Monday, February 28, 2011

Theatre Recommendations For Parents' Nights Out-2 by Neveu

These are the final days to catch The Earl & Odradek by Brett Neveu playing at The Red Orchid and The House (Chopin) respectively.   We've mentioned both productions a number of times before, but if you like your live theatre bloody, these two shows are for you.   Both are keeping Ben Nye stage blood in the black, with their macabre, nightly splatter painting on stage.   Both are highly recommended by ChiIL Mama and a host of others.

Check out the theatres' websites for show times and ticket information.   The Inconvenience presents The Earl at Red Orchid through this Wednesday, so you only have 3 chances left to catch this show.   Odradek must close March 5th, and is playing Thursdays through Saturdays at The House

For ChiIL Mama's interview with playwright, Brett Neveu and his LA punk band, The Noses and friends, click HERE.

For ChiIL Mama's review of Odradek, click HERE.

I finally had a chance to see The Earl last night and loved it.   I've seen my share of stage combat, but this fast paced dance, complete with tire iron beatings, darts, coffee in the face, and copious amounts of blood, was amazing, just for the sheer fact that none of the blood was real.    As all 3 brothers took turns slamming a rolling chair into each other, threw punches, and flailed away at each other with a tire iron, the fact no one got seriously injured in real time, is a testament to the skill of the major players.   

I thought the psychological elements and the rules made and broken were just as intriguing as the intense physical play between the brothers and later, The Earl.   The actors had a compelling give and take of power between the pain, and the polite small talk became hilarious, within the context of the brutality.  

This show is obviously not for children, unless your offspring are of the much older variety.   But the exploration of family traditions, sibling violence for fun, and the sick creativity of the game are edgy and fun.   Watching The Earl is like rubbernecking at a nasty car accident.   You may cringe a little, and suck in your breath with a sharp gasp, but it's hard to look away.

The choreography was believable and impeccably executed in this fraternal Fight Club.   It was like watching The 3 Stooges on speed.   Dialogue is terse, but all the more powerful for it's brevity.   I loved the twist that these guys are brothers (and The Earl is the LA boss of one of the brothers, a respectable, well dressed, older gentleman from the B movie industry).   None of them are enemies, rival soldiers, or likely targets for victims of brutal beatings.   The laughter far outweighs the outcries and moans, and it's apparent that all the brothers are enjoying their brutal game, despite the physical toll.

I do know someone in real life, with a number of brothers, who played hospital trip inducing games with each other growing up.   Most of theirs were Jackass style dares and tricks gone wrong, but they pummeled each other for entertainment, too.   They broke bones and required stitches so many times, their mother learned how to sew the brothers up at home, with a needle and thread, to save the cost of another emergency room visit.

Even my mellow, pacifist husband had his share of bloody boy bonding growing up.   He broke his leg when a kid dropped in on top of his motorbike with their own, in a poorly timed jump.   And he has a dimple on one cheek from being shot in the face with an arrow by a childhood playmate.   So I found the premise of The Earl to be within the realm of believable.

Thankfully, all of my own friend and family induced violence was fictional.   I took stage combat classes in college, along with fencing and other movement and theatre classes.   But, even knowing a few of the tricks of the trade just gave me even more respect for what the cast of The Earl has accomplished.   This is a compelling bloodbath of bets and brotherly bonding that's not for the squeamish, but something to see.

*Note-you may get bloody yourself if you choose to sit in the front row (though, rumor is-unlike Lady Macbeth's bloody problem-this splatter washes out).   All tickets are open seating.   Also note, this show may be addictive.   Several audience members there last night were repeat customers.

Check out the final days of The Earl before it's gone.

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