Nov 8, 2007

Looking Up Out West

Three of my favorite theater companies are on the West Coast, and though I have no way to witness their work firsthand, I'm still enough in the loop to get vicariously excited about what they're up to.

First there's the Evidence Room--which I remember primarily as a place, that amazing warehouse on Beverly Blvd., where I spent many an hour not only as a (mostly) happy critic but as a musician in the insane late-night happening The Strip (and which was, in the spirit of full disclosure, the site of a send-off party for me when I left Back Stage West in '03), but which is in fact an independent company which previously hung its hat in Culver City (I remember those days fondly, too) and which this weekend opens up a co-production with the Unknown Theatre of Martin Crimp's Attempts on Her Life. In some alternate universe, I'm there at the opening with the proverbial bells on. (For the record, that amazing space on Beverly is now in the hands of the Bootleg Theatre Company.)

Second is Cornerstone Theater Company, longtime resident of downtown's L.A. artist loft district, which recently joined forces with a loft developer to give prospective tenants a look at the Barker Block live/work spaces. I'm not in the market for a live/work space in that neck of the woods, but I would love to have seen what odd, cool flights of improvisatory fancy were taken by Shishir Kurup, Page Leong and Bernard White (pictured above), or by Peter Howard (pictured below with an actress with whom I'm not acquainted). I was tipped off to this tantalizing but not-open-to-the-public event not by the theater company itself but by a publicist pal who's also flogged similar theatrical-real-estate events in the past. Another downtown L.A. blog has more details.

Finally, there's Oregon Shakespeare Festival, taken over last year by Cornerstone founding director Bill Rauch, which has begun rehearsals for the first season of programming programmed by Rauch--a new Bill of fare, if you will. I received heartening notice that The Clay Cart, a Sanskrit epic, has kicked off rehearsals with blasting bhangra music. It's the first non-Western classic to be staged at the Bard fest (it will open in Feb. '08 at the Angus Bowmer Theatre), but the play isn't new to Rauch: An adaptation called The Toy Truck was Cornerstone's first community production when the company relocated to L.A. in 1992, which is also when I met them.

I send whatever good vibes I possess on westerly winds. Break legs, taboos and box-office records as you will.


paula said...

Cornerstone Theater loves you, too! Follow yr heart and get west more often please. xo paula d

rachel j said...

here, here! i echo paula!

(PS--the actress pictured with Peter Howard is Kiersten Morgan)