Written by Sam Henry Kass. Directed by Ronnie Marmo.
Sam Henry Kass has premiered quite a few of his rather unique plays at Theatre 68, and Ronnie Marmo has been instrumental in bringing them to the stage.
In this, his latest fascinating opus, Ronnie directs. The play is set in a therapist’s office and follows the unstable and tortured souls of three patients and one drop-in.
The first patient’s session is interrupted unceremoniously by a clearly narcissistic second, vying shamelessly and pathetically for the therapist’s attention. The third patient is apparently performing in a play at the neighboring theatre and the fourth, although displaying obvious psychological distress, turns out to the therapist’s teenage son. What teenager doesn’t seem to be in need of constant psychiatric help?
It’s a riotous cacophony of breakdowns and breakthroughs, of outbursts and frustration fueled crises of the mind, heart and soul.
The therapist bravely juggles them all as they storm the room, determined to out need each other. They are desperate, pushy, demanding and obtuse and she is nimble, clever and never overwhelmed.
All these psychosis, their origin notwithstanding, point us in the same direction – loneliness. In a society built around numbers always bigger than one, it’s easy to see how individuals can get lost, forgotten and left behind. Loneliness and isolation lead them to fear, confusion and anger. Isn’t it the beginning of all our troubles? Wondering if we are beyond, or outside or completely separate from everyone else. These characters are echos of what we all feel in our darkest moments. They are us manifested on stage, full of drama and vitriol and sadness. Blaming everyone and everything else for their numerous bad decisions and blunders.
Sam Henry Kass is the kind of writer who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.
He isn’t afraid to open up the can and shake out all the worms that hide inside. It’s poetry really, watching them all wriggle and squirm under the microscope of an audience, a stage and some lights. We are all there together just trying to figure it all out. It’s brilliant. It’s sad, strange, fourth-wall-shattering and brilliant. Under the direction of Ronnie Marmo, the actors are able to explore their madness and their pain and the audience is able to laugh with them, not at them. It’s an excellent way to get past the gruesome similarities of our own dark souls.
Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 91601
Running Oct 18 through Nov 16, Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Matinees Oct 20 & 27 at 3pm
Hansford Prince, Paul Jacek, Thomas F. Evans, Jonathan Moreno, Tamara Braun
Assistant Director & Stage Manager – Yasha Rayzberg
Co-Producers – Sarah Haruko, Molly Leach & Cortney Roles
Assistant Stage Manager – Cortney Roles
Lighting Designer – Aaron Craig
Lights & Sound Op – Princeton Egbe & Joel Rosario
Publicist – Sandra Kuker PR
Postcard Design – Sarah Haruko
Playbill – Sandra McHale