I had the great pleasure of attending the recent production Doctor Zomba’s Ghost Show of Terror for the Hollywood Fringe Festival and figured I would offer up some thoughts for my fellow theater enthusiasts. To best describe the conceit, I will turn to the official press release
People are generally familiar with the concept of fight or flight. I’m going to give a bare bones description. When we are confronted with an uncomfortable situation that raises our hackles, our nervous system starts to send messages to our adrenals to start creating adrenaline i.e. stress hormones. This prompts the flight or fight response. Now what would happen if we were given the option to choose whether or not a person should fight or run away? MB Stage Productions seeks to answer that in THE STUDY.
Since the beginning of time, human beings have been mired in existential angst. Questioning their purpose, life after death, their creator, and the meaning of it all. GOD: THE APOLOGIES TOUR plays on this intrinsic human desire towards looking beyond earthly life and searching for meaning in the dark.
As a first-timer to Fringe Festival, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had heard from many Fringe veterans that this year’s selection of immersive entertainment was more plentiful. It seemed that more theatre groups were taking the chance to experiment with the particular genre of performance. THE WITNESSING is one such immersive theatre experience this year at Fringe and is a great starting point for beginners to the world of immersion.
One of the reasons why I love living near Los Angeles is because of the amount of different immersive and theatrical performances that I get to attend. Recently I had the opportunity to check out After Hours Theater Company’s ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST - a perfect blend of immersion and theatrics adapted by Dale Wasserman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey.
Gestalt psychology would call it the paradoxical theory of change. Jungian theory would call it the integration of the shadow. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy would call it radical acceptance. But all these psychological theories speak to the idea that one must accept themselves as they are in the present before they can change.
If there is one theme that I love seeing presented, whether in live performances, movies, or television, it would have to be that of the 7 deadly sins. When I heard that Force of Nature Productions would be doing a show based around this theme, I was beyond thrilled.
This past weekend I had the chance to attend THE DEMENTIA VOTE, directed by Brandon Slezak and written by David Dickens, at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater. The show, which is drenched in political satire, centers around Bruce, an elderly, senile man who finds himself wrapped up in a high stakes political election.
Shoreside has certainly seen better days. Sure, there is still popcorn on offer, games to be played, and a duo of musicians strumming out staples like Sea of Love, but the wooden planks lining much of the boardwalk combined with the graffiti tell a tale of a seaside destination on the decline. It is into this world that we first step as we approach the Garry Marshall Theater to see Rogue Artists Ensemble production of Wood Boy Dog Fish.
I’m just going to come out and say it. Talking to people is hard. There. I’ve said it. Despite the difficulties I find with conversation, the art of conservation is something we all engage in daily. It is a necessity. And, when you take a step back and focus a magnifying glass on your conversations, sometimes you can find a unifying thread that links it all together. This is what I believe Nocturnal Fandango has done with their most recent show NOSH.
Alien fans rejoice at the opportunity to channel their inner Ripley and alienate some Xenomorphs in this roughly 12 minute VR experience produced by Pure Imagination in partnership with Fox. Two team firing squads descend into a mining facility on a rescue mission. When things go awry, as they always do, your primary objective shifts to focusing on escaping intact.
For the latest show at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre, guests had the chance to come face to face with their monsters they keep hidden. MONSTERS COME OUT AT NIGHT is directed by Zombie Joe himself and challenges us to “bravely face and conquer the physical, mental, and spiritual monsters, entities, and poltergeists that stalk us from their shadows” (ZJU press release). As someone who attends most shows put on by Zombie Joe Underground Theatre, this one in particular left me smiling as I clutched a gifted white rose.
I remember growing up as a kid and the joy that accompanied Easter Egg hunts. My mom would place plastic eggs hidden throughout the house filled with candy that my brother and I would have to search for, eventually leading us to a giant Easter basket filled with goodies. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone on an Easter egg hunt, so when Zombie Joe’s announced that they would be doing a F*CKED UP EASTER EGG HUNT, I knew I was in for a treat - and that it would be nothing like what I had experienced as a kid.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a pizza party and meet up with some new friends to discuss our lives and catch up. Everything on the surface seemed fine, there was light chatter, snacks, discussions on books and our jobs, and laughter which filled the air. However, there was a noticeable discomfort from our host, Victoria, when an old friend of hers named Ely arrived with his new girlfriend, Justine. From that moment on, the attending guests get swept up into the narrative of who Justine is and the horrifying circumstance surrounding her story.
The heaviness is undeniable. The air is thick with the sorrows of a family in grief. A woman lies motionless in a glass box surrounded by loved ones in black. Her body is placed deliberately in the posture she will lie in for eternity. Heavy. You are here to pay your respects to Grace, your revered piano teacher.
It’s 1977 and I’ve been invited to a party in Los Angeles that is hosted by sisters Sharon and Connie. We’re told that it’ll be a night of fun, with drinking, games, and discussions about the Equal Rights Amendment which is so very close to passing. As the night progresses, and the alcohol loosens everyone up, you start to notice some tension between the hosts and their friends, along with secret whispering behind closed doors. You find yourself at a crossroads: do you continue to mingle with the guests, pushing aside any notions that something could be off, or do you investigate and learn the truth of what this party really is?
When it comes to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, it’s been notoriously difficult to adapt the cosmic horror stories outside of his writing. There have been many who have tried and many who have failed, but tucked away you can find some shining stars such as Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator (1985) or the 2005 silent film, The Call of Cthulhu. When it comes to live performances, they’re are a slew that have made a name for themselves such as “Re-Animator: The Musical” or Puppeteers for Fears “Cthulhu: The Musical”.
Popalypt1c, the latest play from director/writer Shayne Eastin, is set in a post-apocalyptic nightmare where the battle between good vs evil is at the forefront of this barren landscape and the catastrophic results of modern technology are seen through the actions of those who have survived. Popalypt1c stars Jason Britt, Nick D’Alberto, David Dickens, Anes Hasi, Abel Kidane, Skye LaFontaine, Daniel Palma, Alyssa Weldon and Caiti Wiggins.