• FLASH Festival, Giovanni Bejarano and Alex Quijano (Photo - Halei Parker).

      FLASH Festival, Giovanni Bejarano and Alex Quijano (Photo – Halei Parker).

      I was first introduced to Chalk Repertory Theatre a few months ago when I attended “In Case of Emergency,” a play performed in residential garages in several local cities (I attended the performance in Pasadena).

      By Carol Edger Germain

      Chalk Repertory Theatre, founded in 2008, is “dedicated to producing classical and contemporary plays in unconventional spaces. Working with a diverse group of artists, Chalk Rep creates work that is designed to reach a non-traditional audience and stimulate community discussion with an aim to transform the ideas that non-theatregoers have about what theatre can be, to create work that is intimate, relevant, and accessible to all.” They have no permanent theater “home,” but instead have performed in spaces such as the La Brea Tar Pits, a luxury downtown apartment building, and the Natural History Museum.

      FLASH Festival, Feodor Chin and Matt Carlson (Photo - Halei Parker).

      FLASH Festival, Feodor Chin and Matt Carlson (Photo – Halei Parker).

      This time it is St. John’s Cathedral in downtown L.A.. Being able to walk around and visit the many beautiful spaces in this amazing cathedral was an event and a treat in itself. The FLASH Festival is a biennial event for Chalk Rep. 15 Los Angeles Playwrights are invited to create 10-minute plays inspired by the space in which they are performed (this year’s them was religion of course, since it was in a cathedral, and that other thing you’re not supposed to talk about to avoid trouble but which it seems has been almost the only thing people are talking about this crazy election year….politics). The writers have one month to write the plays, then they are assigned 15 directors and 15 acting teams, with each team allowed no more than 10 hours of rehearsal. It’s an ambitious concept and production, and I thoroughly enjoyed all five plays and admire the dedication and skills of the participants to pull it off so quickly.

      FLASH Festival, Eva Wielgat Barnes, Reuben Uy, and Alexis Genya (Photo - Halei Parker).

      FLASH Festival, Eva Wielgat Barnes, Reuben Uy, and Alexis Genya (Photo – Halei Parker).

      The plays I saw were only performed the first weekend of the festival, and there is only one weekend left, again with five 10-minute newly written and produced plays. I particularly related to the play “Him and Her,” (yes, THAT him and her) as the resolution of the diverse political views of the two closely related actors was left hanging, as is my relationship with some family members who took it to that level. There was another play with a political theme, and the other three were more about various religious ideas and practices. I loved that they were all left hanging a bit, stimulating the audience to think about them and reflect on their own opinions and beliefs, rather than having an ending with a directed conclusion.

      FLASH Festival, Feodor Chin and Matt Carlson (Photo - Halei Parker).

      FLASH Festival, Feodor Chin and Matt Carlson (Photo – Halei Parker).

      The plays for the final performances this week are “Quite Contrary,” by Dorothy Fortenberry; Directed by Kris Lencowski (Three Marys outside Jesus’s tomb have to decide whether to reveal that he has gone missing – which they know will lead to the founding of Christianity and all that comes next); “Patch of Blue” by Lisa Kenner Grissom; Directed by Johnny Kwon; “Holy Crap” by Meg Miroshnik; Directed by Jennifer Chang; “Sock Angels” by Rachel Axler; Directed by Adam J. Smith (Two sock puppets contemplate faith and existence in the courtyard outside a wedding). Highly recommended! In addition,

      I recommend you put your name on this company’s email list so you’ll get notice of upcoming productions if the concept of site-specific plays by talented writers, directors, producers and actors appeals to you.

      FLASH Festival
      • Four remaining plays.
      • The entire Festival is written by 15 Los Angeles Playwrights, performed by 15 Team of Actors, and directed by 15 Directors.
      St. John’s Cathedral
      514 West Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007
      Limited lot parking (get there early); otherwise, street parking.

      • Final performances:
      Thurs. 10/20, Fri. 10/21, and Sat. 10/22 at 7 p.m.
      General admission: $20 online or cash at the door; $15 student tickets available with the code “chalkstudent”.
      • Buy tickets here (click on performance day).

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