Written by Morris Panych
Directed by Maria Gobetti
Produced by Tom Ormeny
I’m going to open with just how flippin’ fantastic this production is.
Let’s not mess around talking about how great the writing is, (it’s brilliant), or the hilarious and poignant performances of the actors, (they are all absolutely fabulous). No, let’s get right to the the point and have me tell you that you absolutely HAVE to see this play!
In fact I insist that you stop reading right now and go to: http://thevictorytheatrecenter.org and book yourself some tickets. Seriously, right now!
Now we have that out of the way I can tell you a little about the play.
Set in the back storage room/security office of a grocery store somewhere in America, the plot is quite simple. Two women are caught shoplifting steaks by a rookie security guard hell bent on proving himself on his very first day at work to his boss, who is about to be fired because of his tolerant and understanding approach to shoplifters in general and one lady shoplifter in particular.
Coincidentally, one of the shoplifters is a rookie too, roped in by her over enthusiastic friend trying to force some excitement into what she considers to be her otherwise dreary existence.
Alma, the serious shoplifter, is played with fearless splendor by the wickedly talented Kathleen Baily. Her cohort Phyllis, a shy, odd and more than slightly awkward woman is played by Wendy Johnson, with startling authenticity and sweetness.
Our brave security guards are played by Steve Hofvendahl as the senior officer Otto and Alex Genther as Dom, the newby.
Steve and Alex have created two characters, Otto and Dom, so perfect in their ridiculousness and so charming in their flaws that the audience feels they have no choice but to love and support every insane choice they make.
We watch, completely captivated as these four actors careen through the story as their characters seem to careen through their lives - with no safety net, with glorious abandon and with a vigorous sense of fun.
With Morris Panych’s wonderful and award-winning words, guided by the brilliant and lovely Maria Gobetti as Director, and played with such riveting compassion by all these wonderful actors, how could this play be anything less than genius!!
‘The Shoplifters’ is a call for us all to check our seriousness at the door, to reevaluate the grayness of our lives and to allow ourselves some whimsy and some wonder at the purpose of it all.
I highly recommend ‘The Shoplifters’ at The Victory Theatre Center, 3326 Victory Blvd, Burbank, CA91505.
Performances are from November 6th through December 20th Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 4pm.
Alma - Kathy Bailey
Dom - Alex Genther
Otto - Steve Hofvendahl
Phyllis - Wendy Johnson