The writer, director & producer of Want's Unwished Work
present a West Coast Premiere!
Glenn A. Barrack Pam Bel Anu Bryan Bellomo Robert Patrick Brink Michael Caldwell Jim Chevallier Gina Marie Fields Jonathan Goldstein Carolyn Hennesy David Holcomb Kim Jackson Sharon MacMenamin Cristian Olave Shirley Roeca John Rosenfeld Alexandria Sage Edward Symington Matthew Troyer Al Vicente Paul C. Vogt Peter Allen Vogt Rachel Dara Wolfe Peter Zamora
(L. to R.) Matthew Troyer, John Rosenfeld & Kim Jackson
(L. to R.) Paul Vogt, Michael Caldwell, & Peter Vogt
BACKSTAGE WEST *Critics Pick
This show is too big, too populated, too sprawling to give you even a
hint in this small space of how delightful the entire production is. And
by big I don't mean overproduced, as the Sacred Fools Theatre is one of
the more intimate spaces in town; I just mean a lot of ground gets
When it comes to theatre in L.A., there are two things that really bug me. First is the fact that some people think that if a play doesn’t cost $65, it is not real theatre. The second is the unfair statement that L.A. isn’t a theatre town. Wrong on both counts. This week I saw three wonderful productions that would have been a bargain at thrice the price.
Last year I went to see a play called “Want’s Unwished Work” by playwright Kirk Wood Bromley. What made the play outstanding is that it was written in verse, of the iambic pentameter variety. “Want’s” was a loose retelling of Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labours Lost,” taking it in a very off-beat, avant-garde, almost slap-stick direction. The production garnered raves and enjoyed a long, extended run. It was a collaboration of the efforts by producer Allen Lulu, director Alexander Yannis Stephano, and a wonderfully talented and energetic cast made up of the folks at The Sacred Fools Theater Company.
I was very impressed by the overall production and enticed by Bromley’s conceit of revisiting the cherished old style. However, with that production, granted a farce, I thought he was a bit too rambunctious in the style, which diminished the story-telling to more of a good, artistic frenzy than true, artistic fervor. I believe, at the time, that with some self-imposed (or objective) discipline, Bromley would be a major contender in the professional, playwrighting arena. With his latest work, “Icaus and Aria,” I think he has found his discipline.
ICARUS and ARIA
As with he’s well touted hit of last year, “Want’s Unwished Work,” playwright Kirk Wood Bromley once again borrows inspiration from Shakespeare (“Romeo and Juliet”). With director Alexander Yannis Stephano again at the helm, he presents the West Coast Premiere of “Icarus and Aria.”
The modern-day, star crossed lovers of the title (a marvelous coupling of Mathew Troyer and Kim Jackson) are from feuding factions. He, a Latino, star quarterback for the Arizona Aztechs with familial ties to the infamous street gang, El Imaginero, via his half-brother Primalo (a dynamic John Rosenfeld), and she, the daughter and darling of the team’s Anglo owner, Jimmy Jones (a powerful Edward Symington). Further interference is run by Aria’s half-brother Jimmy Jr. (David Holcomb) and his own dangerous gang of corporate types. Each fraction comes complete with its racial bigotry, hatreds and complexities. Added to the chaos are the media, always at-the-ready to stir up an already heated situation. Think...rumble.
Within the confines of a tight, realistic drama, Bromley’s verse works wonderfully well. The story line is easy to follow, and the large cast - about 25, though many players do double or triple duty - are as easy to identify in the action. The actors have sharply created defined characters and are well trained in the classic form. Stephano’s staging and flare for theatricality give the play a real sense of style. The drama reaches its pinnacle, with confrontation and gun-play so realistically accomplished that it is quite stunning. With such good performances, it is difficult to point out everyone, but Gina Marie Fields as Trinadad, a sage of sorts to the Jones, and Rachel Dara Wolfe as Aria’s best friend Dina are outstanding. Also, Shirley Roeca shines in a variety of roles.
Burris Jackes’ sprawling set of platforms, stairways and entries as well as his lighting, M.E. Dunn’s very apropos costuming, and J Warner’s sound make up the fine design team. In not many places in town can you see such a solidly produced and performed piece of original theatre for the ticket price of only $10. This is one you should not miss!
At the Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood, ICARUS AND
ARIA, a love story of sorts, makes its west coast premiere.