BWW Review: MISS LILLY GETS BONED at Rogue Machine Theatre
Rarely is there a production of such high quality within such a small space, where all elements (cast, artistic, script, direction) gel-together so well that they form an incredible evening of theatre. Such a rare event is that of Rogue Machine's West Coast premier of Bekah Brunstetter's "Miss Lilly Gets Boned" directed by Robin Larsen.
While a captive elephant grows ever more anxious in chains, a virginal Sunday school teacher (played by the quirky, adorable, yet surprisingly homicidal performance of Larisa Oleynik) takes a big chance, by opening her heart to the dangers of love.
This is a true ensemble performance but it is Oleynik who is the life and breath of the show (as well as the title character who gets "boned"). Her character is the glue that holds the production together...that is if this production needed glue to hold it together. Which it does not. All performances are equally as strong.
This reviewer felt that each subplot could stand successfully as its own one act play (Hint,hint Bekah Brunstetter).
Kavi Ladnier as Dr Vandalla heads up one of the subplots. Ladnier is a master in transforming (what could have been simply a series of monologues with an elephant puppet, in another actor's hands) into a multi-layered experience of interactive scene work to which you look forward each and every time.
Tasha Ames as Lilly's flawed sister, Lara, and Iman Nazemzadeh as Lilly's pseudo-suitor, Richard, are two actors who command the stage. Ames with her energy and pathos, Nazemzadeh with his magnetism and presence.
Brady Amaya (as Richard's son, Jordan) holds his own (like the pro he is) within this group of seasoned industry professionals. His emotion is right on the surface and it pours out effortlessly during an intimate scene with Oleynik. Another beautifully unique scene (possibly even made more so with a tad more dream-like lights and fog) was with Amaya and the human-form of Harold the elephant, touchingly portrayed by Justice Quinn.
And, speaking of the (literal) elephant in the room...bravi to puppeteers Rachael Caselli, Amir Levi, Justice Quinn, Puppet Designer Sean Cawelti, Puppet Coach Julia Garcia Combs, director Robin Larsen, writer Bekah Brunsetter, and actor Kavi Ladnier for creating some of the most fully-realized, 3-dimensional, politically activated scenes...and with a puppet. With the execution of each and every movement within the scene, one forgot that there were 3 actors maneuvering this puppet but rather it became a scene partner to Ladnier's skilled work.
Kudos to the design and technical elements, as well. They were all top notch. From Scenic Design by Stephanie Kerley Schwartz, to Lighting Design by Martha Carter. From Scenic Artististry by Kis Knekt to Costume Design by Jocelyn Hublau Parker. Bravi to all involved.
"Miss Lilly Gets Boned" opens at 8pm on September 21st and runs Fridays 9/27, 10/4, 10/11, 10/19, 10/25 at 8pm, Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm, Mondays at 8pm, through October 28, 2019 (except the Saturday 9/28 performance will be a 2pm matinee, and no performance on Sunday 9/29). Rogue Machine (in the Electric Lodge), 1416 Electric Ave, Venice, CA 90291. Tickets: $40, student discounts $25; $10 on 9/16, 9/27; $20 on 10/4, 10/11. Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at http://www.roguemachinetheatre.com.
There are, however, some of the subject matter that may not be suitable for younger audiences. Parents are cautioned.