[NoHo Arts District, CA] – Written by Alessandra Assaf and Michael Lorre, directed by Michael A. Shepperd and starring Assaf in the title role, the world premiere of Twelve O’Clock Tales with Ava Gardner will run every Sunday from January 15 through March 5 at the Whitefire Theatre.
Movie star. Femme fatale. Homewrecker. Civil Rights activist. The Whitefire Theatre plays host to a new solo play, Twelve O’Clock Tales with Ava Gardner, that reveals the contradictions and complexities of the passionate and deeply flawed woman behind silver screen icon Ava Gardner.
Hollywood, California… 1974. On the set of the blockbuster disaster film, Earthquake, Oscar nominated screen siren Ava Gardner is focusing on her first big budget starring role in over a decade. Tucked away in her dressing room bungalow, the “queen of the scandal sheets” does battle with her past. But only a fool would bet against Ava.
“Ava was a star in the ‘40s and ‘50s, but she had the sensibility and morés of today’s millennial,” says Assaf. “She enjoyed her sexuality and had agency over herself in a way that women were not permitted to at the time. She fought against racism and believed in the right to choose.”
Famous for her tumultuous life that included marriages to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra as well as numerous love affairs, the Academy Award-nominated actress was raised the daughter of poor tobacco sharecroppers in Grabtown, North Carolina. She never forgot her rural roots, always calling herself a “country girl.” Although raised in a small Southern town, she was a life-long advocate for Civil Rights. As a child, she ignored Jim Crow laws to sit with Black children in the segregated section of movie theaters. She supported 1948 presidential hopeful Henry Wallace, who opposed school segregation and would not speak in front of crowds unless they were desegregated. She counted Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge among her close friends, and her longtime assistant, Mearene “Reenie” Jordan, became her closest personal confidante. In 1968 Gardner became a member of the NAACP.
Turner Classic Movies named Gardner “Star of the Month” in November, writing, “She was stunningly beautiful and glamorous, yet earthy and uninhibited at the same time. Once dubbed ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Animal’ in a publicity campaign, her image was often distorted by the gossip columnists, news of divorces and Hollywood myths. Born Dec. 24, 1922, her legend is still discussed 100 years after her birth.”
“No matter how evolved we think we’ve become, eye candy remains a powerful force,” notes Assaf. “Could our sense of sight be the most flawed or corrupt of our senses? What Mother Nature affords us physically is mere chance. For some, that chance can shape a destiny — from the elephant man to Ava Gardner.”
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The NoHo Arts District is a one-square-mile community in North Hollywood that is home to more than 20 live, professional theatres, dance studios, art galleries, public art, music recording venues, acting and art workshops, international dining options, clothing and specialty shops, and businesses that create a myriad of art forms. NoHo is "Where the Arts Are Made." - "NoHoArtsDistrict.com"
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