Category Archives: Theatre

All’s Well That Ends Well

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

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“All’s well that ends well”… and that’s a good thing for one of Shakespeare’s more notoriously problematic and confus-ed plays currently in production at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, as part of its celebration of the Bard’s 450th birthday and an All-Shakespeare Repertory Season.

If Love is a battlefield then this one is filled with mines for handsome, naïve, Bertram who just can’t figure out enough ways to avoid marriage and commitment.  He is convinced, like any young man, (and not just by his own mind) that life as a soldier in the King’s army is the adventure he craves.

Helena on the other hand is determined to have what she wants and gets it by all means, whether the object of her amore is willing or not, justified by the unadulterated fact that, “she loves.”

Ah me!

Though originally classified as one of Shakespeare’s comedies, All’s Well That Ends Well is considered by most critics difficult to be categorized as either a tragedy or comedy.  The title taken from the old proverb, which means that problems do not matter as long as the outcome is good, leaves one slightly aghast in this mire of manipulative mayhem.

All’s Well That Ends Well is a bittersweet story about class differences.  Theatricum’s production attempts to bring it into the 21st Century showcasing Helena as a great female role model who crosses class lines to follow her heart.

It’s a hard line to cross, though.

Low born Helena is merely the daughter of a renowned physician taken into Bertram’s house after the death of her father.  Living in the same household she falls in an awkward love with Bertram, who is a Count and well above her station. Despite all of her qualities, her beauty, her eligibility in every other way, including the blessing of Bertram’s mother, (the Countess of Rousillon), he leaves for court to make a brilliant life and an understandable “future” marriage to someone more befitting his rank and wealth.

In the most egregious of ploys, Helena travels to Paris and heals the King of France from an incurable illness with the help of one of her father’s remedies.  She is then given the right to marry any man she loves. Bertram however bitterly rejects Helena, and but only for the command of the King, forced to go through with the ceremony, subsequently leaves Helena un-bedded, alone and sent back to a home to which he will never return.  From here she must use her wits, her wiles and whatever friends she can muster in order to eventually seduce her own husband into impregnating her – the only way he says he will ever truly be her husband.

Helena although struggling from an honest place, in an honest course, still defies modernity in execution.  Embodied by the lovely and talented Willow Geer as a softer, outplayed-at-almost-every-turn, yet determined woman in love, Helena is compelled by the fact that she is a female living by the rules of a socially strict culture, to shape her fortune in what can easily come across as deceit.  And frankly, what she does is deceitful. But there are no other means.

The biggest complication with trying to make the story modern is that, were it not for a King’s ultimatum, Helena would most likely never have won an opportunity at Bertram’s heart apart from sisterly love, and most definitely would not have been made his wife.  It’s still and old-fashioned trap portraying Helena more as a go-to girl rather than the heroine that girls today are looking to for answers about love.

That all being said, the production itself is quite marvelous.  Earnestine Phillips (Countess of Rousillon), Mark Lewis (Parolles) and Wayne Stribling Jr. (King of France),  assemble, sort out and pull along a partly green but jocular cast in a thoroughly enjoyable, well-executed romp under a moonlit, outdoor, Summer theatre sky.

Leading lady Willow Greer (Helena) is a well-honed, driving instrument; perceptive and intuitive in her delivery.

All’s Well That Ends Well, is by all means, a show worth seeing and a concept curious enough worth visiting.  No matter the complications or structure of the Bard’s script or the shortcomings of a the attempted reboot, there is hardly a disappointment to be found from first to last line, made more special by the gorgeous environment of the outdoor stage itself. All in all — a treat.

All's Well1-Art-sm 

WHO:

  • Written by William Shakespeare
  • Starring Alan Blumenfeld, Willow Geer, Chelsea Fryer, William Dennis Hunt, Max Lawrence, Mark Lewis, Earnestine Phillips, Wayne Stribling, Jr., Debi Tinsley
  • Directed by Ellen Geer and Christopher W. Jones
WHEN:
Performances through Sept. 27:
  • Sunday, July 20 at 3:30 pm
  • Saturday, July 26 at 4 pm
  • Sunday, July 27 at 7:30 pm
  • Friday, Aug. 1 at 8 pm**
  • Sunday, Aug. 3 at 7:30 pm
  • Friday, Aug. 8 at 8 pm
  • Sunday, Aug. 10 at 3:30 pm
  • Sunday, Aug. 17 at 3:30 pm
  • Sunday, Aug. 24 at 3:30 pm
  • Saturday, Aug. 30 at 4 pm
  • Sunday, Sept. 7 at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, Sept. 13 at 4 pm
  • Saturday, Sept. 20 at 8 pm
  • Saturday, Sept. 27 at 4 pm
**Pre-performance “British Pub Grub” dinner at 6:30 pm on Friday, Aug. 1 and Friday, Aug. 8 (separate admission, or combination packages available)WHERE:
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Topanga CA  90290
(midway between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ventura Freeway)HOW:
TICKETS:
  • Adults: $37 (lower tier); $25 (upper tier)
  • Seniors (60+), Students, Military Veterans, AEA Members: $25/$15
  • Children (7-12): $10
  • Children 6 and under: free
  • “British Pub Grub” dinner/play combos: call theater for pricing, advance reservations required
OTHER:
The outdoor amphitheater at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is terraced into the hillside of the rustic canyon. Audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating. Snacks are available at the Hamlet Hut, and picnickers are welcome before and after the performance.
 

Truth or Groundlings!

Feeling adventurous and frisky?

Truth or Groundlings

Come play a revealing and (at moments) uncomfortable game of Truth or Groundlings with the main stage cast at The Groundlings Theatre. Opening night is Friday, July 25 with performances through September 27. A game of Truth or Groundlings with this legendary troupe will reveal more about yourself than you ever thought you would.

Truth or Groundlings is an evening of sketches and improvisation, always original and always hilarious. Director Michael Naughton will spin the bottle with cast members Tony Cavalero, Matt CookH Michael Croner, Mikey DayAllison DunbarDavid Hoffman, Lisa Schurga, and Annie Sertich.

Truth of Groundlings opens on Friday, July 25 through September 27 
Fridays at 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.  

Tickets are $20.00 and available at the box office; via phone at (323) 934-4747 or  visit www.groundlings.com.

On Friday, July 25th only, opening night tickets are $50.00 and include cocktails from Tito’s Vodka and hors d’oeuvres from new local favorite Smoke Oil Salt.

The Groundlings Theatre is located at 7307 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood.

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The Groundlings Theatre is an improvisation and sketch comedy theatre that has been entertaining LA audiences for 40 years.  They are a non-profit organization founded by Gary Austin in 1974.  A “Groundling” is one of the 30 company members who write and perform in the theatre’s shows and teach classes at the Groundling’s School. The school has been the foremost comedy training ground in Hollywood and the springboard for countless careers including comic geniuses from film and television such as Jennifer Coolidge, Will Ferrell, Ana Gasteyer, Kathy Griffin, Cheryl Hines, Chris Kattan, Lisa Kudrow, Jon Lovitz, Michael McDonald, Paul Reubens, Maya Rudolph, Mindy Sterling and Kristen Wiig, among others.  You can see these Groundlings alumni in the recent film Bridesmaids as well as television shows such as “Mike and Molly,” “Community,” and “Workaholics.” In addition to being comedy performers, Groundlings members and alumni hold writing positions on many of Hollywood’s top television and film projects.

 

The Curse of Oedipus at the Antaeus Theatre NOHO

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Oedipus_Thebes_1.

It started off promising but somehow didn’t quite make it all the way.

The world premiere of, “The Curse of Oedipus” written by Kenneth Cavandar, directed by Casey Stangl and developed by the Antaeus Company was more like a “little bit of everything soup” than muscular tragedy.

But let’s start with the best of this production, for which there is a more meaningful reason to experience it.  “The Curse of Oedipus” is a newly translated rendition stringing together the various versions of this legend for what the company calls a “distilled” evening of (a massive) drama: a retold mythology of people caught in a web of pride and self destruction.

Oedipus_Thebes_9There were thoroughly meaty performances delivered poetically intact by Ramon de Ocampo (Oedipus), Josh Clark (Creon, brother to Queen Jocasta), Fran Bennet (Tieresias the blind seer) and Joanna Strapp (Antigone). Each of these actors brought an uncanny believability, evil and righteousness to the characters and moved the chugging storyline along at a thankfully measurable pace.  Without the stronger leads the show could have easily stood still.  The story however, is clear and understandable.

So what was off…

Mr. de Ocampo dove deep for the epic, sweeping tragedy  and physicality of Oedipus himself.  But curiously he remained unsupported by a large ensemble cast that although was vocally vibrant, didn’t register intensity that matched him.  The sound effects dispatched by a talented Adam Meyer on drums, were powerful but overall felt more laid-up-against the material rather than intrinsically aligning the movements, emotions, or lyric line.  It never really immersed the audience into the reality. And the opening child sacrifice would have benefitted by a little bit more compelling severity rather than what came off as screaming silliness.

They went for the laughs – sort of.  Playing in the middle somewhere between comedy and drama hurt this production.  At times the characters went for dramatic breath then suddenly dropped into something reminiscent of slapstick.  It’s not to say that it couldn’t work.  But it didn’t. They didn’t “take it all the way” and it made the piece confusing.  The exception was the fun performances of the two brothers, the gods, Apollo (Mark Bramhall) and Dyonysus (John Apicella). Mr. Bramhall and Mr. Apicella’s appearances were like mini mis-en-scenes in themselves; a tete a tete of underplayed neurotic, bitchiness, humor and reason.  Mr. Apicella as Dyonysus especially drove the important ideas of mortality and power home with well–delivered wisdom and a final speech that utterly hit the mark, adding much needed cohesion.

Style is everything. The costumes were decent. There were no fails there. But there was no real excitement or creativity either in their contemporary form. On the other hand, what truly elucidates every moment in this production are the lighting/scenic changes and transitions, beautifully designed by Francois-Pierre Couture.

It’s a long, long way… If it weren’t for the fact that it’s mostly understood that a Greek tragedy is going to take a few hours, the length of this show would have tested the patience of the gods themselves and nothing, not even brilliance should take an eternity.  Even if you are a dedicated classical theatre devotee, plan on making a serious time commitment.

OedipusNOW PLAYING AT

Antaeus Theater
5112 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood CA 91601
(1/12 blocks south of Magnolia)
 
Until August 10th, 2014
Thursday, Friday and Saturday @8pm
Saturday & Sunday @2pm
Tickets: Thursday & Friday $30 / Saturday & Sunday $34
 
Visit www.antaeus.org for tickets and information or call: (818) 506-1983
Follow them on Twitter: @AntaeusTheater

Super Serious Los Angeles DIY Comedy

superserious“”We started the show out of a DIY spirit, and we’’ve managed to keep that energy throughout the past four years.”

Join the live comedy show hailed as the “Best Off-the-Beaten-Path Stand-Up Comedy Party”  by LA Weekly, for their four year anniversary.

The Super Serious Show features the best sketch, stand-up, music and videos on the third Wednesday of every month at The Virgil.

On July 16th, creators Mandee Johnson and Joel Mandelkorn are thrilled to celebrate the four-year anniversary of The Super Serious Show with a killer lineup, including Jen Kirkman, Jimmy Pardo, Garfunkel & Oates and the Sklar Brothers.

Each night of comedy is like a work of art in itself. 

Unlike many comedy clubs, The Super Serious Show is an affordable night of great comedy, complete with a food truck, sweets, drink specials, a DJ and a built-in happy hour.

Follow them on Twitter for updates: @seriousshow

The Virgil is located at:
4519 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90029

Lineup and ticket information for the 4-year anniversary show are available here: Tickets

The super serious show

 

Fringe Up: Riot Grrl Saves The World

p_1724_i_5965239by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Capturing the zeitgeist of today’s girl empowerment movement, Riot Grrrl Saves The World, is as exuberant as it is insightful.

“It’s the end of the world as they know it…”

A world premiere play by award winning playwright Louisa Hill Riot Grrrl Saves The World explores the deep issues that girls more than ever have been questioning and rebelling over with fervor.

You’re a girl.  It’s your job or maybe even your forever fate to conform.  You can’t really do anything you want.  You’re not human.  You’re a girl.  Because you know, at the core of your body is fear.

…or you could explode!

And that is exactly what they do.  Forming a nucleus of team members who create handmade magazines publishing their thoughts of the month and attempting to “change the world” these teens are no less than 100% committed to the the Riot Grrrl Revolution.  But when a Jehovah’s Witness stumbles into a Riot Grrrl meeting, dynamics change along with goals, loves and loyalties.

Riot Grrrl Saves The World truly exposes the hearts and minds of teen beliefs, prejudices, frustrations and the best part of what they are willing to be — a force for change from the heart.

Idealism, however, comes with a heavy price especially if you are a high school aged kid without a lot of control, money or power over your own destiny, the decisions of your future lurking in the background, your zine getting hijacked, your community threatening to shun you and worse, the mainstream media wanting to invade your special rebel space to take it down, tempting your compatriots with fame — its most infectious brand of mediocrity.  As we discover, the revolution is not about altruism it’s about survival.

There are incredibly potent elements, ideas and stories that come up in this play, revealed through movement, spoken word, music and “the best band ever” created by the girls as a way to gain followers and money for the publishing efforts.

The grand scale change they hope for doesn’t really come to pass.  But oddly enough, what they leave behind, sparks a new age of revolution.  Riot Grrrl Saves The World is a winner as is each of these girls.

There are no performances left for the Hollywood Fringe.  But you can learn more about the movement by visiting: http://willplayforfoodtg.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

Fringe Up: The Wake

The Wakeby Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

“When Love Asks You Answer Recklessly.”

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One of the edgiest returns to the Hollywood Fringe Festival this year is Ben Moroski in The Wake.

From his first appearance last season with his acclaimed autobiographical one-man show, This Vicious Minute – Moroski has been setting a new standard for solo performance by young up & comers.

Meticulous writing/storytelling skills paired with intense, raw, delivery are the hallmark of this talent.  The Wake dubs him a de facto force to be reckoned with.

Currently in the running for the Fringe Award for solo performance – no matter what the outcome of today’s decisions, there is no doubt that Ben Moroski’s star is rising and deservedly so.

In The Wake Moroski takes “amore” on an impassioned journey into the macabre with a dark comedy about love and loss.  A play within a play this story loops around the idea of healing through theatre for an incredibly shocking ending that will have you rolling and crying in your seat.

Pete a substitute teacher falls head over heels for the most unlikely sexy creature, Tali, who accidentally struts into his life and who later summarily dumps him.  Lonely and depressed he decides to go out on the town one night where he meets the other girl of his dreams whose attention he can’t seem to get across the dance floor.  But destiny has them collide in the parking lot — literally.

I saw this show twice and was intrigued even more with the second go-around.  This IS the show you absolutely cannot miss!

There are two opportunities to actually catch it. Running time is 1 hour.

Friday July 11 2014, 8:00 PM

Saturday July 19 2014, 9:00 PM

Playing at Theatre Asylum (Asylum Lab) 6320 Santa Monica Blvd
Visit the Hollywood Fringe website for Tickets

Fringe Up: Meet & Greet

Meet & Greetby Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

It was a stunning performance!

This perfectly written script endowed with an all-star female cast and cute little “devil” of a casting assistant, Meet and Greet is proof positive that comedy can be dryly hilarious and insanely over the top with no danger to the experience.

Currently up for a Top of Fringe (Best Overall) award, there is no doubt that this show is one of the most deserving of attention at the Hollywood Fringe this year.

Writers Stan Zimmerman (The Golden Girls, Roseanne, The Gilmore Girls and The Brady Bunch) and Christian McLaughlin (Married with Children, Desperate Housewives) took the season to a new level of distinction with this offering harnessing the power of experience, good taste, timing and bullet-proof talent.

Four leading ladies of scripted television, reality and stage (in real life and in the play — [ Desiree: Daniele Gaither (Mad TV) Teri: Teresa Ganzel (Tonight Show & Toy Story) Margo: Carolyn Hennesy (General Hospital, Cougar Town, True Blood) Belinda: Vicki Lewis (Newsradio)] are gathered together to audition for a new hit show with a juicy, guaranteed to re-launch a career role. All of them think they have been singled out for greatness until the find out the truth, the part is up for grabs.  The in-fighting begins as each relentlessly and ruthlessly attempt to stand out for the casting directors’ attention.  All the while being subjected to the mood swings of a catty, young gay casting assistant [Paul Iacono (GBF, Hard Times of RJ Berger) ] who lionizes them and then rips them to shreds.

It’s Hell…except they don’t know it…

According to the Fringe website there is actually one more performance on July 11th at 8pm to catch this must see show.

Visit the Hollywood Fringe website for more information.

You can also learn more at: www.zimmermanstan.com

Fringe Up: Small Parts

Small Partsby Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

He has no right to complain about his life.  But we’re so glad he did.

Richard Tanner has an age old story aching to be told about the trials and tribulations of what it’s really like being an actor.

“I can’t get no satisfaction”…for a lifetime so far.

Imagine having one of the more recognizable faces on television, appearances on too many hit shows to even number, going head to head on camera with stars and celebs for some of the more memorable moments of taped drama, and yet nobody knows your name.

If you don’t think that living the life of a passionate artist isn’t all that tough, I dare you, go and try it.  But be prepared, because much like Richard your career will be measured in “small parts”.

Small Parts is a singularly heartwarming, comical and sometimes awful cautionary tale of a very young boy’s dreams pursued into adulthood at all costs especially his heart. From the moment he steps on his grammar school stage as George Washington, the Father of our country, and told, “you got it kid,” he is utterly taken by the vision of a wondrous future that only he can imagine.

It is completely relatable and spot on, a banner for the “we’ve been there and done that over and over again” theatrical community.

The saddest part is that he is not unique in his journey which is rank with excitement, hope and a lot of the time, debilitating depression.  You will not always be satisfied in your quest.  You will suffer. You will go hungry.  Your body will ache.  And so will your heart more than you will ever admit.  You will live in the extreme because you have no other choice. The dream is everything.  It’s only just around the corner.  You will have to bear the sharp thorns and nettles of an unforgiving business that will tear you apart inside and out for the desire of it. Your journey will never conclude and it may never be fulfilled.

And yet, according to Richard, he wouldn’t change a thing.

Definitely one of the more fulfilling solo shows at Fringe.  Kind of a tear jerker. It unfortunately has no more performances. But you can keep up with Richard on the website of the show.

http://smallpartstheshow.com/

RIC MONTEJANO, DIRECTOR, CHRONICLER, SILVER LAKE ICON, DIES AT 64

Gia On The Move got the news yesterday and it saddened us to hear it.  This is for my Angelenos, some of whom surely knew and/or worked with Ric. A highly active community centric man, Ric’s passing is surely a loss for the Silver Lake, theatrical and gay communities at large here in Los Angeles.
Rest in peace.  

What follows is a verbatim reprint of the press release.

RicMontejano-in-The-Indian-Wants-the-BronxCSUF

RicMontejano in The Indian Wants the BronxCSUF

 

Richard (Ric) Montejano was born on September 22, 1949 in San Gabriel and grew up in Van Nuys and then La Habra.  In the late 1970’s, he found his true community in Silver Lake where he lived as a creative artist, entrepreneur and activist on his own terms, chasing his passions and accepting the pitfalls, until he died from lung cancer on June 22, 2014 at the age of 64.

After graduating from La Habra High School, Ric attended CSU Fullerton where he developed his talents for choreography and directing as a student of theatre and dance.  In 1970 under Ric’s artistic direction, a troupe of fellow CSUF students formed the communal Dudesheep Theatre Company and moved to San Francisco.  They became the resident company at Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Poets Theatre.  Ric directed the West Coast premiere of The Open Theatre’s The Serpent to rousing critical acclaim during the heyday of San Francisco’s experimental theatre boom.

Returning to Los Angeles in the mid-1970’s, Ric continued to perform sporadically as a dancer, actor, choreographer, playwright, producer and director at a variety of local venues including Scorpio Rising, Los Angeles Actors Theatre, The MET, The Fountain Theatre, and Word Space.

Over the years, Ric was a notable presence in Silver Lake.  He unabashedly loved the leafy, hilly neighborhoods that housed an interesting mix of locals who were gay, straight, Hispanic and a “little bit of everything.”  His first ink, in his fifties, was the words Silver Lake tattooed in bold calligraphy across the top of his back.

Ric Montejano spoken word is written down.

Ric Montejano spoken word is written down.

In the 1990’s he was proprietor of Mohawk’s Antiques & Collectables specializing in mid-century finds at his store near the corner of Mohawk and Sunset Blvd.  His knowledge, instinct and style attracted customers, and he loved “the hunt” of finding treasures at thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales and auctions.

Ric succumbed to the drug culture that was part of the unleashed gay lifestyle in the 1980’s and developed a weakness for speed that derailed his career and his health down to a period of sickness and homelessness.  His strong life force and creative energy prevailed, but he continued to fight this personal demon for the remainder of his life.

The AIDS epidemic that swept through the gay community had taken many of Ric’s close friends by the 1990’s and Ric was diagnosed with HIV and other ailments.  His direct link with historic times compelled Ric to write about his experiences as a gay man.  He discovered a knack for composition and cadence coupled with a distinctive and honest point of view.  He wrote with raw clarity about what he had observed and fantasized, including the Gay 80s, AIDS, crystal meth, incest, obsession and murder.

In SLHC Interview with Ric Montejano by Richard Goldin and Marco Larsen for the Silver Lake History Collective, Ric discusses his life and the evolution of the gay community in Silver Lake.  The interview can be seen here: 

In 2008 at the Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, Ric’s stories were performed under the title The Unforgiving Road, a journey down the mean streets through the eyes of a survivor.  Ric’s spoken word interpretation of his own stories went on to mesmerize and inform diverse audiences at many other venues and festivals in Los Angeles.

As his declining health kept him closer to home, Ric and his tiny tufted foundling Chihuahua-mix Sparky (the “velcro dog”) could be seen on their daily stroll down Silver Lake Blvd. to the 7-11 for a Big Gulp and the paper.  Every Saturday Ric became “the lamp man” and sold distinct, eclectic, collectable lamps from the curb in front of his Silver Lake apartment.  A steady stream of friends, neighbors, and passers-by populated his sales and enjoyed his generous, low key camaraderie.  They brought him food, reading matter, and even special finds for him to appraise or sell.

Ric detested threats to the character of his cozy, friendly Silver Lake neighborhood.  He became a community activist by spearheading the successful effort to ban digital billboards near his home on Silver Lake Blvd., close to the Silver Lake reservoir and the dog park.  Ric and Sparky stood daily across the street from the intrusive flashing electric sign that had been installed at Silver Lake and Effie, holding a hand-made poster that said “HONK if you hate the billboard.” His efforts and objections attracted major media attention that eventually unleashed a floodgate of protests to city hall until the sign was eventually removed.

ric on LOST bench

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Ric is one of the “Faces of Sunset Blvd.” in photographer Patrick Ecclesine’s book of the same name.  His “Lost” portrait of a shirtless Ric with a blond Mohawk haircut on a bus bench was featured in exhibits at LA City Hall, Arc Light Hollywood and at the Berlin City Hall-Germany.  Another candid portrait of Ric writing at his kitchen table by photographer Phil Chin was exhibited at the Pasadena Armory.

In 2011, Ric fulfilled a lifetime ambition to take a show he directed to New York City.  Performance artist John Fleck, a sometimes collaborator and longtime friend, asked that Ric help direct his auto-biographical one-man show, Mad Women.  Ric’s gifts for restraint, for visual and aural composition, and for focus on what’s essential, heightened the impact of Fleck’s stream of consciousness memory show that wove the story of an aging Judy Garland with that of John’s mother, Josephine Fleck who died of Alzheimer’s disease.

The show opened at the Skylight Theatre in Los Feliz to rave reviews and an extended run.  Then John and Ric travelled to La Mama NYC where a review from New York’s Stage and Cinema commended Ric for “weaving the show together with finesse and panache and a great deal of heart…never forgetting the darker truths or the human warmth.”  In L.A., John Fleck received an LA Drama Critics Circle Award for this production.

​Mad Women Director Ric Montejano – Photo by Ed Krieger

​Mad Women Director Ric Montejano – Photo by Ed Krieger

Ric is survived by his loving, strong, active family of friends.  He has been clear that he has no regrets over the life he chose.  In his own words, from his story “Beauty,” Ric says, “I don’t regret chasing the dragon or flying too close to the sun.  I don’t regret biting off more than I can chew or my nose to spite my face.  I don’t regret eating crow or humble pie.  I don’t regret walking down roads that led nowhere.  This journey is MINE.”

To send donations for several legacy projects, including publication of Ric’s Silver Lake stories, contact montejanomemorial@gmail.com .

Fringe Up: The Best of Craigs List LIVE

p_1703_i_270330by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

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It was a total surprise!

A last minute stop over to the Hudson Theatre resulted in 60 of the most outrageous minutes spent at the Hollywood Fringe this year.

Inventive and hilarious beyond proportion, The Best of CraigsList LIVE, an assortment of real posted adds culled from the millions of CraigsList world-wide, and which began as a Funny or Die web show, exposes the insanity, stupidity, lasciviousness and quite possibly dangerous nature of the world’s ultimate “hook me up with stuff”, online classifieds.

“Super hero side-kick needed.  Must be available nights and weekends.  Must own your own costume.  It should be complimentary in color. Mine is black.  I have a car but you need to be willing to contribute gas money.  Discretion is a must.  No one must know about your true identity.  You will be wearing tight fitting clothes. Consider this an internship.  There is no pay.  But if you are looking to fight EVIL in all forms send in your resume.”

From the first moment to the last the show is silly, psychotic and shamefully uproarious. Filled with great songs and deftly executed comedy by a seriously committed cast.  It is one of the better LIVE parodies of a new age medium since The Onion hijacked the news.

More could be said, but it would be so much better to experience this show in person. There are two more opportunities.

Playing at Hudson Theatres (Hudson Backstage) 6539 Santa Monica Boulevard

Run Time:  1 hour

Saturday June 28 2014, 3:00 PM
Saturday June 28 2014, 9:45 PM 
 
Visit the Hollywood Fringe website for tickets.
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 If you miss the shows you can also catch them online by visiting their website:

Fringe Up: Hamlet Max

Hamlet Maxby Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
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Post apocalyptic in theory.  A mashup of classical and  modern theatre.
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There is more to like than not in the new production of Hamlet Max an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet currently being presented by Central City Productions and co-presented in the Hollywood Fringe Festival by Schkapf and Sacred Fools.
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It is for the most part a well thought out production that attempts to “freshly explore” Shakespeare’s text and which also deeply underscores the emotional/psychological dilemmas of a passionate young Hamlet in contempt.

There are troublesome areas however beginning with the basic delivery of the verse, which is derived from the Second Quarto (Q2) and takes character inspiration from the Norse history myth of Amleth.

Stylistically, Hamlet Max is its own unique creation.  Often filmic, it is set by the classic animates of  Hillary Bauman’s manga-style background art which does well to capture albeit lightly, the post apocalypse,  the general environment and “feeling” of the moments.

However, as it is a “language” play, the play rests in the language itself and unfortunately it is at times lost.  A basis lack of enunciation (by some of the actors) and too fast moving speech (perhaps a sacrifice for pacing) without stressing the importance of the spoken work, occasionally hurts the points of the story.

To be sure there are meritorious performances by Kathy Bell Denton (Gertrude) Jonathan Goldstein (Claudius), Matt Henerson (Polonius), and Andy Hirsch (Horatio) who offer clarity and and color; also a well executed Ophelia (Corryn Cummins); and a well tempered Laertis (Kellie Matteson).  Casey McKinnon (Guildenstern) puts in a light performance and does what she can with what she is given, which is not much.  As a gender bending role, along with Ms. Matteson (doubling up as Rosencrantz) it is plausible to a degree but is not a best choice for the story.

Hamlet himself  (played not so nihilistically but rather with more quiet, calculated revenge and rather vulnerably, by Jacob Sidney) is brought to an even more introspective level via the media of the production; inner thoughts register on the background scrim with dubbed voice-over, given breath by Hamlet, to only the words that simply cannot be held silent.  It is quite an effective technique that actually works.

What irritates is the music that forcefully leads the audience down an overbearing emotional path.

What was excellent:

Animation – Chris Hutchings
Set & Lighting Design – Mike Rainey

Hamlet Max is definitely worth the ticket for the season’s Hollywood Fringe.

Tonight is the last show.  Tickets are currently sold out and the theatre is offering RUSH seats at this time.  $20 — Cash only — Get in line early!!!

Running time 90 minutes.

Tuesday June 24 2014, 7:30 PM

Schkapf  (MENAGERIE [main stage]) 6567-6585 Santa Monica Boulevard

Fringe Up: And She Bakes Live

And She Bakes Liveby Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

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Flapping between bubbly and broken hearted, And She Bakes Live”, is an actual and currently running YouTube series in which viewers write in and get their relationship questions smartly answered by The Bakeress, while being taken on a step by step dessert instructional that parallels the emotional process.

This particular (expanded) episode leads the audience through a recipe of marriage that has failed before it even starts,…and peanut butter treats, rounding up all of the ingredients needed for a healthy relationship, and comestible indulgences, the importance of each one, and why the right ‘timing’ to add them is essential.

Particularly delightful Ms. Karnofsky is a very mercurial, capricious sort of girl who tends to make bad decisions, that she regrets, about everything BUT her cooking.  Stuck in a somewhat abusive relationship, torn between passion and comfort, she finds her way out through the empowerment of chocolate, vanilla extract, peanut butter, honey, salt, a sprinkling of rice crispies for the quirks, a little bit of dance magic and a whole lot of much needed self-love.

Her happiness is her own creation.

“And She Bakes Live” is as tender as the heating mixture in the crock pot onstage and as silly as the go-go boys who join her for the celebratory “cut-loose. Just go with it. A shared personal triumph, all around satisfying and darling.

Vegan and gluten free treats are passed out at the end.  And they ARE delicious!

There is one show left.  Running time is 55 minutes:

Saturday June 28 2014, 2:30 PM

Theatre Asylum (Elephant Studio) 6320 Santa Monica Blvd

Visit the Hollywood Fringe website for tickets.

You can also learn more about The Bakeress on her website:  www.andshebakes.com