Our second set of Fringe shows Sunday night turned from the comedy of the first two shows into the dramatic. The 6:30 pm show, 2 for 1, consisted of two solo-performance shows on seemingly unrelated subjects. The second, Moral Fixation (originally titled Boys Will Be Boys) explored a really interesting relationship question.
2 for 1 (HFF19, WWW) was, in some ways, theatrical whiplash. The performance consisted of two one-woman shows that were very distinct from each other, with no program to provide any context or background.
The first, Simulakra, performed by Alyssa Virker (FB), was much like the performer: an enigma. As a modern dance piece, it was wonderful. As a story, however, I’m less sure. Perhaps if I had the underlying assumed context, it would have helped.
The story appeared to be about a simulation of a human that was being loaded with a personality. There were four to choose from: Catwoman, Amalie, Mary, and some female animated dog. Of those three, I had only seen the movie basis for one (Amalie), and was aware only peripherally of Catwoman. So the context was clearly lost.
In any case Simulakra decides to have all four personalities, and then proceeds to keep switching between them. It showed off the performer’s range well … but as a story it was hard to follow.
The second show, however, was great: My Dead Mom’s Funeral by Angela Beevers (FB). Just like the catharsis of Supportive White Parents, this show explored Angela dealing with the death of her mother of brain cancer, and having to write a eulogy. She goes to an online eulogy assistant, and starts trying to follow their advice to tell the story of the relationship with her mother. In doing so, we not only learn about Angela, we get a heartfelt tribute to her mother. It is at times funny, at times sad, at times angry, and always touching. Plus it ends with a belly dance.
Throughout the performance, we get Beevers donning wigs and becoming characters, and demonstrating her versatility and storying telling skills.
If there is one drawback to the show, it is the lack of a program: and thus, a lack of credits for stage manager and other supporting staff. Both of the performers are assistants in real life; they should understand the importance of crediting the people who help them.
2 for 1 has four more performances: Thu 6/13 @ 630p; Thu 6/20 @ 830p; Thu 6/27 @ 1030p; and Sun 6/30 @ 400p. I wasn’t that crazy about the first one-woman show, but the second was great. Tickets are available through the Fringe website.
I was unsure what to make of our last show of the evening, Moral Fixation, when I read the description:
Morality isn’t necessarily logical. Watch Caleb and Claire, fiancès wildly in love with a bit of a hooker problem. When a (maybe not so) sordid detail from Caleb’s past comes to light, Claire’s (over the top) reaction has them, and a few close friends, talking a lot about sex and morals. A dark comedy with (a wounded) heart.
It turns out, however that the show — written by Cara Loften (FB) and Gabriel A. Berkovich (FB) — is much deeper than dark, and that it does what theatre should do: raises questions. In this case, it is the nature of our past when we go into a relationship. After Caleb’s uncle makes it know that he has bought a hooker for an employee, Claire asks Caleb if he has ever been with a hooker. Never ask a question you don’t want the answer to, because he has. It turns out to be quite upsetting to her. The play then explores her reaction to Caleb’s past — and why. It also raises the question about Claire’s past, when she slept around like crazy while she was drinking. Does whether you’re sober make a difference? Does whether it is for money make a difference? Does whether you enjoyed it make a difference? These are the questions explored in this play.
Good dramas leave an audience with questions to discuss on the car ride home. This play did that. The performances — under the direction of John Coppola (FB) — came across as realistic, and the leads had a chemistry that made you believe in the relationship.
Speaking of leads: Unsurprisingly for Fringe, the authors played the leads: Cara Loften (FB) as Claire and Gabriel A. Berkovich (FB) as Caleb. They clearly were strong in their performances. Supporting them were Veronica Alicino (FB) Joan; Bil Dwyer (FB) Ted; and Kate Robertson (FB) Beth.
Moral Fixation has two more performances: Fri 6/14 @ 830p, and Sat 6/29 @ 230p. The show raises some great questions in the context of some wonderful performances. It is well worth seeing. Tickets are available through the Fringe website.
Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre (or music) critic; I am, however, a regular theatre and music audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted (or I’ll make a donation to the theatre, in lieu of payment). I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at 5 Star Theatricals (FB), the Hollywood Pantages (FB), Actors Co-op (FB), the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) [2018-2019 season], and the Musical Theatre Guild (FB). Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals). I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.
The the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB) has started. If you are unfamilar with Fringe, there are around 380 shows taking place over the month of June, mostly in the stretch of Santa Monica Blvd between 1 bl W of La Brea to 1 bl E of Vine, but all generally in Hollywood. On a first pass, there were lots I was interested in, 30 I could fit on a calendar, but even less that I could afford. Here is my current Fringe schedule as of the date of this writeup. [Here’s my post with all shows of interest — which also shows my most current HFF19 schedule. Note: unlike my normal policy, offers of comps or discounts are entertained, but I have to be able to work them into the schedule with the limitations noted in my HFF19 post]:
- ✔ Sat, June 8: 10a-3p ✔ ⊕Gluten Free Expo (Pasadena Convention Center) 🍪 ✔ 8p She Kills Monsters (Hobgoblin) 🎭 ✔ 10pm The 2nd Annual Trump Family Special (Hobgoblin)
- ✔ Sun, June 9: ✔ 4p Hamilkong (Complex/OMR) 🎭 ✔ 530p Supportive White Parents (Broadwater/2nd) 🎭 ✔ 630p °2 for 1(Complex/OMR) 🎭 ✔ 830p °Moral Fixation (Studio C)
- Sat, Jun 15: 330p °Gunfight at the Not-So-OK Saloon (McCadden) 🎭 830p ⊕Bronco Billy – The Musical (Skylight Theatre (FB))
- Sun, June 16: 345p °Johnny ’81 (Complex/Ruby) 🎭 6p Town Brawl (Thymele Arts)
- Sat, June 22: 200p °Silver Bullet (Underground Annex) 🎭 330p Shirley Valentine (Underground Annex) 🎭 630p A Night Out by Harold Pinter (Complex/Flight) 🎭 830p °Neighborhood Watch (Underground Annex)
- Sun, June 23: 430p °Chrysalis (Thymele Arts) 🎭 8p Public Domain: The Musical (Actors Company/LLT)
- Fri, June 28: 8p ⊕Indecent (Ahmanson Theatre (FB))
- Sat, June 29: 130p Four Clowns Present: Shakedown at the Dusty Spur (Broadwater/BB) 🎭 3p A Time Travelers Guide to the Present (Broadwater/BB) 🎭 630p Wigfield (Hudson/Backstage)
🛑 Note: The LA Cultural Festival is today. Do not attempt to cross Hollywood Blvd, in either direction, until the early evening.
- Sun, June 30: 1p [Title of Show] (Actors Company/LLT) 🎭 3p Earth to Karen (Broadwater/BB)
Key: ⊕: Non-Fringe Show/Event; °: Producer/Publicist Arranged Comp or Discount
As for July, it is already filling up. The first weekend of the month is still open. The second weekend brings An Intimate Evening with Kristen Chenowith at,The Hollywood Bowl (FB). The third weekend of July brings Miss Saigon at the Hollywood Pantages (FB), followed by A Comedy of Errors from Shakespeare by the Sea (FB)/Little Fish Theatre(FB). The last weekend of July brings West Side Story at 5 Star Theatricals (FB). August starts with an alumni Shabbat at camp, and The Play That Goes Wrong at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB). August ends with Mother Road at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (FB), and we might do rush tickets for Alice in Wonderland as well. In between those points, August is mostly open.
As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Better-Lemons, Musicals in LA, @ This Stage, Footlights, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves. Want to know how to attend lots of live stuff affordably? Take a look at my post on How to attend Live Theatre on a Budget. Want to learn about all the great theatre in Southern California? Read my post on how Los Angeles (and its environs) is the best area for theatre in the Country!