Open Fist Theatre Opens Third Annual Political Pop-up: What Matters Now?/! at Atwater Village Theatre

Open Fist Theatre's What Matters Now?/! at the Atwater Village Theatre Open Fist "Speakeasy"
Photo by Darrett Sanders

By Valerie Milano

Open Fist Theatre Company opened their 3rd annual political pop-up in speakeasy fashion, featuring a rotating roster of eight 10-minute plays by writers from across the country - exploring our nation's current social and political climate and how the past year has affected us. What Matters Now?/! has created a cozy speakeasy vibe at Atwater Village Theatre where patrons almost feel a part of the action occurring on stage - it's personal and very effective. The audience can arrive early or stay later to have a drink at the side bar while seated in chairs or sofas to enjoy the company they're with or chat with the cast members after the show in the relaxing atmosphere.

The opening night lineup was: Electric Eye, Heart Attack Zack, An Awful Waste of Space, High School Intifada, A Dream of Two Moons, But I'm Not Really, Toppers and Pandemonium. Others on the nightly rotation basis: How Are We Doing, Inheritance and The Protest.

Philip William Brock in Philip William Brock in "Electric Eye"
Photo by Darrett Sanders

The evening began with Timothy Mooney's Electric Eye with Phillip William Brock as a scholar who traces the decline of Western Civilization to the application for the patent for the first self-flushing toilet on January 16, 1979. All of the actors are good and some pieces are more engaging than others - depending on your view of the world we live in. More highlights were: Beth Robbins in Bonnie Ratner's But I'm Not Ready - A mature woman struggles to teach her yoga class during a lockdown in a Jewish community center and Caroline Klidonas and David Shofner in Cary Gitter's High School Intifada - A New Jersey teen is called into the principal's office for bullying after tweeting "Israel is a terrorist force." All eight of the shows are original in content and make for a refreshing theatre night with social issues ranging from date rape to what to name a baby during these times to a female firefighter pulling a baker out of a building inferno as we realize he's the same baker who wouldn't bake a wedding cake for she and her wife because they are lesbians. To burn or not to burn... how sweet is revenge after all?

Beth Robbins in  Beth Robbins in "But I'm Not Really"
Photo by Darrett Sanders

Artistic Director Martha Demson started the festival after President Trump's election while thinking about the role of theatre in the aftermath. Demson and company searched out plays with narratives that were true to the writer's intent with being neither to heavy or slight and it made for an immediate hit. This is the company's second year at Atwater Village.

It's an evening you won't forget and will surely enjoy.

*The cast: Lane Allison, Chloe Berlinger, Bryan Bertone, Phillip William Brock, Brittany Lauren Brown, Becca Cousineau, Stephanie Crothers, Lori Gambero, Caroline Klidonas, Dylan Maddalena, Rod Menzies, Neil Oktay, Katie May Porter, Beth Robbins, Kenia Romero, Steven Royce, Judith Scarpone, David Shofner, Megumi Smisson, Dionna Veremis, Ann Marie Wilding.

Open Fist Theatre Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles. 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays; Runs March 15th -April 6th. $20-$30. Tickets: (323) 882-6912 or online at: (FREE parking in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater)

Posted By Valerie Milano on March 26, 2019 05:08 pm | Permalink