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Open Fist celebrates 30 years of risk-taking theater with this mini-festival of work by four iconic playwrights.
Perception is everything. Open Fist Theatre Company opens its 30th anniversary season with three programs of short works, performed in rotating repertory, by playwrights renowned for pushing the boundaries of theatrical invention. Rorschach Fest, featuring seminal work by John O’Keefe, Daniel MacIvor, Harold Pinter and Caryl Churchill, opens Feb. 14 at Atwater Village Theatre, where performances continue through April 5. Pay-What-You-Want previews begin Feb. 11.
The Rorschach test is a psychological test in which subjects' perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex algorithms or both.
According to Open Fist artistic director Martha Demson, “Whether looking at an inkblot or watching a play from one of the iconic playwrights we are featuring, both reveal truths beneath the surface, truths that reflect the perspective of the viewer as much as the content provided by the playwrights.”
“These plays excite because they engage in unexpected ways and they only work live,” says associate artistic director Amanda Weier. “They are quintessentially theater because the audience experience is the event. Everyone will experience the ride in their own way, and that's exactly the point and exactly why these plays are so much fun.”
Inkblot A, which opens the festival on Friday, Feb. 14 at 8 p.m., then repeats on Saturday. Feb. 15 at 4 p.m., features Ghosts, written and directed by legendary new theater-maker/playwright/monologist John O'Keefe. An evocation of the afterlife, Ghosts premiered at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre in 1981, followed by a five-month Los Angeles run in 1985 that the Los Angeles Times called “a skillful blend of old-fashioned horror show and newfangled experimental theater with a fluidity that suggests—often quite literally—poetry in motion... an unsparing yet ultimately compassionate view of the human condition.” This marks Open Fist’s third production of a John O’Keefe play: In 2017, the company presented Tina Preston in O’Keefe’s Don’t You Ever Call Me Anything But Mother, which Stage Raw called “astonishing… what seems simple is really deep and full of complex nuance and choice” in 2018, Open Fist’s Southern California premiere of All Night Long was called “magic… riotously funny in a dark, twisted way [while] also deeply moving and profound” by radio station KCRW, which named it to its year-end “Best of 2018” list.
Joining the Festival on Saturday, Feb 15 at 8 p.m. and repeating on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m., Inkblot B is made up of two one acts. Harold Pinter’s Landscape was first performed 50 years ago. A compact, hypnotic portrait of loneliness and the damaged terrain of a long-term marriage in which the two spouses are locked in a motionless chase for each other’s attention, Landscape poetically and powerfully reveals the degrees to which one can remain hopelessly unknown to his or her life partner. Never Swim Alone is a slyly witty, unexpectedly suspenseful landmark of the Canadian theater by Daniel MacIvor, Two men, Frank and Bill, compete for the title of “first man” under the watchful eye of the Referee — a young woman with a secret connection to the boys these men used to be. According to Variety, “Daniel MacIvor’s plays have been labeled everything from postmodern to metatheatrical, but these are cold terms that do nothing to capture the warm, accessible soul of a writer whose honesty and compassion for both audiences and his characters is at the heart of all his work.”
Finally, Inkblot C, which begins performances on Sunday Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. and repeats on Monday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m., includes two plays by Caryl Churchill. This Is A Chair juxtaposes momentous news headlines with scenes of everyday life to sometimes funny, sometimes chilling effect. Churchill’s short play about the surreal nature of modern life was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre in 1997 as part of the London International Festival of Theatre. Here We Go is an unsentimental exploration of the final stages of life and the mysterious moments that follow in the great unknown. As a small group of acquaintances assemble at a funeral to recount what they remember about the deceased, he has already begun a new chapter in the after-life.
Rorschach Fest opens on Feb. 14 and continues through April 5, with performances on Fridays at 8 p.m. Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sundays at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m. Inkblots A, B and C will each perform twice per week on a rotating schedule scroll down for a detailed performance schedule, or check the website at www.openfist.org. There will be three preview performances, on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. (Inkblot A) Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. (Inkblot B) and Thursday, Feb, 13 at 8 p.m. (Inkblot C). Tickets to a single Inkblot performance are $25 with advance purchase and $30 at the door. A two-Inkblot package is available for $40, and all three Inkblots can be seen for $50 packages are available online only. Tickets to previews are Pay-What-You-Want.
Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call (323) 882-6912 or go to www.openfist.org.
Presenter / Producer: Open Fist Theatre
Theater > Drama
Event Phone: 323-882-6912
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90039
LA - Hollywood / Westside
Performance Dates: 2/10/2020 - 4/5/2020
Fri.,Sat. Mon. 8:00 pm Sat., Sun. 4:00 pm Sun. 7:00 pm Inkblots (A)(B)(C)
$25 - $50
Web Link for ticketing
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