The Road Theatre Presents “Friends With Guns,” Written by Stephanie Alison Walker. Directed by Randee Trabitz.
March 15 through May 11, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm
Boy, is this a timely play. As usual, the incomparable folks at The Road Theatre Company are taking on subjects firmly out there in our zeitgeist and getting in our face about them. Isn’t that what art does best?
Arianna Ortiz, Christian Telesmar, Brian Graves and Kate Huffman
“Friends With Guns” tackles a few particularly grotty subjects. How being a mom can feel isolating and challenging and how we judge ourselves so harshly, the pressures of being perfect are intense. It also touches on the still seemingly immovable roles of parenting, how we change so drastically as we become older versions of ourselves, at least some of us, and how that can leave people behind, often without them even noticing.
But really this play is about guns…and friends. How very, very rare it is to find really good friends, especially as we get further and further through our life. So how much would we compromise our values, our core concepts when faced with something so gorgeous, mythological and yearned for as a real and wonderful friend?
Brian Graves and Kate Huffman
They play begins when an over-stressed and depressed young mother who totally loses in front of her kids at the neighborhood park one early morning, after several nights of no sleep. Another mother bears witness to this fit and the play begins to answer the question of who we really are.
The mother, Shannon, is, of course, mortified and ashamed. But the other mother, Leah, is audaciously comforting, understanding and angelic, and a bond between them is formed immediately. They find one of those unicorn connections and gushingly share this with their spouses and a dinner is instantly planned.
All unfolds brilliantly at first; great food, laughs, a few drinks and the puzzle pieces seem to fit together effortlessly until Josh, Shannon’s overly excited husband, begins to go down the political rabbit hole and the subject suddenly comes up of how weird people who have guns must be.
Of course, opposite views are vociferously shared and lines are drawn, hurtful things are said and the evening is over. Men don’t back down easily, women are more subtle with their battles, more prone to compromise and even change. The two women remain friends and Shannon finds herself drawn into something of an adventure, one that Josh has no intention of taking part in.
Christian Telesmar and Brian Graves
It’s a complex play, although the ideas seem simple enough. These days our politics are as much a part of us as our blood type and just as easily changed. But what we ourselves believe and who we are to others, like our husbands and wives, can get twisted and become immovable. We change as we grow, we understand ourselves better and sometimes those around us fear that – so connected are they to who and what we once were and how that defines them.
I loved this play. The characters are bold and beautifully written. The ying and the yang of them all give this piece a simple clear truth and a strikingly honest glimpse into what we really think of each other and how deep the damage can go.
It’s always a joy to sit in the steep seats of the Road Theatre. I never know what will unfold onstage or where the journey will lead us. Always revelatory, never boring, pushing us to think more and feel everything. This play is just as good as everything else they produce and the performances are absolutely spectacular.
Randee Trabitz directs them all with tenderness, heart and heat…bravo!!
As always, get your tickets fast. The Road has a habit of success so they can run out of tickets! I highly recommend that you go see “Friends With Guns.”
The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 91601
Brian Graves as Josh
Kate Huffman as Shannon
Arianna Ortiz as Leah
Christian Telesmar as Danny
The Design Team:
Set Design by Stephen Gifford; Lighting Design by Derrick McDaniel; Sound Design by David B. Marling; Costume Design by Michele Young. Properties Design by Heath Harper; Fight Director/Armorer is Jen Albert. The Production Stage Manager is Erick Marquez. FRIENDS WITH GUNS is produced by Michelle Gillette, Chet Grissom and Susie Lever.