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Wednesday, 14 February 2018 04:49

Burt…A Homeless Odyssey @ Theatre 68

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Theatre 68 Festival Presents: "Burt…A Homeless Odyssey," running February 10 through March 31

Written by Sam Henry Kass

Directed by Ronnie Marmo

Making its world premiere at the lovely Theatre 68, “Burt…A Homeless Odyssey” is an homage to all those misunderstood and underappreciated souls who yearn for the freedom to create.

The play begins with Burt, an increasingly stifled and artistically suppressed poet, coming clean with his wife about his misbegotten lyrical leanings.  She reacts badly and Burt chooses the streets rather than give up his calling.

Once officially homeless Burt, bounces from one disaster to another, causing havoc and spontaneous suicide and various other wild reactions to his heartfelt rhymes.  In ever-increasing confusion and deepening guilt, Burt spirals downward through arrests, brutality and despair all the while scribbling profound verse in his tattered notebook.

It sounds sad and it is in parts, but mostly it’s uproariously funny. 

BURT Nima Jafari Hansford Prince Ed Dyer via www.nohoartsdistrict.com
Nima Jafari, Hansford Prince, Ed Dyer

The characters Burt encounters are bizarre and comical but also staggeringly familiar and true.  These are the people of our world, in all their vulgarity and ridiculousness.  They squirm and gesticulate their way around our hero’s tale, all the while mocking him relentlessly, while he, who at first seemed the most contemptible of all becomes ironically the most precious.  Burt is the antithesis of this cold and savage world created by Sam Henry Kass ("Lusting After Pepino’s Wife," "The Search for One-Eyed Jimmy").  His passion to understand and to share that understanding putting him in peril and in torment.  But without this tortuous world there would be no poet and no poetry to save it.  Is that enough meaning for Burt? 

You’ll have to go and see this spectacular play to find out!!  “Burt…A Homeless Odyssey” is dirty and powerful, thrilling and repellent, touching and meaningful.  It's a bit like a bad date that turns into a bank robbery…and then you end up falling in love.

It doesn’t always work out well, this kind of heated, reckless humor, full of overt pain and paranoia. But when it does, it doe, and this play knocks it out of the park.

Everyone is brilliant.  This play requires actors with stamina and guts, but also with an ability to play difficult, prickly people with humor and grace.  All these wonderful actors are all to a fault pretty perfect for this play.  The role of the poet Burt is played with particular wide-eyed wonder and heartbreak by the splendid Ed Dyer who never seems to miss a beat even as those around him try to break him.

Ronnie Marmo’s fearless direction sets the stage with a dangerous energy as well as a kind of tender, vivid humanity.  We are all on the edge of our seats.

I highly recommend "Burt…A Homeless Odyssey."  It’s part of the Theatre 68 Festival and if you have a soul and yearn for some New York piss and vinegar, then run, don’t walk to get your tickets…it’s a short run.

BURT Ed Dyer,  Raffi Mauro via www.nohoartsdistrict.com
Ed Dyer, Raffi Mauro

Times and Tickets

http://theatre68.com

Running February 10 through March 31. Main stage with performances on Saturday and Sunday at 7pm.

No performances on: Feb 18th, March 18th

Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 91601

CAST INCLUDES

Ed Dyer “Burt," Laura Lee Botsacos "Sadie", Jenny Nwene "Lorna", Chris Kelly "Cop 1 / Mime / Barron Trump", Thomas F. Evans "Cop #2", George Russo "Lawyer", Raf Mauro "Rabbi", Toni Perrotta "Volunteer", Nima Jafari "Immigration Officer", Hansford Prince "Homeless Guy", Drew Hinckley "Actor", Hope Bello LaRoux "Young Woman", Kelly Mullis "Society Woman / Melania Trump", Joseph Covino “Isaac"

Written by Sam Henry Kass

Directed by Ronnie Marmo

Assistant Director: Hope Bello LaRoux

Co-producers: Ronnie Marmo, Katy Jacoby, Veniese Razo

Technical Director: Peter Osterwei

Read 1754 times Last modified on Wednesday, 14 February 2018 12:21
Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer, director, filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She co-created the unprecedented project 52 Films/52 Weeks: A Year in Filmmaking, where she and her partners, wrote, directed, produced and edited a film a week for an entire year. She currently has several independent film projects at various stages of development.  

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