THE HUMAN COMEDY at Actors Co-op

Review by Michael Edwards

Living in California, it's often easy to forget that between the LA's, Sacramento's and 'the three San's', there's a rural way of life like nowhere else in the country. A deeply soulful way of life, rich in a different sense and 'almost' forgotten in today's urban American culture. This is not to declare the observation of some perfect society by any means, but it is to cherry pick several elements we could use in our current day study of what it is to be human. Elements shared quite brilliantly in the new play more than appropriately titled, THE HUMAN COMEDY.

The Actors Co-op production of The Human Comedy , is simply an excellent show. This level of stagecraft is a joy to take in. From the masterfully chameleon-like, show stealing set design by Tim Farmer to the ensemble of actors themselves appearing to dance with the set as it time and time again successfully transports us to the next pertinent to the story location. And then there's the work of the actors themselves. The level of commitment by each artist in this masterclass ensemble. From the breathing, to the behavior; to the heart - it was a very focused and calm thing to watch this cast work.

Adapted from the novel, The Human Comedy by William Saroyan, the play is written and directed by Thom Babbes. The director's sense of movement, be it the motion of the set or the positioning of the actors transitioning, and of course as they engage with one another; it's all such a lovely thing to behold.  We experience the coming of age story of 14 year old Homer Macaulay (a masterful Brendan Shannon) as he lands his first job as a telegraph delivery boy in the fictional small town of Ithaca California during the early days of WW2. We watch him thrive and then eventually lose his innocence. It's a hero's journey with a bevy of characters set along our hero's path, with each offering a lesson. 

These lessons echo and offer us, the audience, a menu of reminders. Reminders of ways of being a person in operation back then, that might  help us one on one get through today. 

The Human Comedy produced by Crystal Yvonne Jackson at the award-winning Actors Co-op Theatre Company runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2:30 (additional matinee performance April 1) at its theatre at 1760 North Gower, Hollywood; ample free parking.

Editor's Note : Of additional interest, The Human Comedy  was a 1943 American  comedy-drama film  directed by  Clarence Brown . [3]  It began as a screenplay by  William Saroyan , who was expected to direct. After Saroyan was removed from the project, he wrote the  novel of the same name  and published it just before the film was released. [4]   Howard Estabrook  was brought in to reduce the run time to two hours. The picture stars  Mickey Rooney  with  Frank Morgan ; also appearing in the film are  James Craig Marsha Hunt Fay Bainter Ray Collins Van Johnson Donna Reed  and  Jackie "Butch" Jenkins Barry Nelson Robert Mitchum  and  Don DeFore  appear together as boisterous soldiers in uncredited supporting roles. (Wikipedia)

Posted By DH Magazine on March 30, 2023 01:32 pm | Permalink