BWW Review: 2Cents's Acting Out INK FEST Celebrates Art and the Female Playwright
2Cents's Acting Out INK Fest is back for its 3rd exciting year, organized by its Founding President and Artistic Director Kristin Boulé. The Fest is being held for 3 days this weekend at the Hudson Theatres in Hollywood, right in the heart of Theatre Row and the LA 99-seat community. INK FEST 2016 features fully produced 1-act plays, ranging from 10-60 minutes, organized in themed-groups, featuring over 100 artists from playwrights to directors to actors and street artists celebrating the FEMALE PLAYWRIGHT and ART. A total of 21 plays by 19 female playwrights are being presented, with 19 directors and 49 actors. What's more, the festival will flood not just the theatre, but also the street & the Hudson Cafe, serving wine & beer all weekend long, with special events scattered throughout.
2Cents is a young non-profit theater company in Hollywood, fiscally partnered with Los Angeles Women's Theatre Project. The wonderful women of LAWTP inspired this venture to begin in 2014, with their dedication to the often overlooked female playwright. Several months are spent each fall reading plays submitted by women, reaching a selection of around 20 beautiful works, all unique and varied in subject, theme, characters, everything. Each year, their collection of INK plays means to represent the female artist as versatile, unpredictable, and ultimately undefinable.
The plays presented in this year's INK FEST are divided into plot-themed groups, the 3-play group I saw being entitled "How to Make Your Exit" (includes "The Road to Paradise", "Dynamite and Sassy Pants", "The Post Office") in which the characters are all on the verge of death and need to make quick decisions on how to live their last days on Earth. All of the plays are heartwarming and emotionally touching, well directed and acted by those who thoroughly understand what the characters' lives are all about while keeping their inspirational decisions both light, funny and truly inspiring.
THE ROAD TO PARADISE by Caroline Marshall and directed by Dennis Gersten centers on terminally-ill Clint (Aaron Lyons) who is confined to a hospital bed, cared for by an all-business Nurse (Deborah Cresswell). When his girlfriend Jana (the always lovely Christine Joelle) pays a visit, Clint tries to convince her to take him on a road trip to Las Vegas so they can get married by an Elvis impersonator. Sounds silly, but under the skillful care by all concerned, the 1-act shines from the giggly laughter of Joelle to the real fear you can hear in Lyons' voice as he begs to be taken on what might be his last sexy hurrah.
DYNAMITE AND SASSY PANTS by Laurie Allen and directed by Kristen Boulé centers of twospunky residents sitting outside the Loving Arms Nursing Home, who meet and fall in love, leading them to decide to run away together to experience the best of the rest of their lives together. Actors Robert Towers and Eve Sigall allow us to see the spiritual re-awakening of frank and Ruby who occupy and maneuver their wheelchairs for almost the entire play until they dance off into the moonlight together. Their brilliant performances will touch your heart, letting you see that life is never over as long as you believe there is always a chance to find love and new adventures.
THE POST OFFICE by Natalie Camunas and directed by Jeremy Aluma features Jennifer Ashe as Victoria and Donathan Walters as Sam, two frightened and lonely people living out the last two hours of their lives as an asteroid hurtles towards Earth. They meet in a Post Office as Victoria is reading through letters and cards that will never reach their destinations, celebrating the love written onto each slip of paper or card. Sam walks in and soon convinces her to go outdoors with him to experience nature for a long as they can. Seated on a park bench, they share their fears, regrets, and celebrate the joy of music to take their minds off what is going on around them. Brilliant flashes of light accompanied by terribly loud booms remind us the end is near, but these two celebrate not having to experience the terror alone, accepting they may not know what is next but that they will surly meet again on the other side.
These 3 plays focusing on "How to Make Your Exit" will be presented once more on Sunday, April 17 at 6:00pm. Many others plays are being presented throughout the weekend and I encourage you to put aside your concerns (especially getting your taxes done by Monday) and get over to the Hudson Theatres in Hollywood to celebrate what makes theatre such a vital part of our world.
For a complete Acting Out INK Fest schedule, visit http://2centstheatre.wix.com/kboulepictures#!ink-fest or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/488004014728685/