Jane Austen Unscripted

Impro Theatre presents
Jane Austen Unscripted
a kate west review

directed by Dan O'Connor
and Paul Rogan
produced by Matthew Quinn

Fri, Oct 10 – Sun, Nov 16
Fri, Sat 8pm
Sunday 7pm

Theatre Asylum
6320 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 960-7753

Cast and Company: Patrick Bristow (special guest), Tracy Burns, Kari Coleman, Lisa Fredrickson, Brian Jones, Stephen Kearin, Lauren Lewis, Brian Lohmann, Nick Massouh, Jo McGinley, Dan O’Connor, Edi Patterson, Jennifer Riege, Paul Rogan, Carla Rosati, Michele Spears, Mollite Taxe, and Floyd Van Buskirk.

Impro Theatre specializes in presenting rapt audiences with such impressive improvisational feats as "Dickens Unscripted", "Tennessee Williams Unscripted", "Shakespeare Unscripted" and even "Sondheim Unscripted". The latest presentation, "Jane Austen Unscripted", is equally noteworthy, complete with gorgeous period costuming and language. Directors Dan O'Connor and John Rogan lead the brilliant troupe in bringing the celebrated author's sensibilities to life, as it were.

Company members take a couple of suggestions from the audience and spin an entire Jane Austen styled original play. One hundred percent improvised, the complex plot unfolds, hearts are won, witticisms flung and poetry recited, all in perfect synchronicity. Yes, amazingly enough, the actors are making up the entire dialogue right under your very eyes. It's like watching a Jane Austen movie that delivers a clever wink to the audience. The accomplished actors also gently acknowledge the occasional transgressions in ad-libbing, turning funny situations into even more humorous turns. The time flies by and when you are transported back to your modern era, you will want to come back for more.

The company treats their revered authors with the deepest respect, creating lines befitting the original works. Theirs is definitely an original spin, but seemingly lifted from what might have been written. Consummate professionals through and through (look up their long list of credits) , the players will make you laugh and then inspire you to read the classic works for yourself. What will they think of next? We can't wait to find out.

Austen's Works:
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen (Wordsworth Special Editions) (Special Editions) Read more!

Red Scare on Sunset

Charles Busch's
Red Scare on Sunset

a kate west review
directed by Cindy Gendrich

at the Attic Theatre
5429 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
contact 323-525-0600
running Sept. 11 - Oct. 18

Charles Busch, playwright, actor and drag queen extraordinaire, brings back his reflections on the 1950's Hollywood Blacklisting in "Red Scare on Sunset". Famous for such outrageouness as "Psycho Beach Party" and "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom", Busch often cast himself in the fabulously dressed female leads (www.charlesbusch.com). Filling in Charles Busch's high heeled shoes, is Drew Droege in the latest version of "Red Scare".

Droege takes on Busch's famous alter ego movie star Mary Dale, giving her his own full out drag flair. Mary's actor husband Frank Taggert (Chris Tarantino) is drawn into the Communist party against his will, subcombing to the dark Hollywood left. Best friend Pat Pilford (the delightfully fun Michelle Begley) supports Mary but still has to keep her own black secret. Mysterious Marta Towers (the rather weak Sona Tatoyan) gums up the works, making the moves on Taggert. Mary must save her husband and her career, all the while keeping herself in stylish couture. Busch tries to fit it all in - suicides and murder, sex and scandal and a reminder that even the entertainment industry can demonstrate intolerance.

The cast is unbalanced, some much weaker than others. Amy Proccaci has a few fun turns as R. G. Benson, a sharp-talking oldtime director, as does Dane Whitlock as various sexually ambiguous characters. Drew Droege and Michelle Begley are definite stand-outs, as well as being the best dressed. Some very fine delectable 1950's dresses, indeed. Director Cindy Gendrich makes some nice stage pictures and Droege has some priceless facial expressions as Mary sinks further and further into despair, to arise triumphant, strong and red-white-and-blue conservative in the end.

The company obviously enjoy their take on a Charles Busch classic and while it runs too long, it is fun to watch Droege expertly inhabit the intensely sheltered and delicate movie star who turns out to be much tougher than anyone suspected. He's the best thing about the show, pretty much. The actual story is almost secondary to showcasing that particular Charles Busch portrait.

Pictured below: Drew Droege, Michelle Begley, Chris Tarantino

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Tilted Frame

Tilted Frame
a kate west recommendation

Thursday - September 25 at 8:30 PM
Preview tickets $5.00

October 2 – November 20
Thursdays at 8:30 PM
tix $10

Theatre Asylum
6320 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Contact (323) 960-7753

Created during the .dot com era of San Francisco by C.A.F.E in 2002, Tilted Frame merges technology and entertainment with live media, live theater and the Internet. The talented cast takes suggestions from the audience and riffs, improv style, but with a technological twist. With video and computer screens, they maneuver in and out of the stage (you have to see it live to get the full effect). There are a few glitches here and there (and kudos for being able to coordinate dialogue while manipulating media), but the actors use each mistake to their advantage, joyfully pointing them out, in fact, and gaining our respect. It is obvious they are all having the time of their lives.

Directed by Groundlings alum Patrick Bristow (www.groundlings.com) and Matthew Quinn (Executive Producer). Featuring Jordan Black, Candace Brown, Dorien Davies, Jayne Entwistle, Beth Geiger, Shawn Gonzales, Michelle Johnson, Caleb Martin, Drew Massey, Carl Peterson, Amy Procacci, Colleen Smith, Kenny Stevenson, Victor Yerrid, Brennan Vetter.

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