The Last Act of Lilka Kadison
Los Angeles is a theatre town. Yes, it is. But the East Valley is a theatre hub. The NoHo Arts District dot com team had the opportunity to chat with the TONY Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company from Chicago on their play “The Last Act of Lilka Kadison” that they brought to L.A., to the Falcon theatre, right here in Burbank.
What is “The Last Act of Lilka Kadison” all about?
Falcon Theatre, Abbie Phillips and Jan Kallish in association with Lookingglass Theatre Company Present the West Coast Premiere of The Last Act of Lilka Kadison written by Nicola Behrman, David Kersnar, Abbie Phillips, Heidi Stillman, Andy White and directed by Dan Bonnell.
At age seventeen, Lilka Kadison flees Poland on the eve of World War II. Seventy years later in Los Angeles, she’s spending her afternoon hassling her son, wrestling her caregiver, and arguing with the ghost who keeps rearranging her furniture – and her memories. Join us on this journey about the power of story, humor and grace in the face of loss. Originally premiered at the Tony Award winning Lookingglass Theatre.
Brittany Uomoleale and Nicholas Cutro star in the West Coast Premiere of THE LAST ACT OF LILKA KADISON, directed by Dan Bonnell and now playing at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Lamont
While everyone seems to be so youth crazed, what inspired you to write a story that features an elderly woman towards the end of her life?
We workshopped this play over a period of time during which life continued around us. Babies were born, parents and grandparents died, teenagers grew up. The idea of exploring the last day in the life of a smart and complicated woman, and meeting her seventy years earlier as a 17 year old felt very compelling. We manage to explore the best both worlds, first love and other discoveries, memories, wit and revelations.
Mindy Sterling and Usman Ally star in the West Coast Premiere of THE LAST ACT OF LILKA KADISON, directed by Dan Bonnell and now playing at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Lamont
What do you want the audience to take with them after seeing the play?
A satisfying full-bodied theatrical experience – one where the audience will find many points of identification. Specifically for NOHO residents, know that you live in the virtual epicenter of the setting of the play.
Inside our carefully handcrafted, production utilizing a well-tuned quartet of actors, live music, innovative production design and magical toy theatre – beats the heart of a giant action epic of the human heart. You’ll laugh, you’ll be delighted, and then tears will flow. And then, call your mother.
How did your writing team come together?
The creation of The Last Act of Lilka Kadison was a collective act. It began originally a radio series, One People, Many Stories was a global survey of classic Jewish stories, produced by Johanna Cooper and myself. Then through the generous imagination of the Righteous Persons Foundation, we joined with TONY Award winning Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago to workshop together to discover the play. David Kersnar, Heidi Stillman and Andrew White are all founding members of the Lookingglass Ensemble. The talented young LA writer Nicola Behrman joined our crew when we lost Johanna Cooper to illness.
Have you worked with director, Dan Bonnell on other projects?
This is the first time. It can be a delicate dance between a writer/producer and a director that we proudly tango-ed through. Dan is a deeply experienced and gifted director and I would relish the opportunity to collaborate again.
Since, you have such a rich and diverse creative background, what advice would you give a new writer?
Make something. Keep at it. Consume everything that makes you curious and inspired.
Where does the play go from here?
There is already interest for productions in some regional theaters, There is even some possibilities of touring abroad. Of course, it would be great to eventually land somewhere in NY. Although, the circumstances of Lilka are very specific, the experience is very universal – and I’d look forward to sharing this with as diverse an audience as possible.
Any future creative projects on the drawing board?
Yes, looking forward to pursuing several theatre projects with some colleagues from Lookingglass Theatre Company.
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