‘The Soldier Dreams’ & ‘Never Swim Alone’



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Mon Nov 29, 8:15pm
Sat Dec 04, 8:30pm
Sun Dec 05, 7:00pm
Mon Dec 06, 8:15pm
Sat Dec 11, 8:30pm
Sun Dec 12, 7:00pm

Open Fist Theatre Company returns to live, in-person performance at Atwater Village Theatre with concurrent runs of two plays by celebrated Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor. The centerpiece, the West Coast premiere of The Soldier Dreams, is scheduled for an eight-week run October 23 through December 12. The shorter Never Swim Alone, previously seen at Open Fist as part of the company’s “Rorschach Test” mini-festival in 2020, will run as a companion piece for four of those weeks, from October 30 through November 21, giving audiences the chance to experience both plays in one evening.

A longtime fan of MacIvor’s unique voice, Open Fist associate artistic director Amanda Weier directs both plays.

The Soldier Dreams is a darkly funny and moving play about life, death, grief — and dancing. As David lies in a virus-induced coma, his lover, Richard, plays host to David’s family members, each of whom feel they had the most special connection. In this poignant homage to those we love who have left us, the audience becomes witness to everyone’s — including David’s own — memories of David.

“This is a piece about death that is the opposite of depressing,” says Weier. “We’re setting it in an old dance club from the 1990s, because David loved to dance. His dysfunctional family gathers in his waning days, sharing memories and trying to decipher the clues David has left for them.”

In the slyly witty and unexpectedly suspenseful Never Swim Alone, two men, Frank and Bill are locked in a ruthless competition of one-upmanship under the watchful eye of “The Referee” — a young woman with a secret connection to the boys these men used to be.

Reviewing Open Fist’s 2020 “Rorschach Fest” production, Stage and Cinema called Never Swim Alone “a delightful work. Its structure is inventive and fresh; its charming cast of three is quick-witted and engaging.”

Daniel MacIvor is a prolific and highly versatile actor/director/playwright who writes text in order to ignite performance. According to Variety, “Daniel MacIvor’s plays have been labeled everything from postmodern to metatheatrical, but these are cold terms that do nothing to capture the warm, accessible soul of a writer whose honesty and compassion for both audiences and his characters is at the heart of all his work.” MacIvor’s plays have been seen across Canada and abroad, including Australia, Israel, Europe, Britain and the United States. His work has been translated into French, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech, German, and Japanese. He was the founder and artistic director of da da kamera and is also a film and video artist. He has twice won the Dora Mavor Moore Award, is a Chalmers Award laureate, and in 2006 won the Governor General's Award for his collection of five plays, I Still Love You, which includes The Soldier Dreams. He was a recipient of the Elinore & Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, Canada’s largest annual theater award.

Open Fist Theatre Company is a collective, self-producing artistic enterprise with all facets of its operation run by its artist members. The company’s name combines the notion that an open spirit, embracing all people and all ideas, is essential, with the idea that determination, signified by a fist, is necessary if the theater is to remain a vital voice for social change and awareness.

The Soldier Dreams opens with two performances on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 4.p.m. and 8:30 p.m., with performances continuing thereafter on Saturdays at 8:30 p.m.; Sundays at 7 p.m.; and Mondays at 8:15 p.m. through Sunday, Dec. 12 (dark Saturday, Nov. 27). Previews take place Oct. 16 through Oct. 18 on the same schedule.

Never Swim Alone opens on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 10 p.m., with performances continuing on Saturdays at 10 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. through Sunday, Nov. 21.

Admission to both plays is by donation. Recommended donation to The Soldier Dreams: $20; Recommended donation to Never Swim Alone: $15; Recommended donation to see both plays in a single evening: $25.

Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call (323) 882-6912 or go to www.openfist.org.

Proof of vaccination will be required of all patrons, and masks required throughout the performance. Admittance is limited to ages 12+. Open Fist Theatre Company ensures that theater ventilation systems are up to the recommended standard for COVID-19 protection. In addition, as long as the rate of COVID transmission in Los Angeles County remains “substantial,” household groups will be separated by six feet on all sides.