Tuesday, November 13, 2007

12th Night of the Living Dead and 'Nami in Los Angeles

I caught the Impetuous Theater's 12th Night of the Living Dead on Friday. I am not sure I have ever seen a more delightful show. The concept of taking Shakespeare's 12th Night and adapting it to zombie fare is flat-out brilliant. The premise is that Sebastian and Viola's ship sinks because it is hit by a green, shiny, radioactive meteorite that turns all onboard into the undead.

So, Viola washes up on the beach already a zombie and the plot proceeds from there. Lindsey Wolf manages to almost steal the show doing nothing but zombie moans in all her Viola scenes. I thought Benjamin Ellis Fine's Sir Andrew Aguecheek was particularly demented and delightful, as well. Not to take anything away from any of the cast members in this, who are all wonderously entertaining. There is not a rotten zombie in the bunch.

Brian MacInnis Smallwood's adaptation deserves to be produced in mutliple cities, countries, and continents, and can't be praised highly enough. It is astonishing how well the original Shakespeare plays lends itself to a zomibe transformation. It is especially entertaining if you know the play backwards and forwards to see how Smallwood shapes it around the new premise.

And John Hurley's direction could not be improved upon. Highlights include: Lindsey Wolf and Erin Jerozal (as Maria), snacking happily on Timothy J. Cox's bowels (as the disemboweled Sir Toby Belch) while Benjamin Ellis Fine works up the courage to challenge Viola to a duel, Viola biting Shashanah Newman's (Olivia's) finger off instead of taking the ring, and the eerie delight of seeing the sister Olivia is mourning (Reyna de Courcy) crawl from her grave and chase her sister around town.

I wish it were extending so I could see it again!

Then on Saturday, I flew to Los Angeles to see the Bootleg Theater reading of my trilogy of plays (Cockfighters, Tumblewings, Godsbreath) held on Sunday. I had enough time when I got in on Saturday to go see Range View Productions version of Chad Beckim's 'Nami. I liked this script a lot and the performances by Aissatou Diallo as Keesha and Hector Hank as Roachie were particularly strong. The story is very haunting and frightening. It is a show where you know tragedy is looming, but I was surprised at the resolution. It was great to see a sharp, young New York writer produced on such a beautiful set at the Hayworth in Los Angeles.

Will give the trilogy reading at Bootleg its own blog entry. Am not sure I will get to it this afternoon, though, and I am out of town tomorrow and Thursday for work, so you may have to be patient. You can read my friend The Misanthrope's take on the Cockfighters reading on the trilogy day on his Toner Mishap blog here. In short, it went extremely well and I am so glad I went and got to see everyone!

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