Gabriel Leyva (as Alex) and Charrell Mack (as Cassandra)
Playwrights' Arena and Skylight Theatre join forces to present the world premiere of APARTMENT LIVING set in Los Angeles during the pandemic with a cast of actors as diverse as our city.
APARTMENT LIVING could be more aptly name "Two years in 75 Minutes" as we are taken from the early days of the Corona Virus pandemic and its effect on two neighbors. With the exception of a sexual liaison scene between two characters and interesting use of video, all of the action takes place among the occupants of each apartment. Through them we witness the breakup of a relationship and the discovery of what is really important in life.
Playwright Boni B. Alvarez takes the audience on quite a journey through the many months of fear, illness, protest and riot until finally salvation of sorts as all is tidily reconciled. Director Jon Laurence Rivera moves his cast through their many scenes involving the intricacies of the very mobile set by Alex Calle that cast and crew ably maneuver.
Gigette Reyes (as Easter) and Andrew Russel (as Dixon)
While principal figures Cassandra (Charrell Mack), Alex (Gabriel Leyva) and Dixon (Andrew Russel) ground the production, the three other characters bring warmth and relatable human qualities to the angst of illness and watching a relationship deteriorate.
Noteworthy are the performances of best friend Mayisha (Geri-Nicole Love), Dixon's mother Easter (Gigette Reyes) and just as we need it most, a few superb minutes near the conclusion of the play by as White Lady (Rachel Sorsa) struggles with political correctness.
Charrell Mack (as Cassandra) and Geri-Nikole Love (as Mayisha)
Perhaps it's because we have all must come through those two years together, this is a play that plays well after it's over. Although not everything is covered in its 75 minutes, it brings to mind all that has occurred over the last two years that we've endured or suffered through-the losses, the triumphs and changes.
It makes you think, recollect and make new choices as life resumes. Exactly what playwright Boni B. Alvarez noted about his creative process: "... the forced isolation of the pandemic played games with my head. In between bouts of bingeing television and zooming, I was forced to take inventory of my life, including the people in it - the people who no longer participated in it, those currently in it, and those missing from it."