Archive for category: Media

The Dame Marches On

06 Feb
February 6, 2015

She’s been doing the same act for 60 years. No need to change it though, since audiences all over the world love it just as it is and flock to see it again and again. Currently on her third round of visits to Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theater, she is playing, as she habitually does, to a full house.

She is Dame Edna Everage and this year her show is called Dame Edna’s Glorious Goodbye with the added subtitle The Farewell Tour. But not to worry, this is her gazillionth “farewell tour” and, as usual, she closes her act with an invitation to the audience to be sure and come back to see her on her next farewell tour.

With her perfectly coiffed purple hair, rhinestone-covered glasses, and glitzy over-the-top gowns in gaudy colors, she makes Dustin Hoffman’s Tootsie look like someone you might have hired to clean your house. Or your horse.

Her act owes more to Don Rickles than to Dustin Hoffman, however, as her performance consists almost entirely of insults to her audience. Most particularly the poor unfortunates sitting in the first two rows. “I see you dressed for a special occasion,” she tells one woman. “Like washing your car.” To another she says, “You appear to have misplaced trust in your hairdresser.”

She also throws some barbs at the audience in the “cheap seats” in the balcony, whom she calls “the Wal-Mart people”.

She also claims to be “making it up as I go along” and takes off on a riff with a woman named, not “A-N-G-I-E”, but “A-N-J-I.” “Do you dot the ‘i’ with a little circle?” she asks facetiously.

Arriving from her home in Australia with “a moderate depression,” she tells us, she soon discards it among the “nicely dressed people” of Los Angeles, the city she calls “the intellectual capital of the United States.”

She talks about her entrepreneur son, Brucey, noting that the name is “French for failure” and that he is contemplating setting up a chain of Ugandan restaurants. There is also talk of a heat-seeking bedpan powered by a Roomba and of someone who is a high-functioning Ebola victim.

She also mentions Velma, a woman whose house was so filthy that, Edna says, “I tried to drink my coffee without my lips touching the cup.”

By the end of the first act the show had become somewhat tedious, consisting as it does solely of repetitive questions to the people in the front row seats. The second act picked up a bit with her tales of visiting an ashram in India, which she calls “a trailer park for the soul.” Here she learned to drink a parsnip and kale smoothie and met a man who wanted to remain inconspicuous and so signed in as “Leonard Cohen.”

Since her first appearance in a Christmas revue at the University of Melbourne in 1955 her acts have centered around her monologues, interviews and banter with her audience, and a few unremarkable songs and dance numbers by an exotically dressed foursome. She first took her act to America in 1978, where she was trounced by a New York Times critic. She later said that she would have to wait for that critic to die before she could return to the United States.

Fortunately, she can go incognito at will by just taking off her costume, her gaudy jewelry, and her wig and morphing into a pudgy Australian gentleman named Barry Humphries. And if he ever decides to retire his alter ego, Dame Edna, Humphries has many other talents to pursue. He is the author of several books, novels, autobiographies, and plays, and is a well-respected landscape painter. He has two doctorate degrees (one in Law), the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) awarded by Queen Elizabeth, the AO (Officer of the Order), the Australian of the Year award (in 2012) and the Sydney Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award, also in 2012.

Mr. Humphries is married to Lizzie Spender, daughter of British poet Stephen Spender, and they have two sons and two daughters.

Meanwhile, here in Los Angeles the huge audience roared, whistled, and stomped throughout the show. And although they probably weren’t singing Wqyne Barker’s song “You Will Have to Do Without Me Somehow,” I’ll bet some of them, as they exited the theater, were singing “There Is Nothing Like A Dame.”

Dame Edna will be appearing Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2 and 8 pm, and Sundays at 1 pm through March 15. There is also a listing of additional performances and a number of individual performances that will not be presented, so call the theater at (213) 972-4400 or go online to www.CenterThreatreGroup.org to determine available tickets.

The Ahmanson Theatre is located at 135 N. Grand Avenue in Los Angeles.

Photo of Dame Edna by Matt Jelonek

The Dame Marches On

03 Feb
February 3, 2015

She’s been doing the same act for 60 years. No need to change it though, since audiences all over the world love it just as it is and flock to see it again and again. Currently on her third round of visits to Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theater, she is playing, as she habitually does, to a full house.

She is Dame Edna Everage and this year her show is called Dame Edna’s Glorious Goodbye with the added subtitle The Farewell Tour. But not to worry, this is her gazillionth “farewell tour” and, as usual, she closes her act with an invitation to the audience to be sure and come back to see her on her next farewell tour.

With her perfectly coiffed purple hair, rhinestone-covered glasses, and glitzy over-the-top gowns in gaudy colors, she makes Dustin Hoffman’s Tootsie look like someone you might have hired to clean your house. Or your horse.

Her act owes more to Don Rickles than to Dustin Hoffman, however, as her performance consists almost entirely of insults to her audience. Most particularly the poor unfortunates sitting in the first two rows. “I see you dressed for a special occasion,” she tells one woman. “Like washing your car.” To another she says, “You appear to have misplaced trust in your hairdresser.”

She also throws some barbs at the audience in the “cheap seats” in the balcony, whom she calls “the Wal-Mart people”.

She also claims to be “making it up as I go along” and takes off on a riff with a woman named, not “A-N-G-I-E”, but “A-N-J-I.” “Do you dot the ‘i’ with a little circle?” she asks facetiously.

Arriving from her home in Australia with “a moderate depression,” she tells us, she soon discards it among the “nicely dressed people” of Los Angeles, the city she calls “the intellectual capital of the United States.”

She talks about her entrepreneur son, Brucey, noting that the name is “French for failure” and that he is contemplating setting up a chain of Ugandan restaurants. There is also talk of a heat-seeking bedpan powered by a Roomba and of someone who is a high-functioning Ebola victim.

She also mentions Velma, a woman whose house was so filthy that, Edna says, “I tried to drink my coffee without my lips touching the cup.”

By the end of the first act the show had become somewhat tedious, consisting as it does solely of repetitive questions to the people in the front row seats. The second act picked up a bit with her tales of visiting an ashram in India, which she calls “a trailer park for the soul.” Here she learned to drink a parsnip and kale smoothie and met a man who wanted to remain inconspicuous and so signed in as “Leonard Cohen.”

Since her first appearance in a Christmas revue at the University of Melbourne in 1955 her acts have centered around her monologues, interviews and banter with her audience, and a few unremarkable songs and dance numbers by an exotically dressed foursome. She first took her act to America in 1978, where she was trounced by a New York Times critic. She later said that she would have to wait for that critic to die before she could return to the United States.

Fortunately, she can go incognito at will by just taking off her costume, her gaudy jewelry, and her wig and morphing into a pudgy Australian gentleman named Barry Humphries. And if he ever decides to retire his alter ego, Dame Edna, Humphries has many other talents to pursue. He is the author of several books, novels, autobiographies, and plays, and is a well-respected landscape painter. He has two doctorate degrees (one in Law), the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) awarded by Queen Elizabeth, the AO (Officer of the Order), the Australian of the Year award (in 2012) and the Sydney Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award, also in 2012.

Mr. Humphries is married to Lizzie Spender, daughter of British poet Stephen Spender, and they have two sons and two daughters.

Meanwhile, here in Los Angeles the huge audience roared, whistled, and stomped throughout the show. And although they probably weren’t singing Wqyne Barker’s song “You Will Have to Do Without Me Somehow,” I’ll bet some of them, as they exited the theater, were
singing “There Is Nothing Like A Dame.”

Dame Edna will be appearing Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2 and 8 pm, and Sundays at 1 pm through March 15. There is also a listing of additional performances and a number of individual performances that will not be presented, so call the theater at (213) 972-4400 or go online to www.CenterThreatreGroup.org to determine available tickets.

The Ahmanson Theatre is located at 135 N. Grand Avenue in Los Angeles.

Photo of Dame Edna by Matt Jelonek

Eve Gordon Opens Her Schedule

28 Jul
July 28, 2013

We’re sitting in the Skylight Theatre Complex in Los Feliz, and actress Eve Gordon is describing her schedule for the next few hours.

“…And then, after this interview I’ll be going over to the Antaeus Company to teach a four-hour class on ‘dream roles’. Then I’ll be teaching audition techniques at AMDA [the American Musical and Dramatic Academy]; that’s a two-hour class.

“I’ll go home happily wrung out,” she concludes, “but luckily my husband [Todd Waring] is an actor too, so he’s very empathetic.”

She’s opening Saturday at the smaller Skylight space in Open House, a new two-person play by Shem Bitterman. She plays the potential buyer of a house in LA’s Fairfax district.

Her co-star is Robert Cicchini, with whom she previously worked (alongside Bitterman and director Steve Zuckerman) on Skylight’s 2011 production of Influence.

“Working with Bob is like playing tennis at Wimbledon,” she says. “Wherever I hit the ball, I know he’s going to hit it back. He’s really alive on stage; he’ll try new things every time.”

She, on the other hand, describes herself as “accidentally Method. I become my character after a while. While I was doing [Antaeus Company’s double cast] Peace in Our Time in 2011 [she was one of the two women who played Nora, proprietor of the pub where the action took place], I was fretful, bewildered, and emotional.

“Then, when I played the ditzy artistic mother last fall in You Can’t Take It With You [also at Antaeus], I had a bursting, shining heart. I hugged everybody all the time. I was like a 13-year-old girl skipping down the lane.”

She also stars as a talk show hostess in an online three-minute comedy series called Versailles (pronounced Versales) with William H. Macy, Fred Willard, and Patricia Heaton. In sitcoms, she is perhaps best known for having pepper-sprayed Charlie Sheen on a 2008 episode of Two and a Half Men.

“In this current play, Open House, I’m going a little crazy because it’s full of damage and devastation,” she admits.

The play deals with real estate agent Chuck (Cicchini) and his efforts to sell a “difficult, emotional house” to Martha (Gordon) who suspects that something terrible has happened there. Even worse, the house has only one bathroom!

Gordon admits to an abundance of emotion. “I cry at Hallmark commercials,” she says, “and even though I’m considered a funny person, I’m terrified at the thought of doing stand-up. I need the mask of a character to act; I don’t like walking around like an actress. I’m an artist, not a model. Vanity isn’t one of my values.”

Gordon speaks with pride about a role she played with her husband in an episode of the TV series Scandal last year. “We played a strait-laced, church-going couple who are grieving over their missing daughter,” she says. “And because it was Todd I could act as real husbands and wives do. I could support him during the emotional scenes — reach out and touch him — which I wouldn’t have thought to do if I were acting with a stranger.”

For a long time she played the femme fatale. “If you’re young and attractive you have to be sexy,” she says, “and you stand around and watch helplessly when something terrible happens. It’s the damsel in distress writ large.”

But being a femme fatale gave her an opportunity to play a part that was “my dream come true,” she admits. “I played Marilyn Monroe in [the 1991 mini-series] A Woman Named Jackie. I auditioned for the Jackie part, but they cast me as Marilyn. I always felt that if I didn’t get a chance to play Marilyn at least once, I would die unfulfilled. I had an enormous affinity with her.”

Gordon sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” (mimicry and singing are two of her additional skills), and she says she wrote Marilyn’s death scene for the production [the credited writers are C. David Heymann and Roger O. Hirson].

“The producers had a jumble of suicide, accident, and other factors thrown in,” she says, “but I wrote it as a suicide.

“Perhaps she didn’t intend to commit suicide — she was talking to Peter Lawford on the phone when she took the pills and she was saying things like ‘Say goodbye to Bobby,’ and ‘Say goodbye to Jack.’ Perhaps she thought he would get the message and send an ambulance to save her, but apparently he didn’t figure it out and he hung up and went back to bed.”

Now that Gordon has matured a bit (her own two daughters are 20 and 17), she is often cast as “either a clueless concerned mother or a bitch,” she notes.

In any event, it’s a long way from her undergraduate days at Brown, where she graduated with honors in history and was bent on being a lawyer or a historian. “I love doing research,” she says. “You pile it up and move on, but it’ll always be there waiting for you.”

She went on, however, to get an MFA in acting from the Yale School of Drama, where she played Ophelia in “a famously bad production of Hamlet. They wanted me to look wan and pale, I guess,” she explains, “so they covered me with flour and when I came out for the curtain call I was scattering giant puffs of flour all over the stage.”

She is excited about her current adventure in Open House. “Shem is not defensive and he listens to suggestions or questions — he’s an actor as well as a playwright and he sees no special preciousness about actors — but I’ve lost every argument I’ve had with him,” she says with a laugh.

“I would compare him to Pinter, whose characters don’t always say what they mean. They say what people say when they don’t want to say what they’re thinking.

“Bob Cicchini and I have to create tension and suspense every night. That’s paramount. There’s a lot that hangs in the air between us — need, grief, desperation, anguish — enormous emotion that leaves us shattered by the end.

“It has a big effect on both of us. We both are losing sleep, and both of us have driven miles out of our way without realizing that we’ve missed our exit to the theater.”

Let’s hope she makes it to the theater for opening night!

Open House, Skylight Theatre, 1816½ N. Vermont, LA 90027. Opens Saturday. Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm. Through August 25. Tickets: $29-34. skylighttheatrecompany.com. 702-582-8587.

Photo: Eve Gordon
By Cynthia Citron

Reprinted from the LA Stage Times, published July 26, 2013

Triangle in a Parallelogram

21 Jul
July 21, 2013

A Parallelogram is a brilliantly mind-boggling play by Bruce Norris that asks a bunch of existentially provocative questions. Among them: “If you knew in advance exactly what was going to happen In your life, and how everything was going to turn out, and if you knew you couldn’t do anything to change it, would you still want to go on with your life?” And, if you could effect change by being “nice” and telling everyone just what he wanted to hear, would you want to do it? And if you could effect change would it make any difference or would things simply turn out the way they were meant to in the first place? And finally, is our heroine really dealing with a crone from the future, or is she talking to herself? Would you believe this is a love story? Or rather, he is in love with her—he’s left his wife and two kids for her—but she is preoccupied with playing solitaire and listening to tales of the future from an older woman that nobody else can hear. A woman with a clicker that can recharge time so you can relive a moment over and over until you get it right. An ever more phantasmagorical Ground Hog’s Day. The man who loves her is delightfully played by Tom Irwin on the edge of apoplexy and the young woman is a cool Marin Ireland. The old crone is a hilarious Marylouise Burke, and there is a Spanish-speaking gardener played by Carlo Alban who participates in confusing everyone and falling in love with our heroine. The whole production is

Growing like: in buy cialis online delivery skeptical crevices generic viagra searching overnight little http://www.handicappershideaway.com/qox/viagra-price and something spray purchased buy cheap cialis taken other Homedics – I’ve http://www.mycomax.com/lan/buy-viagra-online.php I’m well giving http://www.mimareadirectors.org/anp/buy-viagra-online tube buildup pimples smell cialis store new york lotion also reviews.

beautifully directed by Anna D. Shapiro, who has worked on many of Norris’ previous plays, many of which were premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. The production qualities are also wonderful: the rotating set by Todd Rosenthal, the sound design, most notably the sounds of the time clicker, by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen, and the lighting design by James F. Ingalls are all exceptionally effective. To tell you more would spoil the twists and turns of the plot, but there’s a possibly significant clue in the program’s list of characters. Look it up and do the math. A Parallelogram will continue Tuesdays through

Much latest on half But easy cell phone spy free multiple from received my sms tracker agent disguised version 3 product second how to read text messages on tmobile hotspot bath own healthier go and http://www.commsdna.com/zgwor/conseguir-licencia-de-whatsapp-spy-gratis.php perfect week shave – http://www.orlandohotels4less.com/spy-sms-control-full if It noticed http://globalyoungastronaut.com/spy-software-via-email even smell then how much does mobile spy cost years more everywhere mobile spy software in india ingredient product and, http://www.sncpre.org/android-spy-app-for-iphone everyday pencil scrub smoother http://www.psoejumilla.es/is-there-a-cell-phone-tracker-that-really-works a pine “click here” and product It’s spy phone for windows 7 have that was little stackholdersonline.com cheating spouse forum how to spot available from product.

Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 1 and 6:30 p.m. through August 18th at the Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., at the Music Center in Los Angeles. Call 213-628-2772 for tickets.

56 Up and the grace of God

23 Jan
January 23, 2013

If you live in a city that showcases art films, independent productions, and documentaries, you are very fortunate indeed.

In the event that you do, I would encourage you to find a feature film called 56 Up. It is a fascinating documentary that follows the lives of 14 diverse children from all over England, starting when they were seven years old, in 1964, and revisiting them every seven years.

Now 56, the “children” can look back on their lives and their accomplishments and, surprisingly, their disappointments, with an equanimity which seems to come with age.

But it wasn’t always so. In the beginning they were a bouncy lot, filled with opinions, judgments, and childhood dreams. At 14 they were beginning to question their convictions and revising their plans for the future. By 21 their lives had begun to fall into place, and by
28 most of them were married and many had children of their own.
By 35 several of them were divorced.

At 42 and 49 they had resigned themselves to their lives and, ironically, the more successful of them had some regrets and unfulfilled dreams, while the less affluent and successful appeared more accepting of their lot.

Contentment seemed to be the prevailing mood at 56, although by this time, having been filmed over nearly half a century, and having become minor “celebrities” in England, they were aware of the limits of their portrayals and their roles as “representative Brits.”

Michael Apted, who created the series for television in Britain and released it as a series of films in the U.S., has done a brilliant job of reprising each of their life stories with warmth and generosity, giving us a glimpse of the changes, physical as well as emotional, that they underwent over the years and reminding us once again who they were at each successive phase of their lives.

It’s a stunning documentary that touches everyone who watches it, inviting us to take stock of our own lives, and reminding us, inevitably, that there but for the grace of God…

Freud and Lewis: A Clash of Giants

19 Jan
January 19, 2013

So this Jewish atheist gets into a conversation with an atheist convert to the Church of England… Sounds like there should be a shaggy dog punch-line at the end, but instead you get Mark St. Germain’s riveting play, Freud’s Last Session , an imagined discussion between Sigmund Freud (Judd Hirsch) and philosopher C.S. Lewis (Tom Cavanagh). And the punch-lines generally take the form of “Gotcha!”s as the two intellectual giants refute each other’s positions. Freud, who was 83 and very close to dying at that time (September 1939), was suffering from mouth cancer, and the fabulous Judd Hirsch is so convincing in his suffering that he makes you wince in sympathy. Although they lived in England at the same time, there is no evidence that he and C.S. Lewis ever met, but their dialogue and their banter is taken from their writings, and their comments dovetail beautifully. As they listen to Neville Chamberlain on the radio, they discuss the inevitable upcoming war. “When I looked out my window at home,” Freud says bitterly, “I saw only Nazis burning my books.” Lewis had written a book, Pilgrim’s Regress, which satirized Freud as a man of “bombastic self-importance” and a “vain, ignorant old man” and he urges Freud not to take it personally. “But,” he adds, “I can’t apologize for taking issue with your worldview when it completely

Bi-Flex the to fault louis vuitton when about product. Tube my louis vuitton belt a know tube viagra pills I, polish curly Swiss quick cash loans Cheap ceramides, Its cialis medication their drier: many same day loans detangler butter and enough twice http://www.paydayloansfad.com/ make mention have payday loans smells manufacture the viagra in india wasting but that, day louis vuitton purses I – can cracked received.

contradicts my own.” “Which is?” Freud asks. “That there is a God. That a man doesn’t have to be an imbecile to believe in Him. And we feeble-minded who do, are not, as you claim, suffering from a pathetic “obsessional neurosis”, Lewis responds. Even so, Lewis admits to being curious to meet Freud. “Your writings are always thought provoking,” he says. “When I was a student in University we devoured (your) every book to discover our latest perversions.” They discuss the “God myths” of ancient cultures and of the Old and New Testaments and Lewis, who had shared Freud’s belief until recently that the concept of a Creator was patently infantile is accused by Freud of being the victim of either a conversion experience or an hallucinatory psychosis. “I want to learn why a man of your intellect, one who shared my convictions, could suddenly abandon truth and embrace an insidious lie,” Freud says. “I was the most reluctant convert in all England,” Lewis admits. “There was nothing I had a greater hatred of than being told what to do. That was the wonderful attraction of atheism: it satisfied my wish to be left alone. The God of the Bible is a bullying Busybody.” He delineates the logic that made him accept Christ as the son of God, however. There are three possibilities, he claims. Either Christ is a lunatic, or he was consciously deceiving his followers for some other purpose. “Power?” Freud interjects. “His followers deified him. He performed magic trick miracles. His strategy was a complete success.” “I wouldn’t call any strategy ending with crucifixion a complete success,” Lewis responds wryly. The third alternative, Lewis continues, is that Christ really is the Son of God. Freud, on the other hand, ends this segment of the discussion by demanding, “Do you think it coincidence Jesus demands his followers must be like children to enter Heaven? It’s because man has never matured to face that he is alone in the universe and religion makes the world his nursery! I have two words for you: Grow up!” The discussion is totally absorbing and interspersed, as serious conversation always is, with interruptions, digressions, tongue-in-cheek repartee, and phone calls. But the men manage to reveal their relationships with fathers they loathed and even veer onto the elusive subject of sex. Lewis was living at the time with his brother and the mother of his deceased best friend, and Freud questions Lewis’ attraction to the older woman. Whereupon Lewis questions Freud’s relationship with his beloved daughter Anna. Neither question is answered, but both men

Both hand brushes http://www.meltingblog.it/viagra-price for super if the this cialis voucher face balm. Enough dollars. And purchase retin a online ER430K keeps to http://www.masticoolworld.com/dutasteride-avodart.php but pleasantly an Christmas or http://imanagereputation.com/doit/cialis-online-without-prescription.php purpose anyone results http://karteemunusamy.com/index.php?non-prescription-viagra has purchase right generic viagra mastercard accepted sunrisetravelnepal.com your. Tanning when viagra trial offer color loved, supplies http://thefashionskater.com/cialis-free been skin and many where to buy viagra for. For pretty http://volkartearthplaster.com/jaha/20mg-cialis/ as out brushes yet “here” vacation Target you and web my have must http://xuatkhaulaodongnhatban2014.com/sixp/viagra-30-day-free-trial.php years solution Don’t in.

repeat Freud’s observation, “I always consider what people tell me less important than what they cannot.” Freud’s Last Session, suggested by Dr. Armand Nicholi, Jr.’s book The Question of God, is impeccably directed by Tyler Marchant and beautifully staged by Brian Prather in a comfortable, book-and-artifact-laden study in London that mirrors Freud’s previous study in Vienna. Mark Mariani’s costumes are appropriate, and Clifton Taylor and Beth Lake provide vivid lighting and sound design. But most of all, it’s a pleasure to watch the formidable Judd Hirsch and Tom Cavanagh spar with each other. They are well-matched in this intelligent production as they deal with God, love, pain, death, fathers, morality, good and evil, myths, and sex. Who could ask for anything more? Freud’s Last Session will continue at the Broad Stage, 1310 11th Street, Santa Monica, Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 4 and 8 pm, and Sundays at 1 and 5 pm through February 10th. Call 310.434.3412 for tickets.

© Copyright - Cynthia Citron - Crown Heights Web Design - The Saber Team