Written by Thea Grabiec
Directed by Stacy Ann Raposa & Thea Grabiec
A famous and successful playwright suffers the ultimate career-ending accusation…plagiarism.
As a writer, I can tell you that this sends a chill of fear through me, even though I have absolutely no need to be fearful. Plagiarism and its horrifying repercussions are something that can absolutely destroy a career, whether or not the accusations are even true. It is here that we begin the play. Several months after these life-changing events, Emma, the playwright, is struggling to complete a new play, one that she hopes will save her reputation and her theatre company. The actors of her company all still believe in her, even though they too have suffered by being blacklisted for their involvement, and are counting on her to revive all their careers.
But this is not the only ‘drama’ in Emma’s life.
She originally formed the theatre company with her lover Amy and it was after Emma suffered an in vitro miscarriage that Amy left her. Emma, distraught, lonely and hormonal, takes up with the lighting designer of her theatre, Anthony, and several months later, unbeknownst to Emma, Amy returns, discovered their relationship and decided to seek revenge.
This play is about lies. It’s about the pressure to succeed, the lure of fame and money and how when something comes too easy, too soon, it isn’t always due to luck and talent. What would any of us do for love? How can we trust our instincts when our own motives are clouded with insecurities and self-doubt. This play has the effect of making us all do a double take on our motivations and the reasons for our life goals. Are we living someone else's life? How well can we ever know those we love? So many questions. But that’s how I left when the play was over. With these kinds of question going around and around in my head, which is good…I think.
This is a fascinating and, rather obviously, a thought-provoking play.
Everyone seems to have an agenda, some more obvious than others, but in the end, however well hidden, it seems clear that everyone is out for themselves and the one who is the most persecuted and probably the most guilty is ultimately the least to blame…which is odd ad refreshing.
“Definition of This” is exceedingly well written and complicated. The characters are interesting and not at all simple and easy to know, but I like that. The cast are all really wonderful, making the most out of their roles, filling the stage with the intimacy of a theatre company and the individual and familiar neurosis of artists. It's a satisfying romp through the very unglamorous world of plays and theatre and literary success and it leaves one with the distinct feeling that it’s one best avoided at all costs…note to self.
I highly recommend “Definition of This” at the Actors Workout Studio. It’s a short run so don’t dawdle…
Running February 16 – March 11, Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 2PM
at the Actors Workout Studio, 4735 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91602
Thea Grabiec, Joe Capucini, Julie Dolan*, Barbara Barkan, Ian McClure, Jenna Newstrom, Adam Mayfield and Connie Jackson*
Producer - Stacy Ann Raposa
Stage Manager - Phil Talsky