By Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
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Beginnings and endings travel in a circular motion inside award-winning Welsh playwright, Daf James’, ON THE OTHER HAND, WE’RE HAPPY, at Rogue Machine Theatre at The Matrix.
Impeccably directed by Cameron Watson, James has written a refreshing, un-hyperbolized story about a young couple in the process of adoption. The presentation is exceptionally beautiful, rendering Rogue Machine’s first officially mounted production at its new location on Melrose, an absolute coup.
The writing is striking and simple. The language and ideas are presented without affectation. Actors Christian Telesmar (Josh), Rorie Flynn (Abbie) and Alexandra Hellquist (Kelly) are quite stupendously potent in their ease, chemistry with one another and high impact performances as each deal with the joyful turned tragic turned triumphant story. In fact, the actors keep the tone and pace of this piece at such a perfect pitch without overly dramatizing any single moment it is incredibly humanizing and empathetic. The audience gets to breathe and feel each moment with these people. It feels personal, sorrowful, enjoyable and engaging – even in seemingly uncomfortable or tragic moments. And it’s so genuinely moving.
Josh and Abbie are a young newly married couple who have been in love with each other since grade school. When they discover that they cannot naturally conceive a child they move on to adoption as an alternative. It turns out, however, to be not as uncomplicated as they initially imagine. The six-year-old girl they are matched with comes from a difficult situation and they struggle with the questions they have about whether or not they can actually take it on.
Each abrupt ending to one circumstance becomes a hopeful beginning at every turn that creates a magnificently intriguing, wonderfully satisfying life.
“In theater, it almost never gets better than this.”
Very Highly Recommended
CAST: Rori Flynn (Oppenheimer, Ready, Steady, Yeti, Go!), Alexandra Hellquist (Ovation nominated Best Ensemble for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), Christian Telesmar (IAMA Theater Company, The Road Theatre Company, East West Players, and Chance Theater).
CREATIVE TEAM: Stephanie Kerley Schwartz (Set Design), Jared Sayeg (Lighting Design), Chris Moscatiello (Sound Design), Kate Bergh (Costume Design), Ron Bottita (Dialect Coach), Rachel Manheimer (Stage Manager).
Run time is approximately 90 minutes (no intermission)
WHAT: “On the Other Hand, We’re Happy
A play about love, hope, and redemption. Award winning Welsh playwright Daf James has crafted a story around a young couple’s dreams of adopting. When an unforeseen turn of events upends their goals, plans must be adjusted. Life is tough, but even the worst of it can be laugh out loud funny.
Playwright: Daf James
Directed by: Cameron Watson
Produced by John Perrin Flynn and Justin Okin (A Rogue Machine Theatre Production)
ROGUE MACHINE (in the Matrix Theatre), 7657 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Now Playing: 8pm Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays, 3pm Sundays
Closing: April 17, 2022
For reservations call 855-585-5185 or www.roguemachinetheatre.net
HOW MUCH: $45. There will be four “Pay-What-You-Can” performances with minimums starting at $10 and going up to $20. Check website for dates.
Everyone must present proof of FULL VACCINATION (includes boosters for eligible patrons) against COVID-19 along with a government-issued photo ID in order to attend. Face masks are required to be worn indoors at all times.
Lead photo: Rori Flynn and Christian Telesmar
Photos by John Perrin Flynn