BWW Reviews: REBORNING Stuns in Its Brilliant Execution of Its Strange, Unsettling Subject

By: Feb. 01, 2015

Reborning/written by Zayd Dohrn/directed by Simon Levy/The Fountain Theatre/thru March 15, 2015

Playwright Zayd Dohrn dazzlingly attacks, dissects and vividly presents the unusual concept of reborn dolls in the Fountain Theatre's powerfully, intriguing Los Angeles premiere of his Reborning. Simon Levy firmly directs his very talented cast of three in navigating this eerie, but involving story of a doll maker/sculptor Kelly; her lover Daizy, a sculptor of other objects; and her over demanding client Emily. Kelly has the artistry for recreating baby dolls in the likeness of whatever still photos are given to her. The reasons for purchasing these reborn dolls range from simple collectibles to memorializing real babies gone. Emily's exacting specifications for her doll named Eva brings up a variety of deep-seated issues for both the customer and its creator.

Reborning opens with Kelly at her workbench sculpting Eva with a large screen centerstage showing a prerecorded tape of Kelly sewing on Eva's eyebrows. Or is this a live cam shot? Matt Schleicher's innovative and ingenuous use of combining live cam video of the very realistic Eva doll (created by Amy Karich) with prerecorded videos of actual human babies achieve their maximum intended effect. Brilliant! And as always in a Fountain Theatre production, set designs detailed and totally appropriate. This time credit goes to set designer Jeff McLaughlin and set dresser Misty Carlisle.

Dohrn's in-your-face, razor-sharp, witty script receives expert delivery by its spot-on cast. Joanna Strapp inhabits her Kelly, a total emotional mess of a person, almost succeeding at keeping it all together. Strapp makes it very easy to empathize with Kelly's pain, her obsession, her confusion. Kristin Carey impecably plays her Emily as a not-quite-all-there, successful lawyer. Though Emily states, she's not one to send back a steak that's not cooked to her order; she refuses to except Eva as Kelly has completed. Emily wants Eva even more lifelike, and she's willing to pay more for it. Kelly has done what she herself considers her best work on Eva, but tries to appease her most exacting customer.

Ryan Doucette possesses the optimum combination of comic levity and serious truthfulness as Daizy, Kelly's lover and actual sculpting teacher. (Very credible chemistry between Doucette and Strapp!) Ironic, that Daizy's specialty jump started Kelly in hers. Kelly learn to master the veins and skin textures for her realistic dolls from working on Daizy's realistically human dildos. (BTW, if you're one to be offended by dildos, this show will not be for you.)

In the process of making Eva even more lifelike, Kelly becomes emotionally attached to her creation, something she's never apparently done before. All the riveting actions ensuing somehow make sense in this disturbing, extremely thought-provoking 75-minutes. Bravo to All involved!


The 11th Annual POLITICAL PLAYERS RADIO HOUR Comes To Keesal, Young, & Logan Photo
The 11th Annual POLITICAL PLAYERS RADIO HOUR Comes To Keesal, Young, & Logan, June 16

On June 16, from 6 to 8pm, 13 city leaders will present the 11th Mostly Annual Political Players Radio Show. With a script written by Harry Saltzgaver and performed by those who are at the center of it all, the Radio Show tells of the city's current events and political maneuvers with plenty of humor, ad libs, inside jokes, and just enough truth to keep the audience and cast laughing.

CAP UCLA Announces 2023-24 Inaugural Season At The New UCLA Nimoy Theater Photo
CAP UCLA Announces 2023-24 Inaugural Season At The New UCLA Nimoy Theater

UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) announces the inaugural 2023-24 season at The UCLA Nimoy Theater (The Nimoy), formerly known as The Crest Theatre, a landmark venue in Westwood that has been renovated and transformed into a flexible 300-seat off-campus performing arts space.

Emma Hunton, Frankie Grande, And Brian Logan Dales Star In EXORCISTIC THE ROCK MUSICAL Photo
Emma Hunton, Frankie Grande, And Brian Logan Dales Star In EXORCISTIC THE ROCK MUSICAL

BEST MUSICAL WINNER of the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2013 returns ten years later to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Exorcist with an original rock musical that'll make your head spin and your bed shake! We watch as the dysfunctional Orgasmico Theatre Company dissects the film's cultural relevance, its controversial themes, the 1970s mentality, and pack their pretentious theories all into one big blasphemous rock musical parody that allows them to break the fourth wall and engage the audience.

Photos: INTO THE BREECHES Opens This Weekend At International City Theatre Photo
Photos: INTO THE BREECHES Opens This Weekend At International City Theatre

“We Can Do It!” So said Rosie the Riveter, and so say the women of Long Beach in Into the Breeches!, the vibrant new comedy by George Brant that’s up next at International City Theatre. Check out the photos

From This Author - Gil Kaan

      Gil Kaan, a former Managing Editor of the now-defunct Genre magazine, has had the privilege of photographing and interviewing some major divas of film, television, and stage in hi... (read more about this author)


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