Wall Doesn’t Build to anything Revelatory

By Patrick Hurley

Agitprop, in its contemporary state, is a highly politicized work of art, a work that is meant to provoke and incite an audience to action of some kind—Brecht is perhaps the most notable agitprop artist of the last hundred years.  Robert Schenkkan’s new play Building The Wall, playing now at the Fountain Theatre, is on the agitprop trajectory, as well as the speculative fiction and naturalism spectrums, it’s a two-hander about the implications of Trump’s presidency as it relates to our immigration issues, which of course infers racist accusations and totalitarian admonitions, resulting, very much in an expository fantasy, or nightmare, complete with stark parallels to the holocaust, and a sense of preposterousness that feels a little obstreperous and didactic.   Continue reading “Wall Doesn’t Build to anything Revelatory”


Raunchy Absinthe Is Intoxicating

By Patrick Hurley

Doubling as a sort of cracked out version of Cirque Du Soleil, Absinthe, playing now on the event deck at L.A. Live, is equal parts acrobatic and acerbic. Continue reading “Raunchy Absinthe Is Intoxicating”

Orange Proves Bittersweet

By Patrick Hurley

An exploration of self, as told through the eyes of an unexpected narrator, Orange, playing now at South Coast Repertory, is a theatrically infused mix of bildungsroman and Young Adult fiction. Following a sort of hero’s journey, with a less than traditional hero, it sticks to an identifiable catharsis down a theatrically familiar road that we travel briskly as the play confronts the questions of maturation, identity and connection all while sticking to a familiar Aristotelian narrative that blends elements of theatricality and grounded realism into a brief and wistful theatrical experience.  Continue reading “Orange Proves Bittersweet”

Edward Albee’s Zoo is Still a Great Story.

By Patrick Hurley

Deaf West Theatre is presenting Edward Albee’s at Home at the Zoo at the Wallis Annenberg, now through March 26, and the amalgamation of Deaf West’s duality in casting combined with Albee’s masterful focus on language creates a disparity with more returns than diminishes. The play, which consists of two of Albee’s short plays, The Zoo Story, written in 1958, and Homelife, it’s prequel, written in 2004, deals with themes of isolation, dissatisfaction, and the essential loneliness of being human, a bittersweet and ultimately tragic journey, as seen through the eyes of an everyman who is being confronted by an unsatisfied wife and a volatile stranger, both of whom challenge his routine, thwart his sense of stasis, and alter his entire universe through Albee’s bleak, often hilarious, but always effective language. Continue reading “Edward Albee’s Zoo is Still a Great Story.”

Fun Home Is Pure Storytelling Gold

By Patrick Hurley

Dancing on the line between nostalgia and tragedy, Fun Home, playing now at the Ahmanson Theatre, is a testament to the raw power of storytelling. It is a sturdily illustrated expression of the intrinsically universal language of theatrical narrative, executed through a blend of lofty production design and redolent lyricism that will resonate with most audiences because it aspires toward a deeper understanding of something utterly human, empathic, and meritoriously authentic, all through the gifted prose, and astute composition of masterful storytellers. Continue reading “Fun Home Is Pure Storytelling Gold”

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