BWW Reviews: Late Night World Premiere LONE-ANON Is Not Just for Loners!
Are you feeling alone and lonely on a Friday or Saturday night at 10:30pm? Fear not - you are always welcome at LONE-ANON, a friendly, positive, court-ordered support group where forming a connection with other people is not only encouraged, it's mandatory. Just head over to Rogue Machine and be part of the wackiness!
Written by Neil McGowan, directed by Keith Stevenson, and produced by John Perrin Flynn and Jennifer Pollono, the LONE-ANON cast features Brenda Davidson (Franny, the shy librarian in blue glasses), Brian Letscher (Lincoln, the good-looking compulsive liar), Neil McGowan (the playwright as Dabney, the plaid-clad nerd), Melissa Paladino (Senise, the most normal person in the group, even if she does own multiple cats), Keith Stevenson (the director as Mike, the Birkenstock and pony-tailed leader of LONE-ANON who really needs the most help himself), and Tyson Turrou (Tanner, the man in camouflage seemingly pushed to The Edge of violence).
LONE-ANON started out as a workshop production at Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice before moving into the Rogue Machine Theatre on October 25, 2013, sharing the set of LOST GIRLS. The scenic design by David Mauer features a rundown meeting room with mismatched donated chairs, an old couch and window blinds that are falling apart, letting you know right from the start that this group of loners has sought out the most lowly of places to try and get over their fear of being with people.
Like so many of us today, this group is most comfortable being with their cell phone rather than people, reaching for them as soon as the group leader leaves the room. It reminded me of so many social settings these days where there is a room full of people and yet everyone of them is on their cell phone texting away rather than talking to each other. A world full of loners indeed!
There are a lot of hilarious moments in the production, especially the "Meeting People is Easy" improv game in which Mike, the group leader, attempts to get the loners to communicate with each other by speaking to each other as someone other than themselves. Keith Stevenson commands the stage as he takes over the lesson on his own, acting out all the characters all the while working himself into an emotional whirlwind while trying to prove that Lone-Anon is a safe place for trying to keep people from being anti-social.
Each of the actors is given their moment to shine, leading to the removal of their court-ordered tracking device and "graduating" from Lone-Anon after proving they have overcome their fear and have the ability to communicate honestly with other people. As Brenda Davidson states in her program bio, "This play highlights one of the rules to live by - the last person you should be afraid of is yourself." Words to live by - so put your cell phone down and say something nice to the person next to you!
The World Premiere of LONE-ANON at Rogue Machine Theatre, located at 5041 Pico Blvd., LA, CA 90019. Performances at 10:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights through December 14, 2013. Tickets are $25. Box Office reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com