A review by Erin Fair.
Steve Marvel, Peter McGlynn, Regi Davis
Photos by Ed Krieger
Blueprint for Paradise is a new play from writer Laurel M. Wetzork that explores the relationship between Nazi sympathizers Clara and Herbert Taylor and architect Paul Revere Williams. The Athena Cats perform in a stadium style venue looking down on the set, a living room of grandiose scale. The set design is old money decadence that evokes the kind of wealth you would see from a Tennessee Williams character.
(Left: Meredith Thomas and David Jahn)
The old money couple wants to build a compound where injured young men fighting for the Nazi cause can have a safe haven on US soil. Mr. Taylor (David Jahn), a bigot in his own right sees this as nothing more than a business transaction, and uses this opportunity as a way to further his business with the Germans (Steve Marvel, Peter McGlynn). He enlists the help of his wife Clara Taylor (Meredith Thomas) to help him find an architect. Mrs. Taylor's search leads to her favorite architectural building; the Saks building. She requests the designer, and to her surprise it is Paul Revere Williams (Regi Davis), a black man who shows up at her door. The Taylor's, despite employing a Chinese maid (Ann Hu) and an Italian driver (Alex Best), have bigoted and conservative views. However, Mr. Williams wins over the hesitant Clara with his talent and common ground over the death of their children. The mutual understanding, however, is short lived once Mr. Taylor discovers his wife has found solidarity with a black man and when Mr. Williams finds out what he's truly building.
(Right: Regi Davis and Meredith Thomas)
(Left: Ann Hu)
Blueprint for Paradise takes place in 1941, mere weeks before Pearl Harbor, and the sentiments echoed from yesteryear ring true today. With the Taylor's utterance of the "mentally defective should be eradicated and the feeble minded should be sterilized" it is hard not to see the parallels of this play in the political arena of today. Ms. Wetzork explores racism, classism, and sexism in
Blueprint for Paradise and the cast does an excellent job of tackling a tough subject. The frank dialogue paints fascism in a desirable light that is tough to hear, but should be required viewing for all.
Blueprint for Paradise
Performances July 30 - Sept. 4
• Fridays at
8 p.m.: Aug. 5, 12, 19, 26; Sept. 2
• Saturdays at
8 p.m: Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27; Sept. 3
• Sundays at
3 p.m: ; Aug. 7, 14, 21, 28; Sept. 4
The Hudson Theatres
6539 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038