RUNAWAY HOME

The Fountain Theatre
Los Angeles, CA

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Critics LemonMeter

80%

Three years after Hurricane Katrina, the unhealed wounds of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward continue to fester. In this powerful, funny and deeply moving mother-daughter story, 14-year-old runaway Kali (Camille Spirlin of ABC’s American Koko, Fox TV’s Rosewood and Nickelodeon’s Marvin Marvin) embarks on a journey to pick through the wreckage of what used to be her life, rhyming, stealing and scamming her way through the still-destroyed neighborhood. While the rest of the country’s attention drifts, the community’s residents are left to repair the damage from the inside out. As their attempts at renewal leave a path of destruction in their wake, Kali bears witness to what the floodwaters left behind. Sept 16 – Nov. 5: Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. & Mondays at 8 p.m.; $5-$35; Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave. (at Normandie), Los Angeles, CA 90029; (323) 663-1525; www.FountainTheatre.com.

Reviews

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"Set in the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans three years after Hurricane Katrina, this beautifully written, powerful play explores different perspectives in the wake of devastation and the cataclysmic effects when those journeys result in a collision course."

"Kamps has a way with dialogue and the Louisiana patois, and under Shirley Jo Finney’s sensitive direction, the actors inhabit their characters with endearing naturalism, even during the expressionistic, poetic interludes. Their conversations are so entertaining that they frequently mask the clanking and grinding of the plot’s gears, at least until the implausible, puzzling denouement."

"Kamps writes in a rich, popular vernacular and it rushes by at a fast clip. Audience members surely cannot pick up every word. But I think that is the playwright’s point: to recapitulate the rush of water from the broken levee in the avalanche of words. Oh, I thought more than once, if the actors would only slow down a bit so I could appreciate the sheer poetry they’re speaking. But no, life implodes on us, and sometimes so does theatre. If we want to know a community through the art it produces, we must understand that we will not instantly get every pungent word, every obscure reference, every edgy nuance. Not always easy to grasp on a first exposure, a second look would be well rewarded."

"With floods and fires and quakes and droughts and other natural disasters continuing to wreak their havoc a dozen years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans hard, Runaway Home could not arrive at a more propitious time. Thanks to Jeremy J. Kamps and the Fountain, attention is being paid."

"If you lived in Louisiana, you will remember August 29, 2005, the day that Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest hurricanes the country has ever experienced, made landfall and nearly destroyed New Orleans. Among the areas that were hardest hit was the Lower Ninth Ward. A bratty 14-year-old who has run away from home, is wandering around a deserted neighborhood of dilapidated remnants of homes that nobody lives in and nobody has restored. But a ragtag bunch that remained, or have returned, make their way in and out of Kali’s world to tell her about their lives, their expectations, and their disappointments."

""Runaway Home" by playwright Jeremy J. Kamps, is a cannonade of language that comes at the audience like canister shot. It also asks one of the great questions in life, “Can all the king’s horses and all the king’s men…?” If you see the play as a “cannonade of language” then Camille Spirlin in the pivotal role of Kali, is definitely the fuse who whips through this piece with a force only slightly less formidable than Katrina."

"After the final gunshot goes off, reality and Kali's fantasy world collide, which totally confuses this reviewer as to whether the final scene actually happened in the present, or...??? Actors crossing through Stephanie Kerley Schwartz' detailed, multi-functional, multi-locale set simply added to the puzzlement."

"Director Shirley Jo Finney has given us a richly textured tapestry of life in the aftermath of Katrina assembling a strong cast and deploying it with verve, sympathy and humor. - RECOMMENDED"

"Given its vital story and timely social context, Runaway Home should pack more of a punch than it does. The production has rich and satisfying sequences, most of them generated from the supporting ensemble..."

"At a critical time when massive storms have devastated Texas, Florida, and now Puerto Rico while that monstrous destroyer of the free world Dotard Donnie assures us his soulless administration’s efforts for recovery are going “really, really well,” the world premiere of Jeremy J. Kamps’ arresting new play could not possibly be more urgently important."

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