A review by Suzanne Birrell and Jen Brown
The west coast premiere of D DEB DEBBIE DEBORAH by Jerry Lieblich is now playing at Theatre of Note, Hollywood. If you are a connoisseur of good art, this is a play not to be missed.
D DEB DEBBIE DEBORAH is distinctly Pinteresque and like all comedies of menace, every bit as intriguing. Not everyone gets Pinter, though, so an open mind and polished receptors are essential. A fair amount of time after the show is also required to digest this mind stirring concoction.
The direction by Doug Oliphant is outstanding. The precise timing of doors opening and unexpected entrances, like any good farce, never wavers. A set that comes to life adds to the thrill - by courtesy of helping 'hands' (top marks go to the scene shifters for their very spooky and expressive fingers) that guide us smoothly through the apparent nightmare of - who am I - who are you? Am I you or are you me? Whoooooo knows!
The dialogue wends its way into our psyche, and makes hair stand suitably on end. The word "weird" is said more than once and weirdly we are delighted. "We have fun," is also tossed around a bit and certainly there is lots of fun to be had. The innocuous question "Will you be here when I get back"? is perhaps not so innocuous after all. The continuous stream of seemingly innocent utterances adds tension to an already strung out set of scenarios. We wonder, constantly, who or indeed what might be found upon any one character's return - when those nightmarish hands, like magic, turn the gallery back into an apartment again! This absorbing piece of theatre serves up a generous amount of the 'sinister' and draws us in, at every turn - at least those of us who are fearless enough to let go.
As Mr Oliphant says in his notes:
Identity is subjective.
Our perception of another person is distorted by our own needs at any given time, and it often robs us of connecting with who that person really is.
But sometimes I lose track of who I am. Sometimes I need you to be someone else. Sometimes I'm not ready for you to be you just yet. If you could just be who I need you to be right now, I might just find myself again.
D DEB DEBBIE DEBORAH takes the daring amongst us on a journey of discovery. We hope to discover who's who and what's what. What is and what isn't - and we barely get it straight in our minds, before we are transported to the Art Gallery. This Gallery is packed to the rafters with an array of extraordinary characters, all executed, masterfully, by a sterling ensemble cast. (Greg Nussen, Alina Phelan, Travis York, and Kerr Lordygan). Jenny Soo as Deb conveys her anxiety in a fraught, yet repressed manner. She reflects what we are already feeling; and every door that opens amps up her fear (and ours) even more.
If you are a fan of the playwright Harold Pinter, you will love this play. If you aren't, go anyway, if only to enjoy the rambunctious ride. You won't regret it and you will have plenty to talk about afterwards. We continued our non-stop conversation after the play, from the theatre to the car, to the coffee shop. Not every play we see is as stimulating or consuming as this one, and it was an absolute delight to dissect it over boysenberry pie and a cuppa!
Listen to an interview with the actors:
Runs through Saturday, September 17, 2016
Fridays and Saturdays @ 8PM
Sundays @ 7PM
Seniors, Students: $20.00
Where: Theatre of NOTE
1517 N Cahuenga Blvd (just north of Sunset)
Hollywood, CA 90028
By phone (subject to availability): (323) 856-8611
This performance is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.