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  • gilwilson 6:03 PM on July 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: don zolidis, grimm's fairy tales, , play,   

    The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon (A Play)  by Don Zolidis 

    grimmlongThe Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon (Full-length) (A Play)
    by Don Zolidis (Author)
    Published by Playscripts; First Edition edition (2007)

    Before I get to the review, I have to talk about how I came to read this script.  Nearly 25 years ago I left Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a degree in Radio/TV Broadcasting and one in Theatre.  After graduating I focused my life on the Radio side of things and never looked back.  However, the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of watching my son perform on stage through our local college & community theatre performances.  This show came around and he talked me into auditioning.  I did, I got cast in the show and had so much fun doing this show with an awesome director, Brennan Seth Tracy, and a great cast.   I beat my old body up doing this show, but it was worth it.  Every scene is fast paced and hilarious and not a moment to rest, in fact, we barely gave the audience time to catch their breath.

    This play takes all of the Brothers Grimm 209 stories and weaves them together in a hilarious 2 hour (w/ intermission) parody.  Lots of pop culture references, as well as some theatre geek references.

    Many of the Grimm’s fairy tales are merely mentioned or joked about, but the majors are covered in more detail.  Rapunzel, Little Red Cap (just because you wear red doesn’t make you a hood),  Snow White, and Cinderella take the spotlight in hilarious ways.

    The Snow White section gets retold a few times with different characters wanting to tell their own version.  One of the dwarves gets to be Snow White and we get a bit of a feminist retelling of the story.   The Cinderella story is completely done by 2 actors, one of which is forced to play all the parts due to bad catering taking out the rest of the crew.

    This play is done best with a small ensemble playing multiple roles and creating a fast paced romp through the fairy tales.  If you like to read plays and love comedies, read this next.  If this show is ever performed in your area, check this out immediately.  Our run is over but my sore muscles and aching joints were worth it.

    Comedy LENGTH: Full-length, 100-110 minutes CAST: 1 female, 1 male, 3 either (5-43 actors possible: 1-41 females, 1-42 males)

  • gilwilson 2:11 AM on April 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gender issues, , , play,   

    “Boy” By Anna Ziegler 

    By: Anna Ziegler
    Narrated by: Sarah Drew, John Getz, Travis Johns, Amy Pietz, Bobby Steggert
    Length: 1 hr and 21 mins
    Release date: 10-17-16
    Publisher: L.A. Theatre Works

    If you haven’t yet experienced a production from L.A. Theatre Works, you should. Their productions put you in the middle of the audience.

    This time around I listened to another play from the Relativity series, (science plays). The story of a boy who was born a boy but after a disfiguring accident was raised a son. Throughout his life he knew something was not quite right. The play goes back and forth through time from when the parents notified the doctor and the plan to raise him as a girl developed, to the late 80s when he finds a girl and falls in love, back to his therapy sessions during childhood.

    This one gets you thinking, but not about what you think.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Anna Ziegler’s Boy is a powerful statement about sexual identity and the mystery of what makes us who we are.

    After a baby boy is seriously injured in an accident, a doctor persuades his parents to raise the child as a girl. As the child grows up, the child – known as Samantha and Adam at different times – faces an extraordinary challenge to carve out a place in the world.

    An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring:

    Sarah Drew as Jenny

    John Getz as Dr. Wendell Barnes

    Travis Johns as Doug

    Amy Pietz as Trudy

    Bobby Steggert as Adam Turner

    Directed by Debbie Devine. Recorded in Los Angeles before a live audience at The James Bridges Theater, UCLA, in July of 2016. Boy 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, to enhance public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.

    ©2016 Anna Ziegler (P)2016 L.A. Theatre Works

  • gilwilson 10:05 PM on January 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , bertold brecht, church doctrine, , galileo, galileo galilei, , , , play, ,   

    “The Life of Galileo” by Bertold Brecht (produced by L.A. Theatre Works) 


    “The Life of Galileo”
    by Bertold Brecht
    translated by David Hare
    Multi-cast performance
    Produced by L. A. Theatre Works
    Approx 2 hours

    I was getting ready to start a couple of audiobooks that were time consumers (any audiobook over 10 hours falls under that label for me). Not only were they long but they were both going to be espionage/government cover-up type stories and those require a huge commitment, especially since I was going to start them both at the same time. Before I tackled those two books, I wanted to listen to something that swallows you into the story, so I reached for one of my favorite go to publishers of audio, L.A. Theatre Works. I have a list of several go to(s) that I know will entertain me. What I like most about LATW is that they are plays that have been performed on stage and the producers take special care to record all the audio so that nothing is missed.

    As a proud owner of a degree in theatre, I have always been aware that theatre is a visual medium, especially if you ask all my theatrical designer friends, but also being a proud owner of a Radio / TV broadcasting degree I know that the theatre of the mind power of radio is a strong power. L.A. Theatre Works takes the time to make sure their performances that are transferred over to an audiobook format take the visual artistry and make it work in an audio format. This is achieved with excellent sound effects, music and of course the great acting. When an actor is describing a prop that is seen by the audience, the production and performance create the image in the listener’s mind that ensures nothing is missed.

    This production features a full-cast performance featuring: Neil Dickson, Roy Dotrice, Jeannie Elias, Jill Gascoine, Stacy Keach, Peter Lavin, Robert Machray, Christopher Neame, Moira Quirk, Darren Richardson, Alan Shearman, Simon Templeman, Joanne Whalley, Matthew Wolf

    What attracted me to this particular production from the vaults of L.A. Theatre Works is that the part of Galileo is played by Stacy Keach. Every performance I’ve ever seen or heard with Mr. Keach, whether comedy or tragedy, he has owned that role. Not so long ago I listened to an LATW performance of “Death of a Salesmen” in which Keach played Willie Loman and that became my favorite performance of that play. I will always be a fan of his.

    This play portrays Galileo Galilei as he shatters the world’s beliefs which have been dictated by the church for two millennia, in that we are not the center of the universe. When Galileo first lays his hands on a telescope and observes that the Earth is one of a few planets in the solar system that revolve around the sun and that the planets and stars are not held in suspension through crystal spheres, as believed by the church, he becomes a target for the Holy Inquisition. Committing such heresy Galileo is made to suffer torture, mentally and physically under the inquisitor. Galileo provides proof that only needs to be observed but the church stands firm.

    In a play that shows how advancements in science are hindered by long held beliefs this production from L.A. Theatre Works, is one that should be heard by anyone seeking truth.

  • gilwilson 11:16 PM on November 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , culture, , , , , paranoid, play, psychiatry, schizophrenic   

    “Blue/Orange” by Joe Penhall produced by L.A. Theatre Works 

    by Joe Penhall
    starring Daniel Davis, Matt Letscher and Teagle F. Bougere
    Produced by L.A. Theatre Works
    Approx 2 hours.

    Once again I’m magically transported to the world of live theatre through the expert production and performance of L.A. Theatre Works. L.A. Theatre Works has a huge library of performances which have been turned into audio. These plays range from the classics to modern plays and all with excellent casts. The beauty of the whole thing is that LATW takes the time to make sure the audio recording is perfect thus making the listener feel as though they are right in the middle of the audience for every performance.

    This time around I listened to the modern play “Blue/Orange” by Joe Penhall. This one intrigued me after I read the synopsis from L.A. Theatre Works; “Two psychiatrists—one new and inexperienced, the other his well-established mentor—battle over the diagnosis and treatment of Chris, a young black man who claims to be the son of African dictator Idi Amin.” I’m not sure what it was but it just sounded like it would be pretty thought-provoking, and it was.

    A young black man is about to be discharged from psychiatric supervision in a London hospital. His man doctor wants to keep him in for further observation due to some of his responses, for example a bowl of oranges sits on the table, and when asked what color the patient replies, “Blue.” Something is just not right, the patient also claims to be the son of Idi Amin, remember him from the 70s? He’s the dictator that ate his enemies. The problem is that the Doctor’s supervisor, sees all of the patient’s responses as merely products of his culture and that not everything is to be taken literally. The supervisor also sees in this a chance for another paper to be written to further his own career. With his clinicians disagreeing on the seriousness of his condition, his release becomes complicated by issues of race, class, and the definition of sanity itself.

    The play does a great job focusing on the complex issues of psychiatric treatment and throw into that the mix that the two white doctors are clueless when it comes to the black culture, it makes for a very intriguing story which goes back and forth as to who is really sane. The play does have some humorous moments which help the audience to digest some of the real hard-hitting issues covered.

  • gilwilson 3:22 PM on May 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Charles Cioffi, Don Tieri, , Ed O’Neill, greek tragedy, Harry Hamlin, immigration, , , Mary McDonnell, Peter Morse, play   

    “A View from the Bridge” by Arthur Miller (from “The Arthur Miller Collection” produced by L.A. Theatre Works) 

    “A View from the Bridge”
    by Arthur Miller
    from “The Arthur Miller Collection”
    Published by L.A. Theatre Works
    Performed by; Charles Cioffi, Harry Hamlin, Jamie Hanes, Mary McDonnell, Peter Morse, Ed O’Neill, Amy Pietz and Don Tieri
    1 Hour 33 minutes

    Back in my college days I studied and got a degree in Theatre. During that time I had the chance to talk about, see performed, write reports on plays by Arthur Miller. One of the things I noticed back then was the similarities between Miller’s writings and ancient Greek tragedies. Miller’s stories told of how our actions have reactions and most of the time he was quick to show that our bad actions had bad reactions. In some cases those bad actions were even full of good intentions, such as the father in “All My Sons” training his son in the basement for baseball, but once he got on the field was distracted by the sounds. This led to a son that when he reached adulthood knew nothing but pitching and even that was flawed, so his life was ruined.

    I’m still listening to the ten plays featured in “The Arthur Miller Collection” from L.A. Theatre Works and this time around just finished with “A View from the Bridge.” This is one play I was looking forward to hearing because during my studies I never had the chance to see this one performed. After finishing this production, I’m in awe, for several reasons. One reason is the main character Eddie Carbone is portrayed by Ed O’Neill. I know I think of Mr. O’Neill as Al Bundy from the “Married with Children” television series, and have a hard time shaking that image, but after hearing this performance, it’s going to be hard seeing him as Al Bundy. Ed O’Neill carries this play in this performance and thanks to the excellent production from L.A. Theatre Works, I felt as though I was smack dab in the middle of the audience.

    The play is set in 1950s Brooklyn, NY in an Italian neighborhood. Eddie Carbone is a longshoreman who lives with his wife, Beatrice, and his orphaned niece, Catherine. Eddie is very protective of Catherine, and at times maybe too protective. There are times that the subtext may imply that Eddie won’t let Catherine out in the world because maybe he wants her for himself. Filled with Freudian moments the relationship between Eddie and Catherine in this play could warrant an entire analysis.

    When Beatrice’s two cousins come into the country illegally they come to stay in Eddie’s home. The tension rises when one of the cousins and Catherine develop a friendship that leads to marriage. Eddie insists he only wants to marry her so he can become a legal citizen. When they begin talking about getting married soon Eddie calls the Immigration Department in to take the two men in and deport them. One of the cousins was in the country to earn money to send back to his wife and kids to provide for a better life and takes this as a personal attack from Eddie.

    One of the things that makes this play even more comparable to a Greek tragedy is that it employs both a chorus and a narrator in the form of Alfieri, the attorney who Eddie seeks out for advice.

    As a side here, this story is yet another play written to portray the McCarthyism that was sweeping the nation during the 50s.

    This audio performance is available in “The Arthur Miller Collection,” from L.A. Theatre Works.

    • Dennis 12:33 AM on March 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller (from The
      Arthur Miller Collection produced by L.A. Theatre Works) | Gil T.
      ‘s Pleasures” Panel Curtains was indeed a remarkable post. If only there was a whole lot more websites like this particular one on the actual world wide web. Nonetheless, thanks a lot for your time, Julius


  • gilwilson 10:33 PM on April 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , contemporary theatre, , everyman, , , , , midwest, play, ,   

    “The Man Who Had All the Luck” by Arthur Miller (produced by L.A. Theatre Works “The Arthur Miller Collection”) 

    “The Man Who Had All The Luck”
    by Arthur Miller
    Full Cast Performance Starring:
    Emily Bergl, Kevin Chamberlin, Tim DeKay, James Gammon, Lee Garlington, Graham Hamilton, Tom McGowan, Kurtwood Smith, Russell Soder and Tegan West
    Produced by L.A. Theatre Works
    Approx. 2 hours

    I have recently discovered the magic of theatrical productions from L.A. Theatre Works, and they are now among my list of top 3 audiobook producers.   L.A. Theatre Works records live theatre performances and releases them as audiobooks, making a huge selection of plays,  from classic to contemporary, available for consumption.  The nice thing about these is that the audio production quality put into these releases not only places you in the middle of the audience but the high caliber of acting makes it so the plays will keep you intrigued and wanting for more.  At least that is what has happened to me.

    This time around I listened to another Arthur Miller play (previously I had listened to the Arthur Miller play “Death of a Salesman” starring Stacy Keach).  Arthur Miller wrote many plays about the everyman and created plays that explored the struggles of man.  L.A. Theatre works has put together a collection of his plays called “The Arthur Miller Collection” which includes 10 plays which includes this one.  It also includes, “Death of a Salesman,” “The Crucible,” and more.  I recently got my hands on this collection after listening to “Death of a Salesman” so I could explore more about this American Classic that is Arthur Miller.

    What makes the productions from L.A. Theatre works so good is that through attention to detail recording and production, take a live performance and turn it into an audio medium.  Listening to these performances (and this one is no exception) I felt as if I were in the middle of the audience, with applause and sound effects from the performance pushing that feeling.  The one thing that totally surprised me is that I did not miss any of the visual aspect of the performances and was able to enjoy the full effect of the play(s).  I can’t wait to get on with the rest of this collection, with 2 down and 8 to go, I’m going to spread them out a bit, besides, they are only around two hours each so they are perfect to get in between other audiobooks and while doing all my daily functions.

    “The Man Who Had All the Luck,” is about a young Midwestern boy, David Beeves, who seems to have all his life handed to him, or rather lucks into whatever he gets.  He’s set up in a barn as a mechanic and everyone takes their cars in for repairs, yet he’s never had any training and admits he doesn’t know anything about fixing cars, but he seems to get the job done.  When he is having a problem with a particular car a stranger out of nowhere walks in and is able to fix the car.  When he can’t get married to his girlfriend until her father is out of the way, the father dies in an automobile accident.  When he builds a gas station, the state decides to put a highway right in front of it.  When Beeves gets older he begins to wonder what is going to happen when his luck runs out, is he due for a disaster to pay back for all the luck?

    This play fully explores the question whether fate or hard work decides a man’s future.  David’s brother, Amos, is trained by his father day in and day out to be an expert baseball pitcher, but how does all that hard work pay off?  Not in the way that it would for David and his “Midas Touch.”

    On a side-note here; Kurtwood Smith plays the part of David’s father and is constantly training Amos.  Kurtwood is the one who played Red Foreman in “That 70s Show,” and deep down inside (because I was a fan of the character he played on that show) I wanted him to say a line from the show (I won’t say the line here, but you probably know which one, if you ever watched the show).  But just knowing how great of an actor he was I was happy enough just to hear his voice.

    One of the 10 great plays by Arthur Miller, produced by L.A. Theatre Works and cram packed into this “Arthur Miller Collection.”

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