SUSPENDED - Human Interest Story

Critics

LemonMeter

86 %

Reviews: 14

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Human Interest Story - A timely drama about homelessness, celebrity worship and the assault on American journalism. Newspaper columnist Andy Kramer is laid off when a corporate takeover downsizes the City Chronicle. In retaliation, Andy fabricates a letter to his column from an imaginary homeless woman named “Jane Doe” who announces she will kill herself on the 4th of July because of the heartless state of the world. When the letter goes viral, Andy is forced to hire a homeless woman to stand-in as the fictitious Jane. She becomes an overnight internet sensation and a national women’s movement is ignited. Feb. 15 – April 5; Fridays @ 8 p.m. / Saturdays @ 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. / Sundays at 2 p.m. / Mondays at 8 p.m.; $25-$45; In addition to regular seating, Pay-What-You-Want tickets are available on Monday nights (subject to availability). Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave. (at Normandie), Los Angeles, CA 90029; (323) 663-1525; www.FountainTheatre.com.

Reviews

Shari Barrett

This thought-provoking testament to the universal struggle of living day-to-day in a society whose apathy seems to know no bounds for the down-and-out will grab your attention and keep you at the edge of your seat as Jane Doe's story unfolds. Tanya Alexander's magnificent ability to morph herself from a homeless woman in dirty clothing, sitting on a park bench holding a sign stating "I am NOT Invisible" allows us to see where she has been and how much she really desires to pick herself up by her bootstraps and do whatever is necessary to survive.

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

HUMAN INTEREST STORY is a timely – and often incendiary – look at life in America today. This thought-provoking account should foster lots of conversation – and maybe even some controversy – in audiences. One thing is sure. No one will leave the theater without some strong opinions, old and new.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

On balance, Human Interest Story astutely addresses one of today’s most pressing concerns from multiple angles with insight and grace, as well as a healthy dose of cynicism.

sweet - Laura Foti Cohen - Larchmont Buzz - ...read full review


Avatar

Human Interest Story goes on to weave many other strands into its handicraft concoction – a Trump-like Cain runs for political office, greed, corruption, suicide, Jewish-Black interactions and more. Above all, Human ruminates on RACISM – which, as I recall, was not a theme in the all (or mostly) white Meet John Doe. Capra rendered his story – which includes many of the same plot points (other than racism) – more convincingly and simply than this all-too-hectic Human.

sweet-sour - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal

The play was writen by Stephen Sachs, a man of immense talent who is not only a playwight, but a director, a producer, and a Co-Director of the Fountain Theatre.

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Avatar

On his way out the door, as a way to give the new editors the finger, Andy concocts a letter purportedly written by an anonymous homeless woman, Jane Doe, who’s so bereft by her plight that she promises to kill herself on the Fourth of July.

sweet - Dick and Sharon Price - LA Progressive - ...read full review


Avatar

With no intentions of reviewing, I caught the world premiere of Human Interest Story at the Fountain Theatre last night, and it can’t be more highly recommended.

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

In his 1958 personal autobiography cum manifesto Here I Stand, Paul Robeson reflected on the ways in which other interest groups can manipulate a minority’s voice, in words that could apply to almost any constituency: “Effective Negro leadership must rely upon and be responsive to no other control than the will of their people…. Negro action cannot be decisive if the advisers and helpers hold the guiding reins. For no matter how well-meaning other groups may be, the fact is our interests are secondary at best with them.”

In other words, who will write the script for Jane Doe? Andy likes to believe it’s “my words reflecting your truth.” But will he, as a kind of benevolent racist Pigmalion, just serve to turn her homelessness, her womanhood, her Blackness, into merely another commercial marketplace commodity, while keeping a job for himself? As for Harold Cain, “There is no freedom of the press. The truth is whatever we say it is.” (almost literally from The Cradle Will Rock). The play takes place in “An American City. Now.” but its implications are universal.

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

Unlike other plays that illuminate social issues through clever story telling, Sachs’ “Human Interest Story” sinks into diatribe much of the time by reciting the domestic and international issues with which we are dealing, from global warming to the war in Afghanistan. It is during those moments that he is on a soapbox, making the play less interesting. It’s as if his profound concerns are in search of a theatrical voice. That said, he deserves “A” for effort in trying to illuminate some of the world’s life-threatening issues.

sweet - Beverly Cohn - LA Splash Magazine - ...read full review


Avatar

There is a lot of talent working in Human Interest Story, and an overriding anguish in the writing about how the country is going wrong — how we, like Lear, have taken too little care.

Unfortunately the play itself is flawed, and whatever message it intends to deliver gets muddled along the way.

sweet-sour - Terry Morgan - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

“Human Interest Story” is a thorough catalog of the crises of our time and an unstinting indictment of the Trump administration.

The talented cast and inventive design team, however, have a difficult time selling it.

sweet-sour - Margaret Gray - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

Human Interest Story is a must see World Premiere. Hopefully, as with Sachs's earlier efforts, his message flies beyond its comfortable nest on Fountain.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

This is a slickly mounted, extremely polished production with a cast and design elements that conspire perfectly make it sing. Stephen Sachs’ striking direction is highly kinetic, his actors on the move between scenes like prowling captive animals trying to escape their cages. His dialogue is smart and insightful throughout but still, Sachs calls his newest play both a call for compassion and an exploration on how an individual is 'forced to confront the truths about himself,' neither of which ever quite gels—perhaps because one theme sometimes seems to cancel out the other.

sweet-sour - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Stephen Sachs’ new play, Human Interest Story, just opened at The Fountain Theatre, is a play for our times that is set “In an American City. Now.” The playwright and the scenic designer have given the play a feeling of New York and Los Angeles, weighed a bit more towards LA than NYC. He has also given his characters names and actions that will resonate in the minds of people of certain ages and experiences. The play is inspired by Frank Capra’s 1941 film, Meet John Doe, which starred Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwick.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

This thought-provoking testament to the universal struggle of living day-to-day in a society whose apathy seems to know no bounds for the down-and-out will grab your attention and keep you at the edge of your seat as Jane Doe's story unfolds. Tanya Alexander's magnificent ability to morph herself from a homeless woman in dirty clothing, sitting on a park bench holding a sign stating "I am NOT Invisible" allows us to see where she has been and how much she really desires to pick herself up by her bootstraps and do whatever is necessary to survive.

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

HUMAN INTEREST STORY is a timely – and often incendiary – look at life in America today. This thought-provoking account should foster lots of conversation – and maybe even some controversy – in audiences. One thing is sure. No one will leave the theater without some strong opinions, old and new.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

On balance, Human Interest Story astutely addresses one of today’s most pressing concerns from multiple angles with insight and grace, as well as a healthy dose of cynicism.

sweet - Laura Foti Cohen - Larchmont Buzz - ...read full review


Avatar

Human Interest Story goes on to weave many other strands into its handicraft concoction – a Trump-like Cain runs for political office, greed, corruption, suicide, Jewish-Black interactions and more. Above all, Human ruminates on RACISM – which, as I recall, was not a theme in the all (or mostly) white Meet John Doe. Capra rendered his story – which includes many of the same plot points (other than racism) – more convincingly and simply than this all-too-hectic Human.

sweet-sour - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal

The play was writen by Stephen Sachs, a man of immense talent who is not only a playwight, but a director, a producer, and a Co-Director of the Fountain Theatre.

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Avatar

On his way out the door, as a way to give the new editors the finger, Andy concocts a letter purportedly written by an anonymous homeless woman, Jane Doe, who’s so bereft by her plight that she promises to kill herself on the Fourth of July.

sweet - Dick and Sharon Price - LA Progressive - ...read full review


Avatar

With no intentions of reviewing, I caught the world premiere of Human Interest Story at the Fountain Theatre last night, and it can’t be more highly recommended.

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

In his 1958 personal autobiography cum manifesto Here I Stand, Paul Robeson reflected on the ways in which other interest groups can manipulate a minority’s voice, in words that could apply to almost any constituency: “Effective Negro leadership must rely upon and be responsive to no other control than the will of their people…. Negro action cannot be decisive if the advisers and helpers hold the guiding reins. For no matter how well-meaning other groups may be, the fact is our interests are secondary at best with them.”

In other words, who will write the script for Jane Doe? Andy likes to believe it’s “my words reflecting your truth.” But will he, as a kind of benevolent racist Pigmalion, just serve to turn her homelessness, her womanhood, her Blackness, into merely another commercial marketplace commodity, while keeping a job for himself? As for Harold Cain, “There is no freedom of the press. The truth is whatever we say it is.” (almost literally from The Cradle Will Rock). The play takes place in “An American City. Now.” but its implications are universal.

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

Unlike other plays that illuminate social issues through clever story telling, Sachs’ “Human Interest Story” sinks into diatribe much of the time by reciting the domestic and international issues with which we are dealing, from global warming to the war in Afghanistan. It is during those moments that he is on a soapbox, making the play less interesting. It’s as if his profound concerns are in search of a theatrical voice. That said, he deserves “A” for effort in trying to illuminate some of the world’s life-threatening issues.

sweet - Beverly Cohn - LA Splash Magazine - ...read full review


Avatar

There is a lot of talent working in Human Interest Story, and an overriding anguish in the writing about how the country is going wrong — how we, like Lear, have taken too little care.

Unfortunately the play itself is flawed, and whatever message it intends to deliver gets muddled along the way.

sweet-sour - Terry Morgan - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

“Human Interest Story” is a thorough catalog of the crises of our time and an unstinting indictment of the Trump administration.

The talented cast and inventive design team, however, have a difficult time selling it.

sweet-sour - Margaret Gray - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

Human Interest Story is a must see World Premiere. Hopefully, as with Sachs's earlier efforts, his message flies beyond its comfortable nest on Fountain.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

This is a slickly mounted, extremely polished production with a cast and design elements that conspire perfectly make it sing. Stephen Sachs’ striking direction is highly kinetic, his actors on the move between scenes like prowling captive animals trying to escape their cages. His dialogue is smart and insightful throughout but still, Sachs calls his newest play both a call for compassion and an exploration on how an individual is 'forced to confront the truths about himself,' neither of which ever quite gels—perhaps because one theme sometimes seems to cancel out the other.

sweet-sour - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Stephen Sachs’ new play, Human Interest Story, just opened at The Fountain Theatre, is a play for our times that is set “In an American City. Now.” The playwright and the scenic designer have given the play a feeling of New York and Los Angeles, weighed a bit more towards LA than NYC. He has also given his characters names and actions that will resonate in the minds of people of certain ages and experiences. The play is inspired by Frank Capra’s 1941 film, Meet John Doe, which starred Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwick.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review