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Gloria - Theatre Review


By Kathy Flynn

Devere Rogers, Alana Dietze, Jenny Soo  Photo by Darrett Sanders
Devere Rogers, Alana Dietze, Jenny Soo
Photo by Darrett Sanders

It's hard to know what to say about the Echo Theatre Company's production of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Gloria without giving away too much of the plot. It starts off as a fantastically entertaining workplace satire. The setting is the midtown Manhattan offices of a notorious unnamed corporate magazine, the day after Gloria's housewarming party, a party no one from work attended except for assistant Dean (Michael Sturgis). 

Dean and the other editorial assistants, Ani (Alana Dietze) and Kendra (Jenny Soo), are desperate for something more, ruthlessly ambitious and fearful of being stuck as an assistant too long; aspiring writers in an industry where their talents are less respected every day. Intern Miles (Devere Rogers) just wants to be useful while counting down to his last day. Lorin in Fact Checking (Steven Strobel) just wants everyone to quiet the f**k down so he can get his work done. 

The story moves from competitiveness to bitchiness, one-upmanship, and hysterically funny angry rants reminiscent of Sorkin in their rapid-fire brilliance. If your mind goes to The Devil Wears Prada you wouldn't be far off. It lulls you with its biting, acerbic wit grounded in the reality of office life. When it takes a left turn, it's so unexpected that it's truly shocking. I was so absorbed at that point that I had forgotten for a moment I was watching a play.

Michael Sturgis  Photo by Darrett Sanders
Michael Sturgis
Photo by Darrett Sanders

Everyone's story is different, everybody's trauma is their own, and trying to measure your suffering against another's is a game no one can win. The thought-provoking second act plunges us into the land of non-disclosures and competing book deals after a truly horrific act, asking tough questions about the aftermath of violence, notably how you move on, and who deserves to tell their story.

I loved this play, the words, the direction, the performances...everything was impeccable.

Alana Dietze, Steven Strobel, Michael Sturgis  Photo by Darrett Sanders
Alana Dietze, Steven Strobel, Michael Sturgis
Photo by Darrett Sanders

All of the actors in the cast are absolutely terrific, more than a match for the nimble delivery expected of them. There isn't a weak performance in the bunch. Michael Sturgis' Dean is a true standout, achingly funny with a core vulnerability who steals every scene he is in.

Brooklyn-based playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship (the "genius grant") and has had two of his plays, this one and 2018's Everybody, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Gloria plays through Oct 28 at the Echo Theatre Company at the Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave, LA 90039. Performances are on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 8pm and Sundays at 4pm. Tickets are available at www.echotheatrecompany.com




Posted By Kathy Flynn on September 17, 2018 03:25 pm | Permalink