Now that the Oscar's are over, it may not be as easy to decipher what's hot in Los Angeles entertainment. But two award-winning theatre companies have found high temperature solutions; singular productions (the lower-case name is correct) presents Nell Dunn's Steaming, and Buffalo Nights lights up Max Frisch's The Firebugs.
Steaming, now in previews at the Ivy Substation in Culver City, officially opens April 5 and runs through May 24. singular productions, an eight-year-old company now in its fourth season at the Substation, dubs itself "Culver City's resident professional theatre company."
Steaming reveals several women from all levels of London society in the 1980s, who seek company, solace and refuge from their hectic lives in the damp city at the Turkish bathhouse. Together they bare their souls (and a little more), and find strength in the stark, sometimes painful truth.
Steaming is directed by award-winning director Mark Bringelson, who says " What surprises me is how little has changed for women in the 15 years since this play was written. . .The same issues of economics, relationships, and having to struggle within the power-structure, remain crucial. It was and still is a man's world."
Steaming stars Pat Destro, who received the 1995 Los Angeles Drama Critics' Award for her performance in Dylan as Josie, a sacrcastic and shrewd dancer in debt. Judith Ivey received the 1982 Tony Award for her portrayal of the character in the Broadway production. The set includes a 15-foot swimming pool, in which the press release for the show assures that the actors will swim.
On April 4, singular productions will host its traditional Actor's Night production, where actors attend for free. The company has done this for several of its past productions, hoping that "other theatres throughout the Los Angeles area will follow suit, giving actors the opportunity to meet and network in a safe, non-competitive environment, and also see first hand what's happening on stages around town.
Six years ago, a herd of actors, mostly graduates from UCLA, converged into a critically acclaimed theatre company known as Buffalo Nights, whose production of Max Frisch's The Firebugs opens March 28 at the Powerhouse Theatre. The production is translated by Michael Bullock, and runs through May 4.
The story reflects humanity's severe affinity for denial, when two arsonists con a wealthy businessman into lending them his attic to store their supplies. Even after they have burnt down half the town, the businessmen treats the criminals with hospitality, creating an absurdly funny though troubling situation.
Firebugs is directed by Chris Beach--a non-company member who worked with several Buffalo folk when they were at UCLA . Company members generally make their living in film and television, some do national tours of major shows. Their goal is "to bring intimate, high quality theatrical productions to Los Angeles, and provide audiences a theatrical journey inspiring new perspectives."
For tickets to Firebugs at the Powerhouse or more information about Buffalo Nights Theatre Company, please call (213) 658-4040.
For tickets to Steaming or more information about singular productions at the Ivy Substation, please call (310) 558-1555.
--By Blair Glaser