The Gary Plays were born out of playwright Murray Mednick and his Padua Playwrights festival. Over a two-year period of workshops, Open Fist Theatre Company further developed the series into the collection that it is today. The six-play series, under the direction of Guy Zimmerman, will be presented at Los Angeles' Atwater Village Theatre from May 4 through June 4.
The Gary Plays follows everyman and unemployed actor Gary Bean in the years following the random murder of his son. Gary spends the duration of the plays trying to cope with his loss. On his journey, he is joined by a chorus of voices who represent different aspects of his now fractured and fragile psyche. Each play can be viewed individually, but taken together, they paint the picture of a contemporary Los Angeles and its economic and spiritual struggles.
“For me, these plays articulate the confusion we’ve been feeling as a city and as a society,” says Open Fist Artistic Director Martha Demson. “The avant-garde ensemble work required to present these remarkably vibrant and compelling plays as a single marathon event is exactly the kind of work we strive to do at the Fist.”
The series will star Jeff Lebeau, Kelly Van Kirk, and Darrell Larson as Gary during the run of the cycle. The production also features an ensemble of Peggy Ann Blow, Sandra Kate Burck, Phillip Curry, Carl J. Johnson, Elizabeth Lande,Laura Liguori, Derek Manson, Roderick Menzies, Laura Richardson, Barbara Schofield, Josh Trant, Amanda Weier, and Norbert Weisser.
Director Guy Zimmerman said of The Gary Plays: “What I find so unique is that each of the plays is its own experiment in theatrical form. Each features the same characters and is part of the same story, yet is formally distinct in terms of style.”
The plays are being produced in two different formats for audiences; Open Fist is presenting them in three two-part installments throughout the run. However, the entire cycle can be viewed all at once every Sunday. Part one contains Tirade for Three and Girl on a Bed, part two contains Gary’s Walk and Out of the Blue, and part three ends with DaddyO Dies Well and Charles’ Story. The Gary Plays were originally written as an eight-part series, though two plays are being omitted as they occur outside the main arc of Gary’s Journey.
For more information about Open Fist and The Gary Plays, visit OpenFist.org.