Angels, Devils, and Other ThingsAlthough Culver City is a trek for us in the Greater Pasadena area, and although there is just one performance left of this excellent production (June 16), I enjoyed it so much (and enjoyed revisiting Culver City), that I wanted to put it on everyone’s radar.

      By Carol Germain Edger

      I’m hoping that this particular production gets extended, but I also wanted to promote this first class small theater acting group and their recently refurbished theater located inside the historical Ivy Substation building. Also note that there is a Metro Expo line stop a few blocks away, and there are many shops and restaurants within walking distance of the theater, so an afternoon of theater and dinner would be a pleasant outing, especially if you are trying to “meet halfway” with friends in other areas.

      This production gave the members of The Actors’ Gang a unique opportunity to showcase their writing, directing, and acting talents, and they all succeeded admirably. This production is a series of 11 10-minute plays which apparently coincidentally shared some related themes which led to the title of the production.

      Here are some brief comments on each, and seriously, if you have a boring evening planned tomorrow, consider an evening in Culver City, and even if you can’t make this production, keep your eye on this group.

      “The Gardeners”

      By Adam Bennett – the fight for the soul of a recently deceased person (funny but also thought provoking). Directed by Bob Turton.

      “A Perfect World”

      Written by Lynde Houke and directed by Will McFadden – an elderly couple retreats to imaginary world where they create their own games and reality [this was the final play and it was sad and mentally numbing (and I mean that in a good way, it was one of my favorites), and at first I wasn’t sure that was a good idea. After all the plays with humor, futuristic themes, and energetic expression, it brought everything down, but as I sat there and ran back through the themes in my mind, I realized it was a perfect ending. The actors (Adam J. Jefferis and Lee Margaret Hanson) were so in sync with the premise and each other, it was riveting].

      “James’ Play”

      Written by James Bane and directed by Tess Vidal – powerful statement on veterans suicide with the twist of a family history of suicide making the temptation of life or death even more dramatic.

      “Special Powers”

      Written by Guebri VanOver and directed by Adam J. Jefferis – an exploration into the mind of a woman with supernatural powers struggling with her demons and struggling to trust and be honest for the first time (very effective at making the audience feel her stress, her scattered thoughts, her indecision, the push and pull of her thoughts – I found myself tensing up and relaxing with each round of her struggle).

      “Clean Slate”

      Written by Bob Turton and directed by Ethan Corn – a woman is offered the change to participate in an experiment where her mind is wiped clean and she can have absolute freedom of choice.

      “Intimacy Why”

      Written by Cady Zuckerman and directed by Zoe Hall – a woman’s quest for reason in her dysfunctional relationship with intimacy, through the lens of Aristotle’s causes for action.

      “Have You Ever Done This Before?”

      Written by Mashka Wolfe and directed by Bronwyn Leland Watson – about women, men, sex workers, and the entertainment industry (with some hilarious results when the director insists two women do the scene in less than intuitive manner).

      “See Bots Chat”

      Written by Will McFadden and directed by Jason Ryan Lovett – a scientist experiments with manipulating two androids to fall in love and discover what it means to be human (hysterical – another of my favorites – the lines were clever and the actors’ timing was perfect).

      “The Futurist Manifesto”

      Written by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti – a group of young men in 1909 Italy frantically and purposefully drawing plans for the destruction of art and literature, the cleansing of humanity, and the subjugation of women, believing these ideas will usher in a great new era of art and literature and will ride to the forefront on man made electricity, speed and flight, influencing the beginnings of twentieth century fascism. Each doctrine of the Manifesto is directed by one of the ten directors of the evening (this was the opening play and it was dark, loud, and powerful, a well choreographed assault on the ears, eyes, and emotions, a real in-your-face start to this series, I was immediately immersed in the mini-play experience and ready for the following 10 plays).

      “The Cat Play”

      Written by Della Saba and Chas Harvey and directed by Adam Bennett – the story of a man and his judgmental talking cat and their struggle to live together harmoniously while pursuing their dreams (silly, fun, and clever, I loved the concept and the human attributes of the cat, which I see in my cats all the time).

      “Just Be Worthy”

      Written by Dora Kiss and directed by Pierre Adeli – is a nightmare look at the waiting line in heaven and what is to be expected in purgatory and hell; a world of lotteries, contests, and selfies with Jesus (an outrageous, colorful fantasy with very expressive characters and irreverent thoughts on our final destination).

      The theater is located inside the historical Ivy Substation building (Photo - Jengod).

      The theater is located inside the historical Ivy Substation building (Photo – Jengod).

      The Actors’ Gang Theatre
      9070 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

      • Final Performance – June 16 8:00 pm
      General admission: $25 – $34.99 (discount tickets for some dates available @ goldstar.com)
      Purchase here.

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