EST-LA Writers "Move On" to New One-Acts

Leigh Kennicott Reviews - Theater
Print

EST/LA’s 2019 One-Act Festival launched last weekend. In this round, member-playwrights have a chance to see their work evolve during a four-week run.  This season, the plays run the gamut from the inexplicable to the sublime. Although two of the playwrights, Ken Levine and Jennie Webb are members of the EST/LA Playwrights Unit,  the remaining playwrights – Sophia Lewis, Ashley Rose Wellman, and Christine Hamilton-Schmidt-- emanate from EST/LA’s New West Playwrights. I show them in order of performance.

Rock Logic. Written by Sophia Lewis. Directed by Katie Lindsay.

In this gentle play, Sammy (Kait Schuster) and Taylor (Salina Muttalib) take a detour on the way to a funeral to contemplate the implacability of nature in the face of loss and the demands of civilization vs. communion with higher forces of nature. Taylor’s consistently supportive shoulder gives the stage to the whims of her lover, giving Sammy room to display the twists and turns of a grieving daughter.

Smiling Cat Candy Heart, Written by Jennie Webb. Directed by June Carryl.

 

Old animosities dominate a hand-off between divorced parents (Christopher T. Wood and Lauren Campedelli) , but their revisit to old wounds results in new resolve, when their daughter (Julianna Riley) dissolves into speaking only in emojis. Both mother and daughter are double cast, so be sure to check the day you see the show. (Smiley Cat, Triple 7s).

The Cold Place. Written by Ashley Rose Wellman. Directed by Christopher J. Raymond.

Robin (Brenda Varda) and Daniel (Wes McGee) navigate a difficult transition as an elaborate, out-of town assignation veers off-course to defy our romantic expectations. We are left wondering: why do they need to drive to another town to talk in a motel room if it ISN’T about sex?

Signing-Off. Written by Ken Levine. Directed by Tony Pasqualini.

There is always one diamond in a group of other gemstones. In this delicious table-turning short piece, an aging talk-show host (the marvelous Nick Ullett) confronts an insufferably cocky replacement (a frenetic Clayton Farris).  What retiree has not contemplated the come-uppance of one who comes behind?

Possible Deranged Lunatic. Written by Christine Hamilton-Schmidt. Directed by William Charlton.

Consistently funny, this perfect-for-Halloween mystery features Peter (Michael-James Bell) who seems to be a true-crime binge. Peter's unfathomable explanation dovetails into Olivia's detective instincts, but rather than spine tingling, the results are hilarious.

Producing director Christopher Reiling and Executive Producer Kevin Comartin head the team that includes producer Virtic Emil Brown, lighting designer Brad Bentz, and scenic designer Amanda Knehans. EST-LA consistently does a lot with a little, and these playlets are no exception.

Producing director Christopher Reiling and Executive Producer Kevin Comartin head the team that includes producer Virtic Emil Brown, lighting designer Brad Bentz and Scenic designer Amanda Knehans. EST-LA consistently does a lot with a little and these playlets are no exception.

EST/LA One-Acts continue weekends through May 26th; Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 P.M., Sundays at 2:00 P.M. at Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, 3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village 90039. Reservations and tickets: $25 -17 (Students must show student ID at the door). Reserve at: https://dime.io/events/2019-one-acts