Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble Premieres TROG AND CLAY At The Powerhouse Theatre 4/22 - 5/15

The critically acclaimed Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble continues its commitment to producing original and audacious plays with the world premiere of Trog and Clay at the Powerhouse Theatre, the second play of the season by award-winning playwright Michael Vukadinovich. This dark comedy boasts a talented creative team led by veteran director Gary Gardner. The cast of Trog and Clay includes veteran Ensemble members Isaac Wade, Paige White, Mike Kindle, Ariel Goldberg as well as a actors Travis Murray, Matt Weedman, Andrew Crabtree, and Emma Fassler. Immediately following the April 22nd performance, the audience is invited to join the company at the Opening Night Reception on the Deck at the Powerhouse.

Trog and Clay are two dog-catching hobos who unwittingly find themselves in the middle of the epic war of currents between George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison. Meanwhile, Westinghouse is trying to hold onto his scheming wife, Margueritte, who wants to be an actress, Thomas Edison is using her to get a man electrocuted, and a hopeless romantic wife-killer stands trial as everything lies in the hands of two fools. Based on actual events, court tanscripts and a little imagination, Trog and Clay is a new comedy about the search for the soul in absurd times.

"When I first read about the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over the invention of the electric chair I immediately thought it could make for a great play," says playwright Vukadinovich. "It's a little known story of greed, capital punishment, ego, modernity, science, animal testing - so many huge themes coming together in one moment of history. But as I started to research it and gather court transcripts, I realized the whole thing was a comedy with a tragic end. It's a story full of wild absurdities and amazing ignorance, and I decided to retell it from the perspective of two foolish dog catchers who secretly change the events of history because it all felt so unbelievable, like part of the story was missing. There is much fact in the fiction of the play, and it's usually in the stranger parts."

"I decided to do the play because I wasn't sure I understood it," says director Gary Gardner, who's direction has led three plays to win the American College Play Festival. He's developmental supervision also led three musicals from UCLA to win ASCAP. "I am always on the lookout for original student work to direct, and I thought Trog and Clay: An Imagined History of the Electric Chair would be perfect for a professional production. I always have the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble in mind when looking to produce new and challenging work."

Michael Vukadinovich received the Reverie Productions Next Generation Playwriting Award, the Tim Robbins Playwriting Award for Plays of Social Significance, the Gloria Peter Playwright Award for Historical Plays, the Wichita University Playwriting Contest, and the Samuel Goldwyn Screenwriting Award. His work has been produced or developed with Reverie Productions (NY), Overlap Productions (NY), Playwright's Arena (LA), The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum (LA), the Ensemble Studio Theatre (LA), Fusion Theatre Company (Albuquerque), the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and internationally at the Serbian National Theatre, PLUS Teatar and Edinburgh Fringe Festival, among others. He is also a founding member of Red Tie Productions, which has produced work in New York and Edinburgh. Other plays include Billboard; Gilbert, or Death by Obituary; Trog and Clay, an Imagined History of the Electric Chair; The Magician and the Memory; and Terrarium. His work is published by Samuel French and Smith & Krauss. He is currently writing a play based off a photograph of his great-great-grandfather in Montenegro which will be produced in Novi Sad, Serbia later this year, as well as developing a television series for Starz. He lives in LA and received his MFA in playwriting from UCLA. www.michaelvukadinovich.com.

Gary Gardner is a playwright and director who has guided numerous student-written plays to award winning productions, including the musicals Bruin Ha Ha, Bottoms Up: The Musicommedia (both of which won ASCAP Awards) and Upstream Toward Lethe, a drama presented at the Kennedy Center. Recent work includes direction of My Fair Lady at the Oaks Civic Light Opera and original lyrics for Hollywood Live! which premiered at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

The Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble is dedicated to staging theatre works of high artistic integrity while endeavoring to remain broadly accessible and genuinely entertaining. The ensemble holds fast in its commitment to strike a balance between providing a venue for emerging artists and veteran artists; between the works of new playwrights, and revisiting timely and important classics.

The Powerhouse Theatre is housed, appropriately enough, in the Powerhouse, a historical building originally erected in 1910 for the Southern California Edison Electrical Plant for the city of Santa Monica. Committed to nurturing innovative new work, the Powerhouse has introduced Los Angeles audiences to critically-acclaimed world premieres such as the multiple award-winning The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World; the scathingly funny The Family Room by Aron Coleite; Golden Prospects: A Los Angeles Melodrama by Colin Campbell; and A Series of Comedic Lectures with John Lehr.

Tom Burmester, founder and Producing Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble and Managing Artistic Director of the Powerhouse Theatre, has produced many productions for the stage including Wounded and Survived by Tom Burmester, Kindred by Daniel Keleher, I Gelosi and The Heretic Mysteries by David Bridel, Monkey Madness by Daisuke Tsuji, Quixotic and Adeline's Play by Kit Steinkellner and The Water Engine by David Mamet. Tom earned his MFA in Directing from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Tickets are $15.00 when purchased in advance at www.latensemble.com and $20.00 at the door. The Powerhouse Theatre is located at 3116 2nd Street in south Santa Monica, just off Main Street between Rose and Marine. Guests in wheelchairs should call in advance to make arrangements. For information and tickets, the public should visit www.latensemble.com.

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