THE RED DRESS

Odyssey Theatre
Los Angeles

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Set in Berlin and inspired by a true story, Tania Wisbar’s romantic drama explores the intersection of politics and art during the years between the Treaty of Versailles and the rise of Fascism. Wisbar’s fictionalized account of her parents’ marriage and their forced divorce by the Nazis begins in 1924 Berlin. Alexandra Schiele is a famous film actress from a prominent Jewish family who falls in love with a down-on-his-luck World War I vet, Franz Weitrek. Franz is able to parlay his wife’s connections into work as a film director. But when his career takes off making Nazi propaganda films, his wife suddenly becomes a liability. Although in real life Wisbar’s mother was not an actress, she was from a well-connected Jewish family that was able to get her father, Frank Wisbar, his start in the German film business. Later, when Frank emigrated to the U.S., he became the producer/director of the first filmed series made for television, Fireside Theater. Tania, who was born in Berlin, came to the U.S. as a baby after her parents divorced. She first learned about her family history decades later. Argyle Road Productions presents a visiting production at the Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025; Oct. 28 – Nov. 19; $30; (323) 960-5521 or www.Plays411.com/reddress

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"...I became so engrossed in the drama unfolding that I found myself screaming silently for the characters to get out... The whole cast is excellent... 'The Red Dress' directed beautifullly by Kiff Scholl will stay with you long after you've left the theatre."

"Director Kiff Scholl is to be commended for keeping character portrayals top notch throughout, with emotions brilliantly stretched to the breaking point as the story plays out. Liguori is especially adept at allowing us to see her frustration with how her life has turned out after so much success at first, as well as with her husband as his beliefs take a turn so far from the ones on which their love and marriage had been based. Tech credits are solid, especially scenic design by Pete Hickok, period perfect costumes by Shon Le Blanc, historical projections designed by Nick Santiago, sound design by David B. Marling, and lighting designed by Kelly Finn, highlighted by Liguori's final moment defiantly standing in the spotlight in her glorious red dress."

"It’s different than anything you’ve read because experiencing the play unfold in front of your eyes in a small theatre setting, where one is intimately connected with the actors and their fate, brings about quite a different dimension to it all. The story, yet perhaps not entirely new, brings forth several new facets and lets us rediscover and see many ‘known’ facts from a different angle. Suddenly an ‘old’ story in many ways doesn’t feel outdated anymore."

"Although the characters as written are thinly drawn, the excellent cast creates believable individuals who struggle with each other and against the times. The pace of the show languishes in the first act, but picks up considerably in the passionate second. The production, directed by Kiff Scholl, supports the playwright’s intention with a fine flexible set by Pete Hickock, (lighting by Kelley Finn). The projections by designer Nick Santiago are terrific, showing images and film clips of World War I, as well as those from the period of the play. Sound designer Dave B. Marlin’s use of romantic German orchestral music composed by Karen Martin has a subtle irony. And the costumes by Shon LeBlanc are period perfect."

"Director Kiff Scholl gives it a handsome and effective production, with an able cast. - RECOMMENDED"

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