Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s Last Night Out at Three Clubs on Vine

Shakespeare's Last Night Out, Michael Shaw Fisher

Michael Shaw Fisher as William Shakespeare. Photo by David Haverty

“Thou must, in this pregnant hour, with haste and wit, and whilst thou hast advantage, get thee to London (or at least to a bigger venue)!  Else content thyself with churlish critics and render bootless thy wordly strength. Dispatch!”

If ever there has been an intimate rendering of the bard, Michael Shaw Fisher’s (Orgasmico Theatre Company) original solo performance, “Shakespeare’s Last Night Out” is a definitive, musical, interactive discourse, from the mouth of the worlds most renowned playwright in his final hours. 

Legend has it that Shakespeare expired from a fever after a night of drinking. In “Shakespeare’s Last Night Out” the Bard of Avon defends his authorship, details personal, life-shaping family milestones, recounts unknown events and characters, and periscopes his bawdy career beginning from early days as a young boy at school fascinated with story and mask.

Sonneting glove making references inside his father’s shop into some of the most beautiful lines of text in his most famous plays, he exalts ignoble hilarity, the importance and pure joy of his art, and kinships and crossed paths with other acclaimed players during one of history’s most celebrated and dangerous centuries of poetry and stage. It is indeed a bawdy journey of song, serenade and deeply heartfelt regret as well as fierce retrospective.

Michael Shaw Fisher’s delivery is more than mere characterization, he is a near apotheosis of our beloved Will yet “most plain”.  Fisher gives us a highly moving, distinctive portrait of a dreamer/actor/writer who was simply a man.

Impressive multi-instrument, musical accompaniment by Allison Faith Shulock with also Gordon Wimpress on guitar.  Directed by Jeff Sumner. Written and performed by Michael Shaw Fisher.

Now Playing until November 1, 2015 at 

Three Clubs (Three Clubs Stage Room) 1123 N. Vine St, Los Angeles, CA

Follow this show on Facebook.

Tickets at: http://bpt.me/event/2227210



FRI September 18th 8pm
SUN September 20th 5pm (***Under age 21 admitted)
FRI September 25th 8pm
SUN September 27 6pm
FRI October 2nd 8pm
SUN October 4th 5pm (***Under age 21 admitted)
FRI October 9th 8pm
SUN October 11th 6pm
FRI October 16th 8pm
SUN November 1st 6pm

Eclectic Company’s Summer Fling with Richard III

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Jesse Merlin and Jon Mullich. Photo Credit: Marni Troop.

Jesse Merlin and Jon Mullich. Photo Credit: Marni Troop.

This being my first visit to Eclectic Company Theatre, Richard III seemed like a great start to an eventful Summer theatre season, which, this year, boasted a dirge of classical indoor and outdoor plays happening around town. What I expected to be a sleepy little company in the Valley turned out to be, to my happy surprise, a powerhouse of talent.  Unsupervised at worst but rife with potential, Eclectic’s presentation of one of Shakespeare’s most villainous of characters diverted into a rather interesting course.

They could have used some better direction.

There was so much going on choreographically apart from the script that the whole thing occasionally needed a pause and a re-align. The costuming by Wendell C. Carmichael was stylishly extravagant in its black and white, futuristic 1930s era mashup. The production however, was cluttered with noisy entrances and exits via the many platformed stage design, the text projected through a wide variety of acting styles, application of opera style makeup in a very closeup house, a forthwith dramatic delivery or two that ended as abruptly as it had begun, plus the breathtaking length of the show.

But the bombshell is that despite some of the more flagrant missteps inside the production Eclectic Theatre Company actually packed a wallop of a show!

Actor Jon Mullich endowed Richard with ferocious comedy, vicious wit and Olivier style spoken word every living breathing moment of the tyrannical, manipulative, hunchback’s life on stage. In the vain of it being a truism that in narrative drama, the villains get the best lines, most certainly no meaning was left unearthed. No text unaddressed.  Paired with the incomparable repartee of actor Jesse Merlin as Buckingham, these two by mystique alone held focus and kept this show moving at a stealthy pace.  Although, there were many notable performances in this play. Overall it was a delicious Richard III.

A little sewing is in order but only to seem the players more perfectly together.  Otherwise, at Eclectic there is most definitely color and contrast, flavor and fragrance.  It will be interesting to see what comes next.

Fight choreography by Christian Chan

Produced by Natasha Troop and Marni Troop
Directed by Natasha Troop

The cast: Jon Mullich as Richard, Jesse Merlin as Buckingham, and Christian Chan, Alon Dina, Melody Doyle, Carissa Gipprich, Rachel Kanouse, Jessicah Neufeld, David Pinion, Tim Polzin, Glenn Simon, Janie Steele, Randi Tahara, Gary Tremble, Eliot Troop, Micah Watterson and Nathan Werner.

This show is now closed. 

Eclectic CompanyCheck the website for the upcoming season productions.

Independent Shakespeare Rocks Romeo and Juliet at Griffith Park

Erika Soto and Nikhil Pai in ISC's Romeo and Juliet

Erika Soto and Nikhil Pai in ISC’s Romeo and Juliet

@IndyShakes returns to Griffith Park this Summer with Shakespeare’s most famous play about teenage folly as it’s season opener.

The emotional knee-jerk characteristics of tween/teens are thoroughly captured in this production by a not yet 13, overly cutesy Juliet and a capricious Romeo falling in and out of infatuation with Rosalind and then soundly in love with the girl of his dreams.

It’s a solidly modern theme that never loses its resonance or it’s impact especially with younger people today driving culture into a very adult landscape, drowning out the motif of children being babies, in its wake.  That’s not exactly the case here, but the power of extreme youthful passion craving experience in its fullest value is never more displayed so well as in Romeo and Juliet.

Once past the somewhat manufactured physicality of actress Erika Soto’s (Juliet) naivety, who displays a more adult change-up in the second act, there really is a quite brilliantly executed performance.  Ms.  Soto captures on one hand an exuberant, refreshingly high-spirited pre-teen and on the other, a singularly desperate, very young girl trapped in a situation with no options, no empathy from her parents, and no social recourse whatsoever.  Suicide is a clear choice.  For Juliet, it is the one way she knows how to absolutely decide her own fate.

Independent Shakespeare has taken pains to master a raucous Romeo and Juliet focusing much more into the quicksilver aspect of the teenage love story and the bawdiness of Shakespeare’s original writing.  Everything about the presentation is pointedly interactive, jolly, “loose,” laying so much less heavily on Shakespeare’s age-old theme of parental control, but nevertheless making the heady and lightening speed ending absolutely potent.

In fact, it is noticeable that some of the darkest aspects of this play – the death of Mercutio, the fatal duel with Tybalt, the severity of the consequences of Romeo and Juliet’s secret marriage – are almost skipped in favor of  what seems like a “never-ending party.” Here we have a thoroughly libertine Mercutio powerfully executed by Andre Martin and a surprisingly un-frumpy, street-wise, quick-thinking nurse played by Bernadette Sullivan almost entirely coopting focus.  Actor Nikhil Pai is a perfectly appealing Romeo who matches Juliet.  And there is truly an immersive quality about this production.

In the end though, the message for Juliet remains the same: that Love is most definitely NOT unconditional.  She has “lain with her sworn enemy”.  There will be no forgiveness for the truth and no way out of a life she can no longer accept through the “forced” new open eyes of an adult.  In Romeo’s case, death is as definitive a choice, and that of a young boy so immersed in the conviction of love without reason.  He really believes his life is over when he hears of Juliet’s untimely demise.  Romeo and Juliet’s only real support system is Friar Lawrence who (even though only) by accident, fails the couple, when it counts.

The violence of Romeo and Juliet’s actions is not shocking at all.  Their course has been set for them, mostly by the haste and bullying with which Juliet’s parents arrange her “womanhood”.  They are well-meaning but typically narcissistic adults more concerned about appearance and legacy than their child’s “actual” happiness.  Sound modern?  It should.  It’s a behavior still happening in every culture ore’ the world difficult to render it excusable for the “times,” be it cross-racial divides, religious and cultural differences that don’t assimilate, buying and selling child brides…and grooms, keeping kids on lock down for more than safety reasons, the gamut is endless – just watch the news.  And that is what makes this story ultimately so tragic.  We may have moved the needle in the direction of facilitating awesome human beings rather than ordering our children into a kind of submissive adulthood.  But plenty over centuries hasn’t really changed.

Independent Shakespeare’s production of Romeo and Juliet under the direction of Melissa Chalsma is an overwhelming success with it’s completely fresh interactive presentation.  Here we have absolute beauty, intelligent comedy and painful tragedy unequivocally balanced.  

One of the most gorgeous and seriously fun aspects of this production is the original fairytale-punk, rock score designed and performed by David Melville & Ashley Nguyen with William Elsman & Jack Lancaster.  Undeniably the highlight of the evening.

Highly recommended.  It’s a bit bawdy at times for young children, but no one was complaining.

The Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival
Friday through Sunday until July 26th
at The Old Zoo in Griffith Park


For more information, call (818) 508-1754

or visit www.iscla.org

Photo credit: Grettel Cortes

The World Domination of Richard III at Eclectic Company

 The villains get the best lines

Richard III

One of the most coveted roles in Shakespearean literature, Shakespeare’s history play recounts how Richard ascended to the throne and consolidated his power largely by accomplishing the murder of his perceived political adversaries, including members of his own family, in a story that resonates as surprisingly modern.  Fast, vicious and murderous, Richard III revels in Shakespeare’s gleeful poetry, hurtling along with Richard on his psychotic vision of world domination.

Directed by Natasha Troop, Eclectic Company’s Richard III is this season’s play to watch. Described as an “intimate encounter with Shakespeare’s most popular and cunning anti-hero, Richard of Gloucester,” the design elements of the current production are a mash-up of the futuristic and 1930s-era retro, highlighting both the elegance of life at court and the coldness of the Plantagenet feud.

It is both silky and seductive, ferocious and brutal, charming and repelling.

The cast includes Jon Mullich as Richard, also featuring Ovation award nominee Jesse Merlin (Re-Animator: The Musical) as Buckingham, and Christian Chan, Alon Dina, Melody Doyle, Carissa Gipprich, Rachel Kanouse, Jessicah Neufeld, David Pinion, Tim Polzin, Glenn Simon, Janie Steele, Randi Tahara, Gary Tremble, Eliot Troop, Micah Watterson and Nathan Werner.

Costume Designer: Wendell C. Carmichael   
Fight choreography: Christian Chan

Eclectic Company

The Eclectic Company Theatre
5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd. 
Valley Village, CA 91607 

(between Chandler and Magnolia)

WHEN: July 24- August 30, 2015. Fri. & Sat. at 8:00, Sun. at 2:00.


RESERVATIONS: (818) 508-3003.

ONLINE TICKETING: www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org

Gia #HFF15 #Reviews : Shakespeare(ish)

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Shakespeare (ish)

This shows begins right where it ends in a kind of no man’s land of Shakespeare’s words, tropes, poetic styles and 8 year old fantasies of the more famous stories in the catalog.  They are certainly not lacking in exuberance or dedication. But even the masks, minor puppetry, delightfully frivolous sets and song making couldn’t keep this mess from its tipping point.

As a family friendly teaching tool mashup for youngsters or those who go deep for being young at heart, Shakepeare(ish) does highlight and instruct on important moments, characters and ideas adding some adorable off-handed, off-text audience participation.  As a stage play, it’s purely non-sensical which for some is the reason to experience it.  They could cut it down a bit however, for the older kids in the room who were finding some of the scenes repetitive and long.

Gia #HFF15 #Reviews : The Hamlet Mobile

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Hamlet, Shakespeare on the go


There is a truly special performance happening at the Hollywood Fringe this year and you won’t find it in any of the normal standing Fringe venues on Hollywood’s Theatre Row.  You will however, get a heads-up on last minute pop-up locations in the area by following the Twitter handle @hamletmobile and also by checking the Twitter hashtag #hamletmobile.

Created by The Moving Shadow theatre company the Hamlet Mobile is featuring 8 short plays inspired by (and utilizing the language of) Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  It is totally FREE and no ticket reservations are allowed with one exception — if you are lucky enough to catch the truck, there are a limited number of viewing slots.  So you’ll have to sign up on the spot for a chance to participate.

“An experience like no other” is how this Shakespeare troupe on wheels is being billed and that might be the understatement of the day – of the Fringe really.  By happenstance, I caught up with these peeps last Saturday afternoon at a location around the corner from the Hudson Theatre and took the deep dive.

Totally immersive and interactive, you are escorted into a built out set van with players inside and outside talking with each other and with visitors.  It’s a doors closed, one on one theatre experience where at some point you will most likely be asked a question or asked to do something that participates in the story.  When I say AWESOME, the up close and personal of your 15 minutes won’t just be a sitting around on the floor, hanging with your homies kind of afternoon. Hamlet Mobile is an absolutely intriguing mind bender in that you are completely vulnerable to the intimacy of the moment and you will not know what is to happen next.

There are opportunities to see more than one show and you will be often invited to make origami while you wait your turn.  Best “brainchild” of the season produced by Monica Miklas and directed by Lauren Ludwig, this is how real artistry gets incubated right from the streets of Los Angeles into the hearts and minds of unsuspecting audiences, inviting the regular and non-regular theatre goers alike into our special world.

Simply deliciously what Fringe and what theatre is all about!

Very Highly Recommended

Get more information at the Hamlet Mobile official website:


You can also find them at: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/2453

Gia #HFF15 #Reviews : 50 Shades of Shrew

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

BDSM, bondage, domination, sadism, masochism


Taming of the Shrew has and is ever a problematic play to justify in the modern world of feminism and the independence of women. Why would any (at least Western) female today stand for the kind of treatment accorded to Kate who in normal versions of this Shakespearean classic is often looked upon with pity as a neglected daughter and on some levels an abused wife?  But add in a little bit of bondage and domination and oddly enough it all starts to make sense.

Directionally Broads’ World Theatre’s, 50 Shades rendition is occasionally a bit messy and almost gets in the way although never really does.  But it is nicely cast as a wholly female driven piece. And in this case, more than in many other all-female cast productions I’ve seen to date, it creates some very, very interesting and worthwhile dialog on the subject of relationships.

Whether by the fact that they are complicated, ‘feeling’, multidimensional females or just by the idea of it all, these ladies bring many more layers to the comedy than is often portrayed in a male/female circumstance.

The pre-show BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Sadism, Masochism) instructional by professional dominatrix Mistress Kara is lengthy for the actual payoff during the show. But it does offer a base for which the uninitiated can understand the lifestyle and how it is manipulated within the presentation, where which a completely inoffensive and hardly uncomfortable version of bondage and submission is displayed.

In the original, Petruchio has always given Kate “tit for tat” but here he/she gives her a little something extra.  It’s the 100% playfulness of a smitten Petruchio and his absolute desire to challenge and tame a thoroughly wild Kate, in the overt acts of domination that enlivens the excessive bravado. He never actually hurts her, nor means to, emotionally or physically, but merely frustrates her and brings her to task and to life through his roughness and mildly inflicted discipline. Kate finally submitting to Petruchio adjusts the balance of power.  Kate realizing that her submissiveness gives her her own power, actually gives her more.  In every way she becomes a definitively equal partner and the one of Petruchio’s dreams.  The relationship is more meaningful for both and a happy ending so much more palatable for us. One might even go so far as to say that Petruchio is humbled by his wife’s willingness to be “under his foot”. Kate as a submissive still retains her strong independence. Petruchio’s masculinity remains intact. It’s a very satisfying balance between them.

A superior performance and use of the text by Dawn Alden (Petruchio) matched by an equally impressive Jen Albert (Katharina/Kate).

Highly Recommended.

Lounge Theatre (Lounge Theatre ) 6201 Santa Monica Boulevard

Saturday June 27 2015, 10:00 PM | 90 mins