. from every member of this strong cast (most in more than one role) to the simple set that keeps the focus on the cast's ability to draw you in at every moment to the spot on medieval costumes and overall, mostly thanks to A+ direction, this show leaves one feeling ready to take on the world. and believing in magic."

sweet - tania verafield


Avatar
"Clarissant is phenomenal. I walked into the show excited for the premise but concerned as to how they would pull it off considering that most of the performers pull double duty, but I loved how it turned out. Clarrisant is an original stort based on Arthurian legend where the title character of Clarrisant looks to the past to determine her future. In this way a story develops as we watch the knights and kings of yesterday play out the events of their life and ultimately, their deaths. There was a lot to love here. Betsy Roth's costumes and the set design of Kate Woodruff and Allison Darby Gorjian set the tone of the entire production and were used to great effect, the costumes in particular having an authentic feel that wasn't all suits of armor, but rather leather and furs to give a sense of the wild nature of the time. The writing of Hailey Bachrach was very well researched and set out a clear message and the director, the above mentioned Allison Darby Gorjian, finds a way to bring it to life. The cast is where the play truly shines, however, and everyone deserves praise. Paula Deming is the focal point of the story and is anxiety inducing with her indecisiveness and desperation. Karissa McKinney and Linzi Graham play Lynette and Lyonor, the sisters in law, to perfection with each adding a sense of counterbalance to the other as they advise and steer Clarrisant towards her destiny. Lynette wanting to be patient, but understanding their urgency and Lyonor who wants to be practical, but as the story develops you get a real sense of pain and depth to the character. In fact, Linzi Graham, Kym Allen, and Whitton Frank share what is perhaps my favorite scene of the performance as Frank, playing King Arthur, gives Allen, playing a Sir Gareth, a quest to escort Lyonor. Kym Allen plays Sir Gareth with such earnestness and makes the romance between them so believable that knowing the fate of Sir Gareth ahead of time makes the performance that much more heartbreaking. And Linzi Graham for her part doesn't allow you to forget, really selling the pain and anger of losing someone like that. Whitton Frank plays her dual roles masterfully, first as the roguish Mordred but then filling the stage as the majestic King Arthur. Whitton portrays the weight of responsibility in a way that will make you not envy the position of a king. Renèe Torchio MacDonald brings out one of the most intense performances as Sir Gaheris, with an anger that could be felt in the audience. Olivia Choate balanced the roles of the very studious Sir Gawain with the lovable but quietly dangerous Sir Lancelot. Dawn Alden delivers palpable impatience as Agravain which is then tempered by her contemplative Lady Guinevere. Top to bottom the production had my rapt attention and I can't wait to get back and see it again."

sweet - Danny Bell