The House of Yes
There are dark comedies… and there are pitch-black comedies. Oh, Los Angeles, you have the chance to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The House of Yes now showing at the Zephyr Theatre through June 14th. Wendy MacLeod, a New Dramatist alumna and Yale grad is the playwright behind this dark-as-night tale filled with incest, craziness (literally), love, and guns…and laughs! You may know THOY as the indie film with Parker Posey. Well, it was a play first, people. And you might want to check it out.
There’s a big ‘ole hurricane brewing on Thanksgiving day and the well-to-do Pascal family comprised of Mom (Eileen T’Kaye) younger brother (Nicholas McDonald) and twin sister (Kate Maher) is eagerly waiting the homecoming of Marty (Colin McGurk) who is swinging by for the holiday. But when the news hits that Marty is bringing a friend… his new fiancé (Jeanne Syquia) to be exact, all hell begins to break loose. And by that I mean family secrets unravel that will make even the, “I’ve seen and heard everything” theatregoer start to feel uncomfortable. And this play was written 25 years ago! Go Wendy!
Director (and owner of the Zephyr) Lee Sankowich says, “This is exactly the kind of play I love to direct. Everyone has a secret, and the audience can’t put its finger on the truth right away. It’s funny, shocking, twisted, and highly theatrical.” Sounds like something right up my alley, and it is, although I can’t say that the production is 100% successful. The cast was solid… good. The pace was perfect (90 min., no intermission… my favorite) but it seems everything was just a hair off the night I was in attendance. It could have been post-opening blues. This happens in the theatre. But if I can put on my critic hat for a minute, I’d say that I wanted the performances to go bigger and more theatrical. How often does anyone say that? OR, I wanted the production to explore the nooks and crannies of the “realness” of the wacky script. If very daring… both? A bit bigger/more theatrical AND real. Yes. There could have been more exploration of the class difference (bringing in even more tension) between the family and the fiancé, for example. I did in fact, know that the twin sister, Jackie O was crazy from the first moments on stage without any pre-knowledge of the storyline. That’s unfortunate as it would have been fun to draw that out a bit. Blah. Blah. Blah.
The truth is I nit-pick. What a lovely luxury. It’s a silly, kooky, disturbing show and a one you should gather your friends to go see for a good laugh. And there are plenty of those. Laughs. Uncomfortable as some of them may be. You also can have the pleasure of supporting small theatre in LA by attending one of these performances. And you should do that, in my humble opinion. Two birds, one stone. Win, win.
The Zephyr Theatre
7456 Melrose Ave.,
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(between Fairfax and La Brea)
Fri-Sat 8:00, Sunday 2:00
323-960-5563 or www.plays411.com/hourseofyes
$25/ticket. Also avail on discount websites.