My Early Birds Review is Late

Leigh Kennicott Reviews - Theater
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Moving Arts is notable as a company for doing original works with incredible professionalism and flair.  For the second time this summer, I am privy to another well-wrought production overseen by Artistic Director Darin Anthony on the tiny Moving Arts stage in Atwater Village. This time, in Early Birds, clocking in at a scant 70 minutes by Dan Schwartz, an encounter on the high seas between two women in different financial circumstances reveals that warm, human encounters can happen anywhere. With only Saturday and Monday left before it closes, please hurry over to see it!

Ivy (Jayne Taini) is a brash, fast talking and comfortable-looking woman, apparently lured on board by the price of the cruise, while Nora, fashionable and rather stand-offish, can afford to go anywhere at any price.  They are both at crossroads in their lives.  When they each find the secluded second deck, they quickly claim it as “theirs” because they are the early birds, you know, who catch the worms. Stylish Captain Devon (Wendy Elizabeth Abraham), though, is at the ready to attend their needs as they, and we the audience, gradually learn the true nature of the cruise.

Schwartz’ writing is a light and gentle character study, taking us along with breezy repartee between two unlikely friends. They are drawn together by the proximity of the boat, er, ship and the distance of their troubles. Like any vacation, the unresolvable problems that bring them together seem to be a distant dream.  Once off the boat, will Ivy and Nora remain friends?  A year later, it might be interesting to revisit them to find out.

Carefully drawn by Elizabeth Swain, with deft assistance from John Iacovelli’s beautiful deck-side set; timely costuming by Carolyn Mazuca, light sound by Jeff Gardner, and great lighting by Martha Carter with assistance from Avery Reagan. Captain Devon’s dress whites alone constitute a spectacular addition to traditional nautical wear.

Early Birds closes Monday, September 9th at 8:00 PM at The Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village 90039. Reservations and tickets online: $24 advance purchase at www.movingarts.org, or call (323) 472-5646; $30 at the door.