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Murray Mednick's THE FOOL AND THE RED QUEEN Set for 5/19-6/24 Run at The Hollywood Fringe Festival

Padua Playwrights have announced the world premiere of the latest comic meditation from poet-playwright Murray Mednick. Directed by Mednick and Guy Zimmerman, The Fool and The Red Queen opens on May 19 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood, where it will continue to run through June 24 as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

In his newest work, Mednick experiments with archetypes to explore human nature and the processes of theater. Gary, a down-on-his-luck actor, finds himself at a nightmarish audition where we, the audience, discover the magical ability of theater to create new realities. Segueing directly into a darkly funny and “improvised” play-within-a-play—a love story in the tradition of Edward Albee’s Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Wallace Shawn’s Marie and Bruce, and Mednick’s own Joe and Betty—The Fool and The Red Queen, like all the playwright’s work, is driven by poetic impulse rather than by linear story-telling.

“Equally concerned with matters profane and sacred, The Fool and The Red Queen is an existential vaudeville that plays with the idea of presence in relation to performance,” explains Zimmerman.

Mednick and Zimmerman co-direct a cast of long-time Padua actors who are adept with the musicality of Mednick’s language, his sly humor, and the dreamlike essence of his reality: Peggy A. Blow (Mednick’s Girl on a Bed, DaddyO Dies Well), Bill Celentano (Padua’s Clown Show for Bruno, Dell Arte’s Journey of the Ten Moons and Korbel II, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble’s Love Council, Ken Roht's Echo’s Hammer), John Diehl (Joe and Betty in L.A and N.Y., a veteran of the Padua Playwrights Festival and numerous Sam Shepard plays for MR. Shepard and Darrell Larson), Jack Kehler (numerous Padua/Oxblood productions including four by Murray Mednick), Gray Palmer (Girl on a Bed, Out of the Blue) and Julia Prud’homme (Brigitte Bardot in Padua’s Hotel Bardot, most recently seen in Hermetically Sealed - LA Weekly Award nomination Best Ensemble).

Although the evening marks installments six and seven of Mednick’s loosely connected octet of “Gary Plays,” it stands completely alone. Unemployed actor Gary Bean is Mednick’s stand-in on life’s journey, an “everyman” who KCRW calls “a sort of L.A. Leopold Bloom.” He was first introduced to audiences in 2003 when Padua presented the first three plays in the cycle, Tirade for Three, Gary’s Walk, and Girl on a Bed. The fourth play, Out of the Blue, premiered in 2006, and DaddyO Dies Well ran in 2011. The entire octet has been published by Sideshow Books and is distributed by TCG (Theatre Communications Group).

Set design for The Fool and The Red Queen is by Jeffrey Atherton; lighting design is by Matt Richter; costume design is by Ann Closs-Farley; sound design is by John Zalewski; cinematographer is Brad L. Cooper; assistant director is Laura Manchester; and the producer is Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners.

Murray Mednick, a pioneer of the Off and Off-Off Broadway movements in the ‘60s and ‘70s and playwright-in-residence for Theater Genesis, wrote such ground-breaking works as The Hawk, The Hunter, Sand, Are You Lookin’ and The Deer Kill (1970 OBIE Award for Outstanding Play), and was the founder/artistic director of the Padua Hills Playwrights Workshop/Festival in Los Angeles from 1978 to 1995. He is the recipient of two Rockefeller Foundation grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Theatre Critics Association Best New Play citation (for Joe and Betty), a Career Achievement Award from the LA Weekly, an Ovation Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to Los Angeles Theater from the L.A. Stage Alliance, a Local Hero Award from Back Stage West, and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence in Theater.

Guy Zimmerman is an award-winning writer, director and producer who has served as artistic director of Padua Playwrights since 2001. Under his direction, Padua has staged over twenty-five celebrated productions of new plays, including three in New York City and three abroad. Previously, Zimmerman wrote for network television, including the shows Cracker, The Pretender and Wonderland. His own plays include La Clarita, The Inside Job and Vagrant. Currently enrolled in the doctoral program in Theater and Dramatic Arts at UC Irvine, his articles and essays about film, theater, art, science and politics have been published in the LA Weekly, LA Theater Magazine, Back Stage, LA Citizen, Cyrano’s Journal, Bedlam Magazine and, most recently, the arts and culture website Times Quotidian, where he is associate editor. His newest play, The Black Glass, will premiere in June at Open Fist as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Padua Playwrights continues a writing, performance and teaching tradition that began Off-Off Broadway, was sustained and refined at the Padua Hills Playwrights Workshop and Festival, and which prospered on the right balance between teaching a serious workshop and producing a serious festival of new work. Moving indoors a decade ago, Padua traded the immediacy of site-specific outdoor performances for the focus and finesse of an actual theater space. Continued though, is the exploration of the spoken word and its myriad connections to the possibility of real meaning.

The Fool and The Red Queen opens May 19 and continues through June 24. Performances take place Fridays and Saturdays @ 8 pm, and Sundays @ 7 pm. Tickets are $25. There will be one preview performance, on Friday, May 18 @ 8 pm, for which tickets are $12.50. The Lounge Theatre is located at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038. For reservations and information, call 323-960-7740 or go to www.plays411.com/RedQueen.


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