Reviewed By Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

After nearly two years of global pandemic hiatus, IAMA Theatre Company has brought “community” back by writing a full-length play as an ensemble.  The resulting, CELESTIAL EVENTS by Deborah S. Craig, Christian Durso, Anna Rose Hopkins, John Lavelle and Adriana Santos is sweet and joyful and fun and hopeful, a bit over written and a little too long – but nevertheless, a delightful evening of theater.  

It’s a sort of CRASH setup (forgive the old timey 2005 reference – it’s been a minute) where relationship tensions collide in a collection of intertwined stories and random meetings involving residents of Los Angeles. In CELESTIAL EVENTS these meetings are initiated by a once-in-a-millennia star fall aka a meteor shower.

The cast is filled with generic characters: a young husband and wife living in Silver Lake who have just had a baby and are in need of fun; a lesbian couple bravely attempting a conscious un-coupling of their marriage; two somewhat estranged, sisters meeting to honor their now deceased love ones by scattering their ashes under the stars; an angry skater girl who bumps up against a corporate hack in an elevator, on his way to propose to (as it turns out) her niece’s beloved kindergarten teacher; and two girlfriends hanging out on a night where the other is secretly arranging to get her friend to a destination for her boyfriend to propose.  Yup. You guessed it – the kindergarten teacher.  And finally, a woman who has written a book about science and astrology and by happenstance bumps into the science teacher who inspired it all.  She also mysteriously happens to be carrying around a full manuscript, his favorite soda and the very same flowers she left on his desk every day of class.  Sigh.  Coincidence?  Or, is it written in the stars? 

Created stories of apparent strangers bumping into one another by accident only to discover that they actually have something in common is a definitively fun storytelling tool.  The actors are fantastic in their collaborative endeavor to pull it all off.  But it doesn’t always seem together quite in the way they might have hoped.  There are pockets of genius in this production and then there are bits that just aren’t that interesting, are a bit implausible and are just too long.  Although the movable set is inventive and adds an intriguing layer to the visuals of the production. As does the lighting design.

None of the mere blippy downsides take away from the beauty of the message though.  Sometimes you just need to take a moment and see the wonder of friendship, love and shared experience.

“Just look up.”

Lead photo by Jeff Lorch: The Ensemble

Written, Directed, Performed and Produced entirely by ensemble members of IAMA Theatre Company
Written by Deborah S. CraigChristian Durso, (co-writing captains), Anna Rose HopkinsJohn LavelleAdriana Santos
Co-Directed by Tom Amandes and Adrian Gonzalez
Starring: Alex AlchehRyan W. GarciaTina HuangBailey HumistonAndria KozicaMelissa Jane OsborneKacie RogersAdriana SantosSonal ShahLexi SloanMargaux SusiJamie Wollrab
Creative Team: Parvesh CheenaDeborah S. CraigAndria KozicaJohn LavelleKacie RogersLexi Sloan
Production Manager: Josh Epstein
Co-Produced by Terry Li and Geoffrey Rivas
Presented by IAMA Theatre Company

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