A review by Rachel Flanagan
Photo by Ed Krieger
Somewhere about 30 minutes away from here sometime around now, there is a place where you grow up tough if you grow up at all. The women of Inland Empress have it tough. June (Monica Martin) a mother of Jolie Beth (Di Koob), Sierra (McCready Baker) and Kaylah (Alexa Yeames) live on a range somewhere in the mysterious high desert, otherwise known as the Inland empire. Kaylah is a young 17 year old who wants to be strong and tough like her sisters but always has a smile on her face and tries to see the best. Jolie Beth has a deep hurt within her because of her past and seems to want to move on to her own life but cannot quite get away from her family and their business. Sierra is the tough one who took over the "family business" when their aunt, Louise (Lily Knight) was incarcerated seven years ago. They each do their part to wake up every day and survive to see another day. It is a tough life, but Louise gets out of prison today and she has a plan.
After seven years in prison, Louise has made a huge change. Not only has she found a new religion but also she also got clean and now wants to help her family get out of the tough lives that she helped put them in. However, the family is pretty set in their ways because they did what they had to do when Louise was sent to prison and they do not really believe that Louise has really made a change. Stuck in their past and fraught with the idea of moving forward toward a different path, the secrets begin to reveal themselves as Louise struggles to right her wrongs. Is there an easy way out or will Butchy (Jeffrey Wylie) and his meth business continue to drive the future of this family and drive Louise out for good?
Inland Empress is a play written by Tom Cavanaugh mixing the real life of women he cared about with the mysterious wonder of the Inland Empire to create the dramatic story that combines a
Breaking Bad plot with a tougher version of the girls of
The Facts of Life and a slight
Old Yeller twist. The good, the bad, the facts of life are all wrapped up in this stunning strong female cast and well written story.
Inland Empress runs
January 23-February 28 at the
Lounge Theatre 2 located on Santa Monica in the heart of Theatre Row.
6201 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038