“Lenin’s Embalmers” By Vern Thiessen (produced by LATW)

leninLenin’s Embalmers
By: Vern Thiessen
Narrated by: JD Cullum, Simon Helberg, Gregory Harrison, Jon Matthews, Rufus Sewell, John Sloan, Mark Jude Sullivan, Jocelyn Towne
Length: 1 hr and 11 mins
Release date: 12-05-18
Publisher: L.A. Theatre Works

Yet another  L.A. Theatre Works production finds its way loaded onto my iPod. (yes i still use one.)  Before talking about this particular performance, I have to talk about the quality of LATW’s productions.

LATW takes the time to do it right.  Not only do they have great actors but the crew doing the recording and editing of each of these performances are beyond superb.  The background folks don’t tend to get a lot of credit, so I’m going to rectify that  a bit.

So picture a live performance play.  All the monologues, dialogues, set-pieces, music, and sound effects required to put the audience into this world and enjoy a bit of visual art.  Now take away all that visual stuff and well then play has to stand on its audio performance only.  LATW’s engineers and editors still manage to place the audience into the world of the stage performance without relying on set pieces, lights, facial expressions, or stage blocking.  The audio recordings of all their performances that I’ve had the pleasure of hearing have never let me down and always manage to transport me to the world of the play.

In this play we explore the resilience of the human spirit, ever-changing war games, and the importance of always having vodka on hand.  Sometimes humanity seems very stupid, especially in the political world.  This play points out how certain progroms set to eradicate a race of people from the Earth are completely stupid and come back to bite humanity in the but.  In this case the Jews in Russia were lesser humans, yet those lesser humans come in to preserve the Russian/Soviet leader forever.

A little dark humor, a little history and great production make this a play worth hearing.

Publisher’s Summary
After Vladimir Lenin’s death, Stalin orders two Jewish scientists to preserve Lenin’s body for all time. If they succeed, the rewards will be considerable. If not, it’s the gulag – or worse. Based on real events, Vern Theissen’s nimble dark comedy exposes the absurdities of Soviet life under Stalin.

Lenin’s Embalmers is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, bridging science and the arts in the modern world.

Starring, in alphabetical order: JD Cullum as Vlad; Gregory Harrison as Lenin; Simon Helberg as Boris; Jon Matthews as Krasin; Rufus Sewell as Stalin; John Sloan as Agent 2; Mark Jude Sullivan as Agent 1; Jocelyn Towne as Nadia

Associate Artistic Director, Anna Lyse Erikson. Senior Radio Producer, Ronn Lipkin. Recording Engineer and Editor, Erick Cifuentes. Sound Designer and Mixer, Mark Holden for the Invisible Studios, West Hollywood. Directed by Martin Jarvis.

©2018 L.A. Theatre Works (P)2018 L.A. Theatre Works