Elina De Santos Directs World Premiere Of A MISUNDERSTANDING
Understand you? I don't even understand myself. Elina de Santos directs a playful play of ideas that challenges our fundamental understanding of reality. The world premiere of A Misunderstanding by Matt Chait (Disinherit the Wind) opens on Friday, Jan. 4 at The Complex in Hollywood, where performances continue through Feb. 3. Leave all your preconceived notions at the door... this play is sure to turn them inside out.
In today's ever-increasingly partisan world, A Misunderstanding offers a philosophical and humorous exploration of the misunderstandings that arise when people with radically different world views become wary of one another and unable to communicate.
"I'm always interested in the big questions," says de Santos. "What is life? Do we have a soul? Is there intelligent design? Matt Chait's play asks these questions and dramatizes them in a story about a man wanting to be heard who finds much more."
Challenging one another's perceptions in A Misunderstanding are Bertram Cates, a biology professor who has been dismissed from the University of California for sharing his spiritual views with his science students (played by Chait, whose resume includes over 100 plays on and off Broadway, at theaters including American Place Theatre, Cafe LaMama, Manhattan Theatre Club, Theatre Company of Boston, National Playwright's Conference, Eugene O'Neil Foundation and more); Joshua Brownstein, head of the University's biology department (Bruce Katzman, whose numerous credits include the Tony Award-winning revival of Cabaret on Broadway and Way to Heaven at the Odyssey); Brownstein's daughter, Melinda, portrayed by Amy-Helene Carlson (Heavenly Bodies at the Player's Theatre, Bachelorette at BrooklynONE, both in NYC); and graduate student Howard Blair, played by Dennis Renard (Baby Eyes at Playwrights Arena, 12 Angry Men at Laguna Playhouse).
Audiences might recognize the character names from Chait's previous play, Disinherit the Wind - a work that reviewers called "fascinating" (Stage Raw); "gripping" (LA Splash); "intense and compelling" (Los Angeles Post Examiner); "entertaining, moving and thoughtful (The World Through Night-Tinted Glasses); "provocative" (Theatre Notes); and "genuine and profound" (Colorado Boulevard). A Misunderstanding is a spin-off of sorts, presenting a similar situation - a face-off between opposing belief systems - but from a completely different perspective.
According to Chait, "A Misunderstanding is about the essence of reality itself, and about the difficulty people have in understanding one another when the lens through which they view reality differs. Although my head was very much at work in the writing, so was my heart and my sense of humor."
In addition to his playwriting and acting credits, Chait has taught acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and at UCLA, and had his own acting studio for over 20 years. In 1990, he purchased what was then the Richmond Shepard Theatre Studios and expanded that into The Complex. He is the recipient of a Charlie Award from the Hollywood Arts Council and proclamations from Eric Garcetti, Paul Koretz and Mitch O'Farrell for his contributions to the theater community of Los Angeles.
Elina de Santos is co-artistic director of Rogue Machine Theatre. She has directed world premieres of Hostage by Michelle Kohlos Brooks, Family Riots by Gideon Jeph Wabvuta, In the Valley of the Shadow by Katherine Cortez, Dirty Filthy Love Story by Rob Mersola, Nice Things by Vince Melocchi, Razorback by John Pollono, Church & State by Jason Odell Williams, Yard Sale Signs by Jennie Webb and The Sexual Life of Savages by Ian McDonald; the American premiere of Daytona by Oliver Cotton; West Coast premieres of Smart Love by Brian Letscher (upcoming in 2019 at PRT), Bhutan by Daisy Foote, Falling by Deanna Jent, Nicolas Wright's Vincent in Brixton (Pasadena Playhouse) and New Jerusalem by David Ives; and L.A. premieres of Stop Kiss by Diana Son (co-director, Matthew Elkins), David Mamet's Speed the Plow and Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance. A small sampling of other directing credits includes Broken Glass, All My Sons and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller; Awake & Sing! (in 1994-95 and again in 2015-16 at the Odyssey, as well as at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and Pittsburgh Public Theatre) and Rocket to the Moon by Clifford Odets; Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending (LADCC Award for direction), A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, Orphans by Lyle Kessler (OC Weekly Award for best production), and Romeo & Juliet: Circus Verona (Deaf West Theatre). Elina is the recipient of the Milton Katselas Award for career achievement in direction from the Los Angeles Drama Critic's Circle.
The creative team for A Misunderstanding includes set designer Todd Faux, lighting designer Leigh Allen, sound designer Ross Chait, costume designer Michael Mullen, graphic designer Kiff Scholl and casting director Michael Donovan. The production manager is Matthew Herrmann, and the stage manager is Tempest Rockbell. A Misunderstanding is presented by Rubidor Productions.
Performances of A Misunderstanding take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. from Jan. 4 through Feb. 3. There will be two preview performances, on Wednesday, Jan. 2 and Thursday, Jan. 3, both at 8 p.m. Tickets to all performances except opening night (Jan. 4) and previews are $30 general admission and $15 for students and seniors. All tickets on Jan. 4 are $45 and include a post-performance reception with the actors; tickets to previews are $15. The Complex is located at 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038. To purchase tickets, call (323) 960-4418 or go to www.plays411.com/misunderstanding.