Monday, July 14, 2014

Enter at Forest Lawn

The people in Mark Roberts' Enter at Forest Lawn, directed by Jay Stull, fall down, squat in frozen crouches, twitch like dying break dancers, sashay, and ooze disjointedly, respectively. They spew words, plot, lie, manipulate, fuck, abuse drugs, molest children, and commit acts of violence. Love is unknown here, as are friendship, loyalty, and morals.

Lemp, Roberts, Pilieci
Photo: Russ Rowland.
Welcome to a version of show biz that I suspect exists far more frequently in the minds of male playwrights striving to be edgy than in real-life Hollywood. And, while Roberts, Stull, and the excellent cast offer vivid language, smart pacing, and never-flagging energy, this show suffers from the opposite of the emperor's new clothes: the clothes are real, but there is no emperor.

Which is not to say that the show isn't worth seeing. This production, presented by the Amoralists as part of a "two-play repertory exploring man's vicious cycles," is polished, frequently entertaining, and never boring. And it is acted with the Amoralists' signature balls-to-the-wall commitment, with author Roberts effectively slimy as the producer whose multi-million-dollar deal is at risk; David Lanson, physically and emotionally tied in knots by his inability to choose morals over money; Sarah Lemp, quivering with nerves and fear; Matthew Pilieci, skin-crawlingly creepy; and Anna Stomberg channeling Annette Bening's performance in the Grifters as the up-and-coming producer who would fuck a hyena if it helped her career.

If I never saw another play about the evils of L.A., it would be fine with me, but this one ultimately made it worth my while.

(press ticket, fourth row)

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