Elaine Supple Nature - Naked and Innocent Weekly

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In short, there's plenty of flash, flesh and fantasy, suitably toned down for a family audience. Neal Weaver. El Portal Theatre, Lankershim Blvd. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

HAMLET It's anyone's guess what vision might have guided director Ellen Geer's fervent but unfocused, Medieval-dress version of Shakespeare's most baroque and psychologically nuanced tragedy. There's certainly little hint of the Oedipal undercurrents or political allegorizing that have been a mainstay of 20th-century productions. Nor is there much sign of the paralyzing conflict between faith in purpose and intellectual certainty, which traditionally drives its hero's famously agonized inaction. In the case of Mike Peebler's Hamlet, neither his mission nor its justness ever seems in doubt; Peebler attacks the role with the zeal and righteous wrath of the recently converted.

Even his soliloquies are delivered at the audience as if from a pulpit.

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Gertrude Melora Marshall in turn appears more pissed off at her son's increasingly antic disposition than aggrieved by what it might imply about his sanity. Claudius Aaron Hendry , by contrast, comes off as positively good-natured, a guy caught with his hand in the cookie jar rather than his fingerprints all over a nefarious regicide. Willow Geer is convincing as a feisty yet vulnerable Ophelia, though even here the method of her madness seems more a response to the murder of Polonius a very broad Carl Palmer than any jilting by Hamlet.

Director Geer keeps it all moving at a fast clip, but some exasperatingly eccentric blocking divides the focus of too many critical turning points — most egregiously in the mousetrap scene — all but obliterating their dramatic purpose. Bill Raden.

  • By Samuel Merwin.
  • Sette notti di piacere (Italian Edition);
  • Guide Elaine Supple Nature - Naked and Innocent Weekly;
  • Heart of England: Contributions to the Evening Standard, 1939-1941.

Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. Mark Taper Forum, N. Grand Ave. But if the recipient read it instead of tossing in onto a pile of similarly gifted minibooks, she'd find a classy little number, a J. Peterman catalog minus the pretentiousness. With sparse text and barebones sketches, Beckerman records her history through the clothes she and her female relatives wore.

But this is Nora Ephron, and chumminess quickly trumps austerity. Fortunately, though, the Ephron sisters have nimbly stitched together the scenes so that there's far more head nodding than eye rolling. Rebecca Haithcoat. Geffen Playhouse, Le Conte Ave. Second St.

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  5. Fitting that nature should interject its opinion on that most futile of human emotions that motorizes the action of Shakespeare's tragedy. Director Melissa Chalsma has elicited smart, sharp, funny interpretations from her cast, notably Cameron Knight, Andre Martin, David Melville and Bernadette Sullivan; and even with the distractions that accompany an outdoor performance bring blankets and sweaters , the audience was rapt throughout.

    Melville, a charismatic villain, transforms physically as Iago, bounding confidently at Act 1 opens, only to become hunched and shuffling as if shackled by mid-play. Shakespeare proves to have been a cultural seer — he set an African as commander-in-chief long before we even considered the idea — commenting on interracial marriage ages before Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and promoting feminist ideology centuries before Gloria Steinem became a Playboy Bunny.

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    Universal truths keep him relevant; here, it's how susceptible we are to doubt and how jealousy erects a steel coffin around the mind. The desire to exact justice after being provoked by senseless injustices keeps Shakespeare satisfying, despite the inevitable high body count that revenge can accrue. Here, justice is served by a woman choosing truth over matrimonial obedience, while the revenge is as misguided as it is pointless. The play, if one dares to call it that, is at its best during those trial scenes in which the event's only actor, Laurence Fishburne reprising his Broadway appearance, plays out scenes from the series of trials as both both Marshall and his opponent, John W.

    Unfortunately, this courtroom drama, which constitutes a fleeting if climactic segment of the piece, is the only drama. The rest is a lecture by Marshall at Howard University in which, for little apparent reason other than his acceptance of a lecture fee, he reflects on his life and career. Fishburne portrays him as both folksy and crusty, with nice physical detail as the man ages, but this is all a bit like Hal Holbrook portraying Mark Twain: completely dependent on wit, whimsy and legend, while bypassing so much of the human being underneath.

    He refers to his difficult character, but that darker side has no reason or context to show itself, and that would be a show. Okay, I'll keep that in mind. What saves Leonard Foglia's production from tedium is the history lesson itself, how in economic downturns we, like most countries, turn on the spigot of racial hatred, which spews over so many laws that have tried to contain it. Elaine J. McCarthy's projection designs are a cinematic yet effective way to bring the last century into our laps. It's an oddity but true here that an idea for a play can be more powerful than the play itself.

    Steven Leigh Morris. West, Hollywood Blvd. Lyric Theatre, N. La Brea Ave. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, W.


    First St. Theatre Asylum, Santa Monica Blvd. A CalArts'. Today, it seems like a time capsule of Brooklyn, and of America in the s, and this feeling is further enhanced by the wonderful period props.

    True to its time, the play has a huge cast and a leisurely pace as it tells the tale of a mob led by Albert Anastasia Johnny Crear. Elisabeth Noone scores as the tough, bighearted proprietress of the neighborhood candy store. There's fine support from a large cast, including Johnny Williams as a portly hit man, Will Beinbrink as a union organizer murdered by the mob, and Adriana Demeo as his girlfriend.


    Director T. Castronovo evokes the style of the old gangster films, and meticulously preserves the period flavor, assisted by Thomas Brown's detailed sets and Sherry Coon's costumes. A stumbling attempt at satire, the piece portrays Shakespeare as a lesser literary light and Burbage as a cretinous narcissist, fed up with dramas about death and threatening to walk unless he gets to be a hero in a play with a positive ending.

    The problem lies not in the lampoon of the theater but in the script itself, which strives for laughs by utilizing misquotes and scrambled references to various Shakespearean plays and characters. Done well, this device would work brilliantly; here, lacking conceptual underpinnings and continuity, it falls flat. Midway through, the actors acknowledge they're on stage and break the fourth wall, appealing to the audience to help resolve their existential dilemma and hasten the comedy to a conclusion.

    At that point if not before shades of Shakespeare for Middle School begin to infiltrate the evening.

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    As to the performances, Grapes is likable, while Briggs' evident gift for larger-than-life burlesque deserves better material. Designers Martin C. Vallejo's set and Anasuya Engel's costumes add period flavor. Deborah Klugman.

    Taming of the Guide - elaine - The Sentinel [Archive of Our Own]

    Macha Theatre, N. Kings Road, West Hollywood; Thurs. For the motley assortment of career barflies, neighborhood hotheads, Walmart Casanovas and lovelorn alcoholics who make it their home away from home, the old-school Hollywood watering hole is the kind of place where everybody knows your name or soon will, though you'll probably regret it long before last call. Playwright Lance Whinery's irresistibly goofy, one-act parody of the hallowed saloon sitcom takes the form into the kind of seedy, low-rent dramatic neighborhood where the denizens of Cheers were never drunk enough to tread.

    And in Thomas Blake's environmental staging, where the audience has ostensibly joined the regulars to toast the beloved bar's final night in business, the manner in which the actors shamelessly cheat their punch lines toward the spectators creates the impression of being a captive member of a live TV-studio audience.