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Q&A with Matt Chait by Dan Berkowitz

A conversation with actor and playwright Matt Chait, whose “Disinherit the Wind” opens March 3 at The Complex in Hollywood.

“Die, Mommie, Die!” is a curiosity, an old-fashioned example of gay theatre on the cusp of change. It’s arch, it’s stylish, and though it relies on the same camp sensibility as shows such as “Women Behind Bars,” its carefully-constructed artifice reminds one more of Oscar Wilde than Tom Eyen. If the reaction of the opening night audience is any indication, it should have a wilde-ly successful run at Celebration Theatre.

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A few confessions right off the bat:

1. I have never seen the movie “Mean Girls,” which, not surprisingly, is the basis for “The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Mean Gurlz” – which means virtually everyone else in the audience probably got about 100,000 more in-jokes than I did; and

2. I’m not a follower of popular music, which means when virtually everyone else in the audience was singing along with the score to the show, I was sitting there dumb (in more ways than one).

So you’d think I wouldn’t like it, right? Wrong. The good news is that “The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Mean Gurlz” – one of a series of musical takeoffs of popular films – is ferociously entertaining, even for someone as clueless as I am.

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Okay, the bad news right up front: no one eats anyone in “Cannibals Alone.” Which was a real disappointment. Not because I’m particularly bloodthirsty, but because I was really looking forward to seeing how cannibalism would be done onstage. On TV or in the movies, sure – but a real live version of “Santa Clarita Diet” on the tiny Belfry Stage in NoHo? Now that I was looking forward to!

The good news is that if you’re a fan of mayhem, chaos, violence, gunshots, torture by cigarette lighter, knives to throats, and characters manhandling each other – actually, since it’s an all-female cast, I suppose it should be womanhandling each other – “Cannibals Alone” is for you. So there’s no flesh-eating? Feh!

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In these days of short attention spans, when the “ideal play” is described as being 70 minutes with no intermission, the very idea of a three-hour evening in the theatre is enough to make some audiences cringe. “How will I stay awake that long? How can anything be interesting for three hours?!?”

Well, if the play is by the great August Wilson, and is in the hands of a group of superlative actors working under an assured director, it can be interesting and then some. In Michele Shay’s production of “King Hedley II” at the Matrix Theatre, the three hours fly by.

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“Charm” is charming, to be sure, but also fierce and funny and moving and uplifting: a fine way to begin Celebration Theatre’s second season at The Lex. Last year’s inaugural season was a triumph, and it’s clear this dynamic theatre is on a roll. Bravo!

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So if you’ve always had a hankering to see a 40s-era shamus get socked in the kisser – several times – with a rubber fish… then dance with a 6-foot-tall fish who socks him in the kisser with a rubber human, “Angel’s Flight” is for you. No, this loopy spoof isn’t about the one-car train which used to go up and down Bunker Hill downtown (or maybe it is – I can’t be sure…), and I’m also not sure exactly what the fish is all about, but what the hey? “Angel’s Flight” is performed in a real bar, where the cosmos aren’t half bad and are served in coupe glasses to boot. Talk about retro – I didn’t think they even made coupe glasses anymore!

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Like an enthusiastic puppy which hasn’t been housebroken, Peter Lefcourt’s “Drama Queens from Hell,” directed by Terri Hanauer, is good-natured and ingratiating, if a bit messy and, at times, frustrating and annoying. However, it’s so eager to please that it’s difficult not to like, and if you’re willing to overlook its flaws, you’ll have a good time.

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Michael Michetti has won 2 Ovation Awards and 5 LA Drama Critic Circle Awards for directing. His production of Tom Jacobson’s “Captain of the Bible Quiz Team” runs through October 3 at Lutheran churches around town.

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Mr. Shanley’s Pulitzer and Tony-winning play was originally titled, simply, “Doubt,” but when it was published, he changed the title to “Doubt: A Parable.” It’s a tricky piece, as there’s no real evidence one way or the other as to Father Flynn’s guilt or innocence: one may be certain, another may have doubt. In the end, Mr. Shanley seems to land on the side of doubt: can we ever know for certain what’s in another’s heart or mind? Is certainty – which so many these days seem to possess about the motives of others – a virtue or a flaw? Do we, perhaps, only really become human when we have… doubt?

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