Lucas: Part 2 !!BETTER!!
Skywalker Ranch was a newly-completed filmmaking oasis in the late 1980s. Nestled amongst rolling hills of gold, bespeckled with live oaks and cattle, it was an environment wholly conducive to creative thinking. In June of 1988, courtesy of PBS, television audiences across America had one of their first glimpses of this hallowed locale. They watched journalist Bill Moyers and mythologist Joseph Campbell walking together in conversation with serene nature in the background, eventually making their way up the steps of the main house and into the library. It was the first episode in a six-part series, The Power of Myth.
Lucas: Part 2
The four-member cast carried the 90-minute production beautifully, masterfully maintaining their respective roles, engaging the heart and imagination, and taking us with them as they traveled effortlessly in an inventive dreamscape through time. They expressed and shared emotions that touched the audience participant, guiding us through the tensions of heartache, loss, and desires. They reminded us to love, pursue our passions, ask questions, and realize that some things shall not work out as planned.
Lucas Hnath's impressively growing body of work includes his plays, Death Tax, A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay about the Death of Walt Disney, Isaac's Eye, Red Speedo, The Christians, Hillary and Clinton, A Doll's House Part 2, Dana H., The Thin Place, and The Courtship of Anna Nicole Smith. Hnath's work has put him on the map as a contributing force and exceptional voice for the ever-changing forefront that is Live Theatre as we know it. Solidifying him as truly one of my favorite playwrights.To my knowledge, only one other Theatre in Tampa Bay has previously staged a piece by Mr. Hnath. The fine folks, at Urbanite, staged a production of Isaac's Eye in their 2015 inaugural season.Hnath's A Doll's House Part 2 picks up 15 years following the conclusion of Henrik Ibsen's classic A Doll's House. Set in 1894, the play embarks on a journey examining the rules intertwined between society and gender, and what makes relationships, and society as a whole work. The play begins with a solitary knock on the door. This door was the same door in which Nora departed some mere 15 years prior, when she left her husband Torvald, the kids, and nursemaid Anne Marie, in search of herself and the idea that life is better when you aren't held captive to the ideals of what makes a real marriage, or absence of one. Nora, having returned as a successful female novelist, is seeking dissolution or divorce from Torvald whom she assumed took care of it many years prior. You see in the 1800's it's much easier for a man to ask for a divorce, for in its time women had to prove there was a reason behind wanting a divorce, abuse, neglect, what have you.
So beautifully stated.As Nora Helmer, Producing Artistic Director Emilia Sargent is a marvel. Commanding the stage from first knock to final slam, her Nora grabs you by the jugular and doesn't let go until her final exit. An exceptional Artist of her craft, Emilia presents Nora as a woman who has reclaimed herself and her time while she was away. She's strong-willed in every moment to moment and there is a clear character arc that presents itself from beginning to end. Even just the simple movement of a chair, the awkward posing before Torvald's entrance, and the banging of her head on the desk in frustration is clearly concise and thought out. Her Nora is never forced, but arriving precisly as she means to, and she is all business and man does she have something to say.As Torvald, L. Peter Callender is exquisite. Having last witnessed his prowess during the virtual screening of Satchmo at the Waldorf, his presence onstage in person is unmatched. He rivals toe to toe with Nora in every back and forth. He is stoic and staunch, no-nonsense, and yet you feel the wounded parts of him as well.
Anne Marie played by the wonderful Karla Hartley acts as the comedic relief at times. Yet she also proves to be the glue holding this entire fiasco together. Karla's performances are always fresh and this is no exception, she takes no prisoners when she needs to and has a heart of gold underneath an otherwise rough exterior.As Emmy, Bria Matthews is wonderful. She is clever and concise in all moments. Her scene with Nora is exceptional taking on a new meaning to Mother/Daughter conversation. What intrigues me most about her performance is her ability to not play the wounded child card. After not having seen her mother for 15 years, you would think there would be some wounds left unhealed, however, in her hardest of hearts, she is unfaltered and real in her feelings. She has grown up and is not afraid to show it. A stunning turn from this young actress.Stephanie Gularte directs with the finest of fortitude and the smoothest of hands. Her first foray back into the rehearsal room since pre-Covid has deemed a masterpiece. The moments between Torvald and Nora are as visceral and painstakingly real as our own relationships. At times I wish there were mirrors around to show us what our true reactions were to the events playing out. Its a searing and hard-hitting look into gender- roles and what defines relationships and societys driven by a dominating worldview. The ache I felt in the distance between the two when they seemed miles apart from each other, in a space mere feet from one another was unmatched. With mouth agape I couldn't help but self-actualize my own reality. I felt like a fly on the wall in certain moments, and for me, the aching pull, the uncertainty of the future kept me on the edge of my seat. Brava to the company and the Director for creating such a visceral and endearing performance, that is still affecting me even the next day.
Tony-nominated playwright Lucas Hnath will debut his latest play as part of the 2018-2019 season of Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group. Titled From the Words and Writings of Dana H. and based on a real-life experience of Hnath's own mother, the play will begin performances at CTG's Kirk Douglas Theatre on May 26, 2019 with an opening slated for June 2. Les Waters will direct the production, scheduled to play a limited run through June 23.Adapted from interviews conducted by Steve Cosson with Hnath's mother, Dana Higginbotham, From the Words and Writings of Dana H. centers on a nondenominational hospice chaplain who helps a mentally ill ex-convict turn his life around and suddenly finds her own life hanging in the balance. From the Words and Writings of Dana H. was originally commissioned by theater troupe The Civilians (where Cosson is the artistic director) and Chicago's Goodman Theatre, where it will appear as part of the company's 2019-2020 season.Hnath earned a Tony nomination and much acclaim for his Broadway-debut play A Doll's House, Part 2. He won a pair of Obie Awards for the off-Broadway premieres of his plays Red Speedo and The Christians. His other works include Death Tax, Hillary and Clinton, Isaac's Eye and A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney.In addition to From the Words and Writings of Dana H., CTG's 2018-2019 season at the Kirk Douglas Theatre will include the previously announced transfer of Jocelyn Bioh's School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (September 2-30, 2018), Eliza Clark's world premiere play Quack (October 21-November 18, 2018) and Block Party: Celebrating Los Angeles Theatre (March 7-April 28, 2019).CTG's slate of works at the Mark Taper Forum will include Lynn Nottage's Sweat (August 29-October 7, 2018), Luis Valdez's Valley of the Heart (October 30-December 9, 2018), Tracy Letts' Linda Vista (January 9-February 17, 2019), Ruben Santiago-Hudson's solo play Lackawanna Blues (March 5-April 21, 2019) and Samuel Beckett's Happy Days (May 15-June 30, 2019).CTG will also present two weekend-long productions: Gob Squad's Creation (Pictures for Dorian) (October 18-21, 2018) at Redcat/DTLA and Joan Didion's The White Album (April 5-7, 2019) at UCLA's Freud Playhouse.
As an architect, it is always a challenge to put myself into the mind of my clients. Even though, I like to think of myself as broad generalist - not specializing in one particular type of architecture - my favorite kind of work is residential design. I really love the scale and details, but I most enjoy helping others live a more concerted life.
During the Pre-Design phase, I ask a lot of questions and get to know the owner. I also conduct the background research into an particular kind/type of construction that may be unique to the project. For this particular home, I learned that shipping container homes drift slightly from the intent of most ultra-modern architecture. Beyond the simplicity of style, shipping container architecture packs itself into a form meant to carry goods across the ocean. This strikes me as a cross between adaptive reuse and modular construction, while at a small scale.
I began to wonder how were were going to integrate this new kind of home into an everyday, local neighborhood. How do you make it fit aesthetically? Would the city permitting department even allow it as a dwelling? I made a quick call. Beyond that I wondered how do you insulate, or install doors and windows? There were lots of good questions at first, but we needed to figure out a conceptual site arrangement.