Review of Bare Naked Angels

Bare Naked Angels, a Toys for Tots benefit at Actors Workout Studio in the NoHo Arts District

Bare Naked Angels – What can I say about this unique and always touching show at The Actors Workout Theatre. 

For the ninth year in a row, this very special presentation of the work and the lives of the current group of actors in development at Actors Worksout Studio presents its Christmas event. 

This is autobiographical storytelling.  The actors all take a story from their lives, some dramatic, some poignant and some strange, but all fiercely honest, and they weave them all together, the one picking up from the last in a seamless, intricate pattern of truth. 

Loosely themed around the holidays, these fascinating glimpses into some very private and warmly comical moments remind us all how closely linked we really are, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.  

The masterful intertwining of these tales lies in the very careful hands of Stacy Ann Raposa, and what a brilliant job she has done.  Managing to meld some of the most important moments in these actors’ lives together without minimizing or pandering to the obvious or the stratagem of the plot is quite a feat I can tell you and very, very deftly done. 

The actors themselves are all eager and breathless and perfectly in tune with both each other and their own very real and deep sense of urgency to share their most precious and most defining parts of themselves with us. And they do it quite beautifully. 

Not perfect, not flawless, but honest and quiet, and with the openness of a group therapy session and the fluidity of your very favorite poem…the one you know by heart and whisper to yourself when you need some urgent centering. 

It’s such a strange thing really, to share intimate and life-changing pieces of your life with complete strangers.  So used to doing just that, safe in the anonymity of the inter-web, that it becomes all the more astonishing when witnessed in the flesh, so to speak. 

This process of self-examination and developing a story to perform takes four months of work, and the actors, some well experienced and some not, must make very real bonds with each other on their journey.  You can certainly see that as they perform together.  They are all on stage with each other the entire show, sitting around as if in a storytelling circle, supporting, emboldening, smiling and sometimes even crying as their stories, woven together so gently, careen from humor to tragedy and back again. 

I always enjoy the work produced at the Actors Workout Studio, but I think these Christmas events must be my favorite of all.  Witnessing these brave souls sharing, trusting and growing right before our eyes is a joy. We all need some joy don’t we, especially at this time of year?

Also, all the profits from the ticket sales go to Toys For Tots, which is spectacular! 

There are just four more performance of this little gem of a production, so don’t dawdle!! 

I highly recommend ‘Bare Naked Angels’ at The Actors Workout Theatre. 4735 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 91602

December 9 – December 18

Friday and Saturday at 8PM, Sunday at 7PM

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.