THE GIVER

Critics

LemonMeter

Reviews: 1

Audience

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 4

Kentwood Players, one of the longest continuously operating Los Angeles theater groups, welcomes the New Year and its 70th Anniversary with the futuristic, multimedia play THE GIVER, adapted for the stage by Eric Coble, based on the Newberry Award-winning book by Lois Lowry, opening on Friday, January 17, 2020 and continuing through Saturday, February 22 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, Sundays at 2:00pm at located at 8301 Hindry Avenue in Los Angeles, CA 90045, home of the Kentwood Players. Additional weekday performances may be added to accommodate school groups throughout the run, dates to be determined.

This is a non-equity/non-paid production directed by Harold Dershimer, produced by Kathy Dershimer for Kentwood Players by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois. The cast features Jack Heath and Elliott Plunkett alternating in the roles of Jonas and Asher, with Gavin Glynn as The Giver. Others in the cast include (in alphabetical order) Jenny Boone, Lois Bostwick, Maria Brodeur, Allison Cunningham, Robin Cunningham, Daniel Kruger, Kaya McLean, Shawn Plunkett, and Lily Repp.

Life in the futuristic community where THE GIVER and Jonas live is idyllic. Designated birthmothers produce new children, who are assigned to appropriate family units: one male, one female, to each. Citizens are assigned their partners and their jobs and no one thinks to ask questions. Everyone obeys. The community is a precisely choreographed world without conflict, inequality, divorce, unemployment, injustice…or choice. Join us for this multi-media presentation as we follow Jonas’ journey filled with heightened sensory experiences from a place of sameness… to elsewhere.

Reserved seat tickets are $22 with a $2 discount for seniors, students and servicemen. To purchase tickets, please email the box office at [email protected] or call (310) 645-5156, preferably during box office hours, Wednesday through Saturday from 4:00-7:00pm. Please note our box office gets a large number of calls and all voicemail messages will be answered in the order received to confirm your ticket order. A limited number of tickets are available online at www.kentwoodplayers.org. For group ticket sales of 10 or more, please call the box office for group rates.

For more information about Kentwood Players including our current production and upcoming auditions, please visit the Kentwood Players website at www.kentwoodplayers.org. You can also find Kentwood Players information on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To meet THE GIVER production team and learn more about Kentwood Players, the public is invited to attend our general membership meetings, which are free and held on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm at the Westchester Playhouse located two blocks west of the San Diego Freeway and two blocks north of Manchester at 8301 Hindry Avenue in Westchester, CA 90045.

Reviews

Avatar

This play is derived from the book of the same name by Lois Lowry (1993). The setting is a far future dystopian society devoid of all pain, suffering and most emotion. At the onset we are vividly reminded of all the horrible agony that nature and (mostly) man have inflicted on humanity for all of recorded time. The price of this current tranquility is an overwhelming sameness: no laughter, tears, choices, anxiety, color, weather, hills, valleys, conflict, competition—nothing is ever better or worse.

There is no record of any of the terrible (or good) past. But society has conferred on a single individual (The Giver) all memories of the entirety of human experience. This gift/curse is passed down, elder Giver to young Receiver, every generation.

The story is about the 12-year boy (Jonas) who has been selected as the next Receiver, ten years after the failure of the previous “passing of the torch”.

We follow Jonas’ family life through a birth (from an assigned surrogate mother), death (a sub-weight twin baby), education (focused on good social behavior), and care of the elderly (by career-assigned folks).

The weight of the play evolves around the relationship between Giver and Receiver. We see the immense burden of carrying all these memories, especially the intensely painful ones. By bits and pieces, Jonas receives these memories, experiencing joy and agony.

We also learn about the failure of the previous Receiver, and what it meant to society, the Giver and ultimately, Jonas.

The relationship intensifies to the point where the two decide that there needs to be a change.

The performance is excellent, especially Jack Heath, playing Jonas. The sets are at once stark, plain, featureless and overwhelming with sights and sounds of the suppressed memories.

I recommend this play highly.

sweet - James Moore


Avatar

I caught The Giver last night (2-1-20) at the Westchester Playhouse and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. It is a thought-provoking story brought to life in the most compelling of ways...a wonderful cast of actors young and old deftly supported by a stellar multimedia presentation one doesn't normally experience in community theater. Or in most other productions big and small for that matter. I was especially moved by the performance of the talented children in this play; powerful, moving, at times humorous and utterly believable performances from all. Each kid is so well-cast in their role and they were a joy to watch on stage. Equally impressive was the Giver himself. His charisma and soulful portrayal kept my rapt attention whenever he was on stage. Bravo to the director for pulling together such a great cast, for injecting tech and media into the story in the most wonderful of ways, and for pulling off what must have been a such a difficult production to stage. It definitely left a positive--and as I mentioned at the top--thought provoking impression long after I left the theater.

sweet - Adam


Avatar

Wonderful rendition of a thought provoking play that takes you into a different world and calls on you to question societal norms. I highly recommend this night of theatre.

sweet - Kate


Shari Barrett

This multi-media presentation with heightened sensory experiences from a place of sameness to elsewhere features colorful lighting effects designed by Bruce Starrett, with director Harold Dershimer 's ability to work with the talented children in the show a real standout to the performance. It's a perfect show for the entire family, guaranteed to fuel some interesting discussions about lifestyle choices, personal freedom, and social responsibilities.

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


Avatar

A wonderful telling of a thought-provoking story. The technical aspects of this production are critical, and this will not disappoint! The child actors are amazing to watch, as is The Giver himself!

sweet - Charles Dershimer


Shari Barrett

This multi-media presentation with heightened sensory experiences from a place of sameness to elsewhere features colorful lighting effects designed by Bruce Starrett, with director Harold Dershimer 's ability to work with the talented children in the show a real standout to the performance. It's a perfect show for the entire family, guaranteed to fuel some interesting discussions about lifestyle choices, personal freedom, and social responsibilities.

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


Avatar

This play is derived from the book of the same name by Lois Lowry (1993). The setting is a far future dystopian society devoid of all pain, suffering and most emotion. At the onset we are vividly reminded of all the horrible agony that nature and (mostly) man have inflicted on humanity for all of recorded time. The price of this current tranquility is an overwhelming sameness: no laughter, tears, choices, anxiety, color, weather, hills, valleys, conflict, competition—nothing is ever better or worse.

There is no record of any of the terrible (or good) past. But society has conferred on a single individual (The Giver) all memories of the entirety of human experience. This gift/curse is passed down, elder Giver to young Receiver, every generation.

The story is about the 12-year boy (Jonas) who has been selected as the next Receiver, ten years after the failure of the previous “passing of the torch”.

We follow Jonas’ family life through a birth (from an assigned surrogate mother), death (a sub-weight twin baby), education (focused on good social behavior), and care of the elderly (by career-assigned folks).

The weight of the play evolves around the relationship between Giver and Receiver. We see the immense burden of carrying all these memories, especially the intensely painful ones. By bits and pieces, Jonas receives these memories, experiencing joy and agony.

We also learn about the failure of the previous Receiver, and what it meant to society, the Giver and ultimately, Jonas.

The relationship intensifies to the point where the two decide that there needs to be a change.

The performance is excellent, especially Jack Heath, playing Jonas. The sets are at once stark, plain, featureless and overwhelming with sights and sounds of the suppressed memories.

I recommend this play highly.

sweet - James Moore


Avatar

I caught The Giver last night (2-1-20) at the Westchester Playhouse and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. It is a thought-provoking story brought to life in the most compelling of ways...a wonderful cast of actors young and old deftly supported by a stellar multimedia presentation one doesn't normally experience in community theater. Or in most other productions big and small for that matter. I was especially moved by the performance of the talented children in this play; powerful, moving, at times humorous and utterly believable performances from all. Each kid is so well-cast in their role and they were a joy to watch on stage. Equally impressive was the Giver himself. His charisma and soulful portrayal kept my rapt attention whenever he was on stage. Bravo to the director for pulling together such a great cast, for injecting tech and media into the story in the most wonderful of ways, and for pulling off what must have been a such a difficult production to stage. It definitely left a positive--and as I mentioned at the top--thought provoking impression long after I left the theater.

sweet - Adam


Avatar

Wonderful rendition of a thought provoking play that takes you into a different world and calls on you to question societal norms. I highly recommend this night of theatre.

sweet - Kate


Avatar

A wonderful telling of a thought-provoking story. The technical aspects of this production are critical, and this will not disappoint! The child actors are amazing to watch, as is The Giver himself!

sweet - Charles Dershimer