Category Archives: Theatre

One Audition Book to Rule Them All

gia on the move shakespeare auditionsIn the world of performing arts, one audition trumps them all when it comes to sweating palms and butterflies in the stomach – the dreaded Shakespeare speech. Casting Director Donna Soto-Morettini remembers her first Shakespeare monologue…because who could forget it? Preparing Shakespeare’s texts can be a bit like a literary puzzle.

In her game-changing new book, Mastering the Shakespeare Audition, the only one of its kind on the market, Soto-Morettini provides a definitive guide that actors of any level can use to face auditions in only 35 concentrated hours, with confidence in the quest to get the role of their dreams.

 

Something to Learn from ‘Obama-ology’ at Skylight Theatre

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
gia on the move theatre reviews tracey paleo politics

Nicholas Anthony Reid in the American Premiere of OBAMA-OLOGY by Aurin Squire

He wanted to be a part of history and create change. He did.

Obama-olgy now playing at the Skylight Theatre Los Feliz, CA, is not particularly a story about the President or his election campaign but really of the mindset and identity of today’s youth.

Actor Nicholas Anthony Reid (Warren) absolutely embodies a middle-class, college educated, enfranchised African-American, delivering a crystal clear characterization of a young millenial, vibrantly enthusiastic about his goal: to seat this country’s first African-American candidate in the White House as an apogee of modern American History. Every moment he chronicles in his journey of hope deepens our empathetic understanding to every character, even ones we don’t necessarily like at first. And every failure brings us closer to the truth about black minority culture in America.

Naïve and idealistic Warren’s initial exuberance for his new position is quickly replaced with jarring realities about himself compared to the lower class African-American people of Cleveland, Ohio who are far removed from his own  sophisticated upbringing and world views.

Obama-ology is a brilliant comedy that speaks to basic human relationships at its core through Warren’s daily positive and negative community outreach experiences, surface politics at home-base, fear of change, narcissism and critical encounters, all entrenched in campaign agenda.

Inside the impossible and sometimes dangerous life of a volunteer is the ambition of creating something extraordinary. The problem for Warren who has been hired because of his potential marketing & strategy talents however, is that he is completely unrepresentative of the people he must convince to follow him to the polls.

Although for some whites he’s black enough to get suspiciously followed through convenience stores, insulted to his face, regularly ticketed, nearly arrested and almost killed by local police, for being black or simply a proponent of the unwelcome Obama campaign, he isn’t black enough for the locals he needs to recruit. His intelligence, education, status, and speaking style – even the Buddhist prayer beads he wears – are too, uppity, too offensive, too strange to understand or familiar enough to trust.  Stuck between the extremes and not entirely accepted by either, he is forced to question himself.

Obama-ology, simplistically lays down the challenging external complexities, internal emotions and identity issues of young people and especially young black people, who are wading through political/societal muck, and who are attempting to voice important personal insights into the world around them. And although the story may seem like a generational repeat of idealistic youth, its distinction pointedly resides in the hot-bed emotions and environments of the present time.

Very creative direction by Jon Lawrence Rivera who playfully weaves writer Aurin Squire’s earnest script away from heavy-handed political drama and instead offers a moving, digestible narrative in which caricature is mostly avoided. These people are real.

The screen projections throughout are a nicely set device inside the production where ‘stock’ characters offer hilariously unhelpful, pedagoguish canvassing advice. Double-cast roles by the rest of the ensemble, work well. Recommended.

Starring: Brie Eley, Sally Hughes, Kurt Mason Peterson and Nicholas Anthony Reid

For tickets and more information visit:  http://skylighttix.com

Gia #HFF16 Reviews: Las Garcia

Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

gia on the move theatre reviews tracey paleo hollywood fringe festivalSome stories about love are filled with heartbreak.  This is  one of them. Some stories about love empower and enliven the narrator.  This is one of them. And some stories about love make us realize that when all is said, done and experienced, the only thing we are is very, very human – to the core.

Gabriela Ortega opened her world premiere solo show, Las Garcia, at the 2016 Hollywood Fringe with an invitation to audiences to be wrapped into her very personal family tale of life-long searching for the grandmother who has influenced her life in so many more ways than she initially realizes. What they got was an enlightening, partly historical-political journey, that exquisitely and quite playfully details the closed-door intricacies of love and war, secrets and adventure.

The struggle of a woman takes place in her heart.  She is strong, defiant, longing for beauty in love and life, capable of reaching into the deepest places within herself to dream and willing to sacrifice everything to achieve it. Las Garcia are these women – to the core.

Gabriela Ortega is thoroughly enchanting as an actress.  As a female storyteller, her appeal rests within her own willingness to expose her most vulnerable and naive parts. Las Garcia is a gorgeous ode, in Ortega’s carefully crafted words, to the women who have come before us and whose lives help us to discover our own power through losses as well as triumphs.

“Come fly with me.”

*WINNER: ENCORE PRODUCER’S AWARD 2016
*WINNER: 2016 FRINGE SCHOLARSHIP
*NOMINEE: “BEST SOLO SHOW” HOLLYWOOD FRINGE 2016
*NOMINEE: O FACE AWARD “MOST ORGASMIC WRITING” 2016
*NOMINEE: BECHDEL-WALLACE AWARD, FRINGE 2016

Directed by Alex Alpharaoh

For more information visit: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/3451

Gia #HFF16 Reviews: Angel’s Flight

gia on the move theatre reviews hollywood fringe festival“Someone to watch over me…”

The sexiest surprise this year at Hollywood Fringe filled the Three Clubs on Vine with the worst campy one-liners of all time, goofy gags, a ridiculous premise, smokin’ hot “I’ve been a bad, bad” bad girls in sparkly costumes, dazzling over-the-top burlesque, a dead guardian angel and a pathetic ending. It was AWESOME!

Refer madness rules at #NoirAtTheBar with a page ripped right out of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer , in Angel’s Flight, written by Matt Ritchey and Benjamin Schwartz who have created a truly entertaining montage of film and stage noir ‘caberlesque’ comedy.

It’s Los Angeles, 1944. A girl’s gone missing, but a gumshoe is hot on the case. Will our sloppy, bum-luck, detective, Duff (Schoen Hodges), save the raven-haired beauty or will he fall short? As Duff reluctantly mucks his way through ridiculously obvious clues he gets caught up in booze, deadly illegal marijuana, prostitution and rivalries with foes that want him gone baby gone, especially the secret boss who’s right under his nose.

Hands-down best choreography, the girls swished, shimmied and slinked through the genre perfectly inserting a live LIVE performance into the night club space. The entire cast delivers on style, story, timing, direction, dance and overall performance. We’re hoping it makes a comeback somewhere, somehow.

Winner: Best Cabaret and Variety Show at the 2016 Hollywood Fringe and a “Pick of Fringe”.

Highly Recommended.

With: Bradely Bentz, Ben Bonigan, Heath Butler, Dvid Garver, Brin Hamblin, Sarah Hawarth, Madeleine Heil, Schoen Hodges, Allison Miller, Michel Onofri, Benjamin Schwartz, Kelly Stevenson and Ben Goldberg.

Directed by Matt Richey.

For more information visit: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/3353

Gia #Hff16 Reviews: Metamorphosis

Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

gia on the move theatre reviews tracey paleo hollywood fringe festivalIt’s Complicated.

You are the household’s sole income and the cure to your family’s debt (which won’t be paid for another 5 years). You’ve never missed a day of work and you don’t even remember being sick – ever! Life is pretty automated if not wonderfully exciting. Then suddenly you wake up and you’re ‘vermin’. No really. You are a four-legged big-eyed, screechy, grotesque, parasitic who-knows-what.

People perceived you as despicable and as causing problems for the rest of society.  Everyone is afraid of and disgusted by you. And all the recognition and admiration of your dedicated service is suddenly forgotten same as your former face. Now what?

The Moving Art Collective recreates Kafka’s novella into a movement-based piece telling the story of Gregor Samsa, an overworked traveling salesman who one morning wakes from uneasy dreams to find he is transformed into a monstrous vermin. Gregor must now adjust to his new condition, as he deals with being burdensome to his parents and sister, who are repelled by the horrible creature he has become.

Hands down the most choreographically inventive movement performance to present at Hollywood Fringe this year.  The Moving Art Collective has outdone themselves with a highly sophisticated storytelling art piece.  Should it return at other venues in future, it is to be very highly recommended for all of its graphically descriptive aspects set in a minimalistic stage and  design.

For more information visit: http://hff16.org/3376

Gia #HFF16 Reviews: The Cure to Mortality

Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

gia on the move theatre reviews tracey paleo hollywood fringe festivalAdventurously created, The Cure to Mortality, a futuristic, sci-fi musical comedy about corruption, depression and death, didn’t quite hit the mark suffering most by an overwritten script and for its ‘all over the place’ direction by (also lead actress) Molly Gilman who on the other hand was vocally extraordinary. The multi-level stage at the McCadden Theatre which would normally be a production’s dream, also did little to add to the colour, timing or downright sparse scenic design.

The Meds are using lower class humans as their test subjects in order to find the prescription for immortality and take over the world.

When all was said and sung (and that was a lot!), there were simply too many ideologies crammed into what could have been a tighter, darkly comedic presentation rather than what comes across as internally confused pseudo-political narrative, although there is definitely a fantastic story here. It just needs to decide what it and its characters really want to say.

What is absolutely brilliant about this show is the phenomenal dedication and vocal execution by the the five talented women: Katy Erin (XED), Brookelyn Rose (Dr. Titus), Sandra Diana Cantu (Tow), Mary Ann Pianka (Dr. Kites) and Molly Gilman (Dr. Colbert) who sung their hearts out at Broadway peak levels.

For more information visit: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/3522

Gia #HFF16 Reviews: Occupation

Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

gia on the move theatre reviews tracey paleo hollywood fringe festivalIn one of the most riveting dramas at The Hollywood Fringe Festival this year, Occupation stands out as a powerful dystopian, speculative fiction projecting a ‘far too close to being real’ future of American society.

In some respects, Occupation seems to reference Canadian author Margret Atwood’s 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, which echoed parts of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, in a series of connected stories, in which here, because of a terrorist attack, a totalitarian dictatorship forms within the borders of what was formerly the United States of America. Under the pretext of restoring order and safety for all citizens, which coincidentally includes building a wall around us to keep the enemy out (and citizens from leaving) the new regime called The Patriots, has reorganized society along a new militarized hierarchy. Freedoms and liberties have been taken away and anyone who disagrees or is reported to the authorities for suspicious activity, anything from loitering or looking strange, just disappears. Of course the ones to suffer most are women who are relegated to the least meaningful roles in society.

Like Atwood’s book, the story is told from a female point of view, five women on all sides of the issue with the interjection of a fool/foil tap dance girl caught somewhere in the middle of confusion and betrayal, isolated and struggling to find meaning in any part of it.

The threads run the gamut of women who have lost not only their rights but in some cases, who have lost their daughters to a freedom fighters network of young women who become suicide bombers. Each relates an interconnected story asking the question, ‘Who is the real enemy?’

Occupation looks for clarity, power and salvation within the gray area of fear, nationalism, and government control. It is a dynamic, chilling and also heartbreaking reflection of today’s political zeitgeist.

Excellent performances by all.

Very Highly Recommended.

For tickets and information visit: http://hff16.org/3709