|There are few opportunities for true theatre lovers in Los Angeles to get their fix. (Yes, a drug reference and this, the realm of addiction being addressed) The people to which I am referring are the ones who believe in the church of theatre, that it’s a powerful form of Art not to be taken lightly, nor for granted… the people who would choose a live performance over anything in a movie theatre or on the television in the comfort of their own home. Any day. These are the folks with the fundamental belief that theatre can change the world.
If I have described you, and certainly you know who you are… run (literally run!) as fast as you can to the Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theatre and camp on their doorstep until you can see their 4th season stunner, Blackbird. The production has been extended through Sept 12th… but the venue is small, and word has spread. Do not miss this rare opportunity to see theatre that challenges and changes you.
Are the rest of you not so fervent theatregoers intrigued? You should be. But I find myself in a bind. I shall resist the urge to throw spoilers about in a reckless fashion in order to lure you to the theatre. I fear that it would lessen the experience. Here’s what I can carefully tell you:
Blackbird, written by Scottish playwright, David Harrower and directed by Robin Larsen is a thought provoking, dark, and dare I say shocking (if that is possible in this day and age) play… err, love story, maybe. It takes place in a bleak, garbage strewn workplace lunchroom, with junky tables and chairs, metal lockers and unforgiving fluorescent lights adding to the, well… awful. In this uninviting space we spend 90 minutes witnessing the surprise confrontation of Ray (Sam Anderson) about a highly inappropriate affair that took place 15 years ago by a younger and obviously fragile Una (Corryn Cummins). In their exchange a black and white world becomes a wash of grey as they rehash the details of the past relationship and the devastating aftermath. It’s a bumpy ride with twists and turns. All angles… every nook and cranny explored. You’ll look away and be drawn in. You will question your own preconceived notions with every step of the journey.
The acting is superb. The benefit in attending this late in the game, as the show has been running for a couple of months, is that Anderson and Cummins are entrenched and committed. You don’t see this kind of success often on stage, and it’s mesmerizing. The chemistry between the two is tangible. It’s simply fine, fine acting. The story is compelling and poetically written. Director Robin Larson gives the show the respect it deserves by summonsing detailed truthful, yet simple performances.
The set and the lighting (Stephanie Kerley Schwartz and Leigh Allen, respectively) were integral to the storytelling, and perfection. Who says a tiny back box theatre can’t have an impeccable set and lights? You have one here, and it exponentially increases the experience.
Have I not gushed enough? This is theatre at it’s best, folks. I’m impressed beyond words. Go.
5041 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles
5 pm Saturdays and Sundays, and 8 pm Mondays
Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes