BWW Reviews: World Premiere of Comic Noir DAY TRADER Proves Money is the Only Excuse for Giving Away Your Soul
It's quite a treat to experience watching a playwright perform in his own work. While at first I was disappointed to be seeing an understudy in the main role, when it turned out it was the playwright Eric Rudnick playing the lead in his own play DAY TRADER at the Bootleg Theatre in Los Angeles on January 18, I was thrilled to be in the audience. I had never heard of the Bootleg Theatre before, and I can tell you my first visit there will definitely not be my last. The space is a mixture of theater and night club, and quite a hot spot near the corner of Beverly and Alvarado, just west of downtown LA.
Notorious for their original and boundary-defying projects, Bootleg Theater teamed up with Small American Productions to launch the World Premiere of Eric Rudnick's DAY TRADER at 7pm on Thursdays-Saturdays, and 2pm Sundays though February 16, 2014. On the night I saw it, the stellar cast included Eric Rudnick (in for Danton Stone), Brighid Fleming, Tim Meinelschmidt, and Murielle Zuker.
Another character in the show is the innovative staging featuring multimedia broadcasts and light shows as well as moveable set pieces placed with the precision of a ballet dance by Kokens Madison-Margaret Huckaby, Victoria Hannath, Dianna Aguilar, and Tymica Spiller with voiceover announcements by Mo Gaffney and drum accompanist Josh Imlay. Brilliantly directed by Steven Williford, these scene breaks become a moving in unison show unto themselves which include actors changing costumes as well as the transformation of the open stage area into several different locales both indoors and outdoors with the addition of movable set pieces.
The play centers on Ron (Eric Rudnick), a Los Angeles-based comedy writer in a career freefall who truly believes he deserves more from life. Thus he sets out to write his own Hollywood happy ending by manipulating the truth so that his wife will divorce him. Evidently she was a smart cookie who had her husband sign a pre-nup in which he will get nothing if he leaves her, but gets half if she divorces him. But even smart cookies can lose their dough to a skillful manipulator studying day trading stocks. Especially one who will sell his soul for the almighty dollar.
Truth proves stranger than fiction as he implicates his daughter Juliana (the luminous Bridhid Fleming), his best friend Phil (Tim Meinelschmidt), and a bewitching young woman named Bridget (Murielle Zuker) to get what he thinks he's got coming financially. Seduction, suspicion, and suspense become intertwined in a twisted tale of comic noir that leaves no one unscathed. With so many twists and turns, you will definitely be surprised at who comes out on top at the end thanks to the top notch cast and innovative staging.
Playwright Eric Rudnick shares, "There is a level of denial in Los Angeles that feeds on itself. Everyone knows a career in Hollywood is a gamble, and this play asks if people can ever come to grips with the fact that a large part of gambling is losing."
DAY TRADER continues at 7pm Thursdays-Saturdays, and 2pm Sundays though February 16, 2014. The Bootleg Theater is located at 2220 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90057. Tickets are $25. For more information call 213-389-3856 or http://www.bootlegtheater.org
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The Bootleg Theater is a year-round inclusive art space for original, boundary-defying live theater and performance born from the diverse cultural and artistic landscape of Los Angeles. Bootleg supports and collaborates with the best of established and emerging theater artists to create daring multidisciplinary live experiences that are striking, contemporary and non-traditional.
Follow Bootleg Theater on Twitter: @BOOTLEGTheater