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Q&A with Aurin Squire by Dan Berkowitz

Aurin Squire is an award-winning playwright, journalist, and multimedia artist. A recent graduate of Juilliard, he’s had fellowships at the Dramatists Guild of America, National Black Theatre, and Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and has worked as a journalist for The New Republic, Talking Points Memo, ESPN, The Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, and over a dozen publications. His play “Running on Fire” will be at the O’Neill Theatre Conference this summer. His plat “Obama-ology” is at LA’s Skylight Theatre through August 28.

Bart DeLorenzo’s production of “Go Back to Where You Are” by David Greenspan opens July 16 at the Odyssey Theatre.

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Less a play than an extended vignette, Bull is well-acted, crisply directed, elegant to look at, and for the most part quite entertaining. If, in the end, one walks out of the theatre grouchy and unsatisfied, it’s because the play, while often fun to listen to and watch, in the end simply spins its wheels in one spot for almost an hour without moving forward an inch.

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Amazingly, Mr. Shepperd and his cast have managed to recreate the joyous abandon of that show, along with the satisfaction quotient of a full-scale Broadway musical, on the postage-stamp sized stage of Celebration. Mr. Shepperd’s philosophy seems to be, if you’re in a small space, don’t scale things down – make ‘em bigger! It’s a great philosophy, and the result is brash and loud and over the top – in other words, a triumph. Go.

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“Dinner at Home between Deaths” bills itself as “A Pitch Black Comedy.” While it’s well-done and handsome to look at, the color of the completed dish turns out to be less pitch-black than one of the fifty shades of grey. The whole thing is much too polite; if only there were more enthusiastically rude touches, this show might have fulfilled its pitch-black promise.

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People who work in the theatre generally start out with high hopes and great expectations, good intentions and contagious enthusiasm. They work hard, do their best, and strive, with a goal of creating a work of art which will entertain, move, and perhaps even enlighten an audience. I applaud all of them, and count myself proud to be among them. Which is why it pains me to say that I found “Dirt,” now playing at the Raven Playhouse in NoHo, awful in just about every imaginable way.

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I commend Lisa Dring for her bravery – and bravura – in walking onstage and sharing her own very personal experiences with death, as well as her feelings of inadequacy in its face. Paradoxically, however, this deeply-felt memoir left me dry-eyed and unmoved.

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A conversation with Casey Stangl, director of Caryl Churchill’s outrageous play “Cloud 9” at Antaeus Theatre Company

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“Only the Moon Howls” by Dean Farell Bruggeman and directed by Eric Cire runs through March 12 at Theatre Unleashed in North Hollywood.

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Robert Allan Ackerman has directed just about everyone in just about everything. He’s now back in LA with “Blood” a play he wrote and directed which is inspired by true events involving AIDS-contaminated blood.

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