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Mac Wellman's THE OFFENDING GESTURE Opens 3/18

Award-winning Son of Semele Ensemble announces its next production, Mac Wellman's The Offending Gesture, to be presented at the Son of Semele Theater, 3301 Beverly Boulevard, from March 18 to April 9, 2017.

In The Offending Gesture, panicky minions scramble to shield a volatile, thin-skinned despot from a perceived slight. What may not be so funny in real life becomes an absurdist vaudeville in the hands of form-busting playwright Mac Wellman, inspired by actual events: In 1941, the German Foreign Office investigated reports of a Finnish dog, Jackie, trained by his owner to salute at the sound of Hitler's name. Onstage, the actors play cats playing dogs playing humans, watched over by a Greek chorus of singing Mooncats (i.e., cats living on the moon, natch).

"The play is funny and unsettling," says director Edgar Landa. "The first time I read it, I fell in love with its absurdity, although I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. How do you perform a stage direction like 'Paws. Pause. Paws?'" Landa adds, "I was unsettled by the idea of seeing the Nazi salute performed over and over and over again. And, yet, there was humor in the repetition of that gesture. In our production, we take delight in the words Mac Wellman has written and we let them inform the silliness that will evoke laughter in the moment and spark something in the viewer's mind... perhaps a few days later."

Landa, a long-time member of Son of Semele Ensemble, recently received an Ovation Honor Award for his fight choreography of the company's That Pretty Pretty; or The Rape Play. The Gesture cast includes Ensemble members Melina Bielefelt, Flor San Roman and Ashley Steed, with guest artists Rachel Appelbaum, Anastasia Coon, Kyla Ledes, Erin Scerbak and Kate Williams Grabau. The design team comprises Ensemble member Barbara Kallir (lighting), plus Meg Cunningham (set), Becca Kessin (sound), Stephanie Petagno (costumes) and Brenda Varda (original music and music direction). Maria Pasquarelli is the assistant director; Ensemble member Lyndsay Lucas is the stage manager.

Mac Wellman is an Obie award-winning playwright, author and poet, known for the experimental nature of his work, telling American Theatre, "Plays are not about plots. They are about moments. And moments are about epiphanies when something wakes you up." Wellman is Distinguished Professor of Play Writing at Brooklyn College and a recipient of NEA, Guggenheim and Foundation of Contemporary Arts fellowships.

Fridays and Saturdays @ 8pm, Sundays @ 5pm

$5 discount for patrons 25 and under (must show photo ID at the door)
Advance online purchases at The Son of Semele box office is open on performance days only, 30 minutes prior to curtain.

Son of Semele Theater
3301 Beverly Blvd. (@ Hoover), Los Angeles CA 90004
There is free street parking in the surrounding neighborhood. Son of Semele offers a complimentary beverage with taxi, Uber or Lyft receipt/proof of ride.

ABOUT SON OF SEMELE ENSEMBLE: Son of Semele Ensemble is a Los Angeles-based ensemble theatre company comprised of 30+ actors, directors, designers, dramaturgs and producers. In its 16-year history Son of Semele Ensemble productions have been honored with two LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards (nine nominations), five LA Weekly Theatre Awards (eleven nominations), four Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, two SAGE Awards, and an NAACP Theatre Award (four nominations). The company was also nominated in six categories at the inaugural Stage Raw Awards.

SON OF SEMELE ENSEMBLE MISSION: We believe the impact of a theatrical experience should resonate beyond the theater door. As an ensemble of artists, we integrate complex design and performance, producing theatre that embraces the friction between emotion and intellect. Through a process of discovery, collaboration and creative risk-taking, we illuminate and amplify universal questions. To that end, we make an earnest commitment to the artistic sustainability of the greater community.

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