Peter Brook states in his book, An Empty Space, that all one needs to produce theatre is "an empty space, an actor to walk across it, and someone to watch him." Dramatic English's production of Featuring Loretta starring: Aisling McDonnell, Daniel Levia, Michael Rogers and Shirley Sheung went back to basics and put together a show with ZERO budget to present to audience's for FREE! In their program notes, the cast writes: "You don't need anything beyond a script and a few good friends..." Amen!
What this production lacks in spectacle it makes up for with heart. It has "good bones to it," as my mother would say. All the actors strive to try and play a different kind of character than they are typically cast as. There was no director and the cast just got together and made a play together as friends. Levia described to me their delightful rehearsals on top of the IFC. It reminds me of college days when we used to just get together and fuck around with a play for fun! (*sigh* memories...)
Well worth your time and FREE (hello???) it is a great way to spend your evening. Written by George C. Walker, a Canadian playwright, it is a little dark. It's part of his Suburban Motel series where the characters in all the vignettes are just stuck in a perpetual spiral of having their life SUCK. It has it's funny moments but it is a very dark play. Physical prat by Daniel Levia and Michael Rogers lightened it up significantly. Rogers played a disgusting pimp, beautifully!
I loved the performance of Shirley Sheung. I think this is the first time I have seen her do a character that had a bit of grit on her. Her Chinglish was beautifully executed and she was hilarious, particularily when explaining anything to do with physics, scraping shit, or a communist father.
Aisling McDonnell's character is the central figure in the story. She's the girl all the guys want. She's also the character with the toughest choice to make within the story. How far is she willing to go? McDonnell handled a convoluted character with grace. I would make a sexy movie with her!
Tech wise, the only note I had is that I didn't particularly enjoy having the florescent lights left on the audience for Scene 1. The apartment did look thoroughly disgusting which I think was what they were going for and costume choices were excellent! Especially, Sheung's t-shirt...
In conclusion, it's not a show with a lot of flash to it but it does entertain and it's 4 actors trying something new! I always give a hell of a lot of credit for experimental theatre and accessible theatre for people on all budgets in this town! It's fast paced and interesting. Lamma Island people will make the 10 o'clock ferry NO PROBLEM!
It's FREE! Get your asses down to Jordan for the last show! 8:15pm, tomorrow, 191 Woosung St!
18 and over only! All Donations go to a scholarship fund for young drama students!