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An epic production of Murray Mednick’s six-play series about the odyssey of the playwright’s everyman/anti-hero, unemployed actor Gary Bean, in the years following the random murder of his son. Presented by Open Fist Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre, the six plays can be viewed in three parts over the course of three evenings, or in their entirety every Sunday during the run.
Fans of seminal playwright and Padua Hills Playwrights Festival founder Murray Mednick are in for a treat: Open Fist Theatre Company presents Mednick’s entire “The Gary Plays” series in one epic production running April 27 through June 4 at Atwater Village Theatre. Longtime Mednick collaborator Guy Zimmerman directs.
Originated by Padua Playwrights and developed in workshops over a two-year period by Open Fist, “The Gary Plays” chronicles the odyssey of unemployed actor Gary Bean in the years following the random murder of his son. As he tries to come to terms with his loss, Gary is accompanied by a chorus of inner voices, refracted aspects of his psyche, which gives voice to the various characters he encounters and articulates his grief, fears and aspirations. Taken as a whole, the six-play series portrays economic and spiritual distress in the contemporary urban wilderness of Los Angeles. An everyman/anti-hero, Gary was hailed by KCRW as “a sort of L.A. Leopold Bloom.”
“What I find so unique is that each of the plays is its own experiment in theatrical form,” says Zimmerman. “Each features the same characters and is part of the same story, yet is formally distinct in terms of style.”
“For me, these plays articulate the confusion we’ve been feeling as a city and as a society,” says Open Fist artistic director Martha Demson. “The avant garde ensemble work required to present these remarkably vibrant and compelling plays as a single marathon event is exactly the kind of work we strive to do at the Fist.”
Jeff LeBeau, Kelly Van Kirk and Darrell Larson share the role of Gary over the course of the narrative. The ensemble also features Peggy Ann Blow, Sandra Kate Burck, Phillip Curry, Carl J. Johnson, Elizabeth Lande, Laura Liguori, Derek Manson, Roderick Menzies, Laura Richardson, Barbara Schofield, Josh Trant, Amanda Weier and Norbert Weisser.
“As Murray Mednick experiments with language… he is emblematic of a Los Angeles dramatic tradition in much the same way that Clifford Odets is identifiable with Gotham or David Mamet with Chicago,” wrote Bob Verini in Variety.
Open Fist audiences can choose to follow Gary’s journey over the course of three separate evenings — or view all six plays on a single Sunday. Part 1 consists of Tirade for Three and Girl on a Bed. Part 2 is comprised of Gary’s Walk and Out of the Blue. Part 3 includes DaddyO Dies Well and Charles’ Story. Although The Gary Plays was initially published as an octet, workshops revealed that two of the plays remain outside the narrative arc of Gary’s journey and it was decided to not include those in this production.
Murray Mednick, a pioneer of the off- and off-off-Broadway movements in the ‘60s and ‘70s and playwright-in-residence for Theater Genesis, wrote such ground-breaking works as The Hawk, The Hunter, Sand, Are You Lookin’ and The Deer Kill (1970 OBIE Award for Outstanding Play), and was the founder/artistic director of the Padua Hills Playwrights Workshop/Festival in Los Angeles from 1978 to 1995. He is the recipient of two Rockefeller Foundation grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Theatre Critics Association Best New Play citation (for Joe and Betty), a Career Achievement Award from the LA Weekly, an Ovation Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to Los Angeles Theater from the L.A. Stage Alliance, a Local Hero Award from Back Stage West, and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence in Theater.
The Gary Plays runs May 4 through June 4 with performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 12 p.m. 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Preview performances take place April 26 through April 30 on the same schedule.
Part 1 (Tirade for Three, Girl on a Bed), Part 2 (Gary’s Walk, Out of the Blue) and Part 3 (DaddyO Dies Well, Charles’ Story) perform on a rotating basis on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with all three parts performed on Sundays. Go to www.openfist.org to view a complete schedule. Tickets are $30 for each two-play part, or $50 for a series pass (all three parts/six plays). Previews (April 27 through April 30) are $15 for each two-play part or $30 all three parts.
Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call (323) 882-6912 or go to www.openfist.org.
Presenter / Producer: Open Fist Theatre
Theater > Drama
Event Phone: 323--882- x6912
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90039
LA - Central / Downtown
Performance Dates: 4/28/2017 - 6/4/2017
Thurs., Fri., Sat. at 8:00 pm Sun. at 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 7:00 pm (6 plays over three nights or all day Sunday)
Each two-part play $30 Series pass (all 3 parts/6 plays) $50 Previews $15 each 2-play part or $30 all three parts
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