The West Coast premiere of Beth Henley's Hollywood story, Signature, ends Oct. 29 in a production by Los Angeles' Naked Angels Theatre Company. Performances of the play, set in 2052 Los Angeles, began Oct. 7.
L.A. and San Francisco Drama Critics' Circle Award winner and Olivier nominee Susan Barnes (Women Behind Bars, Still Life) leads the cast as the reader. Joining her are Josh Johnson II ("Gepetto") as C-Boy, Terran Bennett Smith (Runaways) as L-Tip, Ed Trotta (Equus, Godspell, Hair) as Boswell T-Thorpe, Elaine Tse (The Joy Luck Club) as William Smit, and Naked Angels company member Gareth Williams (Hurrah at Last!) as Maxwell T-Thorp.
Set in 2052's Hollywood, Signature pictures a bleak, chaotic society where everyone in Hollywood is concerned only with obtaining his 15 minutes of fame. As every breakup is analyzed through the "Springer cult," a black ooze is eating the enviornment and a plague is destroying the young. Characters of the play attempt to rise above it all. This production attempts to create life in that future using modern technologies, from projection screens and virtual sets to electronically-altered images.
Henley won the Pulitzer Prize and the Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play for Crimes of the Heart. Other plays from this modern voice of Southern playwriting are The Miss Firecracker Contest, The Lucky Spot, Abundance, L-Play and Impossible Marriage. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her screenplay of Crimes of the Heart.
Drama-Logue winner Veronica Brady (the Sean Penn-produced Remembrance) directs. Brady is no stranger to Naked Angels, where she helmed Gunplay, nor to Henley, whose L-Play and Impossible Marriage she also directed. Designing the show are Lolly Gallup (sets), Simon Miles (lighting) and Chuck Olsen (props). Planet Grande Pictures and Design Magic will create the digital and projection effects.
Tickets are $25-$20. The Actor's Gang Theater is located at 6209 Santa Monica Boulevard. For reservations, call (323) 938-8235.
-- By Christine Ehren