Friday, August 15, 2008

See This

UPDATE: My family and I saw this show on Saturday, August 23, and had a grand ol' time—we even spotted Actor's Gang director Tim Robbins was spotted after the show!

When I attended UCLA in the early '80s, there was a real confluence of talent in the theatre arts program. Since then many of the actors who I saw in theatre productions there have found varying level success in Hollywood. These include performers like screenwriter/director Shane Black (creator of the Lethal Weapon movie franchise), charactor actor Lee Arenberg, and actor Jack Black. Given this deep pool of talent, I developed a real appreciation for live theatre when I was at UCLA.

Also among this group was actor/director/producer Tim Robbins who, after UCLA, went on to found the Actor's Gang theatre group, many of whose productions I have seen over the years. Several years ago, the group moved to a new facility local to me in Culver City, so it's been a treat to rediscover them. (Recent productions I've seen are "Gulliver's Travels" and "Klub," the latter of which I saw when it was originally mounted back in 1992.) I've been impressed by how active they are in the local community, particularly in reaching out to youth through shows and acting campus.

One of their regular activities in this area has been free summer productions they mount for families and children. I saw last year's production, "Titus the Clownicus," a comedic adaptation of one of the bloodiest of Shakespeare's blood plays, "Titus Andronicus." It was hilarious, and like most Actor's Gang productions, edgy, with plenty of layers of comedy to entertain both children and adults.

This year's production is "King O'Leary," an adaptation of "King Lear," set during the days of California's Gold Rush. The show runs Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m., August 9 – 31, on the front lawn of the Actor's Gang home at the historic Ivy Substation in Culver City. (The address and directions can be found here.)

Below is a promotional video from last year's "Titus the Clownicus."

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