A 1914 allegory by Leonid Andreyev, He Who Gets Slapped, is being performed through Dec. 13 at Singular Productions in Culver City, CA.
The evening begins with a pre-curtain "clown show" that belies the darkness of things to come. The play itself takes place behind the scenes at a European circus, where the status quo is challenged with the arrival of a mysterious man known only as "He" -- whose act consists of absorbing blows from sundry attackers as onlookers howl with laughter.
Andreyev, whose plays expressed the deterioration and harshness of Russian life, fell out of favor shortly after the 1917 revolution and died two years later, at the age of 48.
The cast includes Bryan Rasmussen, Gail Godown, Pascal Marcotte, Melissa Simon, Alden Millikan, Patrick McGowan, Michael David Edwards, and Todd Merrill.
The director is Yuri Belov, whose diverse credits run the gamut from the Moscow Art Theatre to the Ringling Bros. Circus. The play has been adapted by Belov and McGowan, with an English translation by Belov.
He Who Gets Slapped is being performed through Dec. 13 at the Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City, CA. For tickets, call (310) 287-3850.
-- By Rebecca Paller