One of the little-known joys of living in Los Angeles is finding out that a lot of movie and TV people – writers, actors, directors – also love to work in the theatre: the proximity of a live audience, laughing or crying at the moment, can be intoxicating. Sometimes you find yourself lucky enough to see and hear well-known actors read plays in intimate settings: I remember being one of only 5 people invited to hear Renee Taylor, Joe Bologna, and Paul Sorvino read a new play in a conference room, and I was part of a (slightly) larger crowd when Fred Willard did a new piece in a writer’s living room.
Though the names may not be as big, a lot of the faces are recognizable – and the writers and directors behind them have credits up the wazoo – in Hollywood Shorts, a program of 8 short pieces, playing Monday nights through November 23 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. It’s definitely worth a visit.
There’s a lot going on here: eight writers, four directors, and a cast of 20 – how do they all even fit backstage at this tiny theatre?!? And the plays address a wide range of topics including Las Vegas hookers, gay marriage, coupon-clipping thieves, spoiled actors, murderous comedians, S/M dancing, Wile E. Coyote, and the supremacy of cats.
David Svengalis is credited with lighting and sound, both of which are well done. Though no one is credited with sets or costumes, all the plays look good, and the set changes are accomplished quickly and smoothly. A series of projections provide appropriate backdrops for the pieces.
The evening isn’t perfect: some of the writing could be sharper, and a few of the actors seem to be playing for the camera rather than the stage, and are barely audible.
But there’s enough talent on display – and enough belly laughs to be had – that you won’t regret a trip to the Whitefire on a Monday night.
Written by Andy Rooster Bloch, Dan Frischman, Jim Geoghan, Ed Horowitz, Bruce Kane, Ken Levine, Toni Perrotta, and Wayne Robbins
Directed by Cleo King, Ken Levine, Bryan Rasmussen, and Wayne Robbins
Through November 23