Photo Flash: First Look! Odyssey Theatre Ensemble's UNDERNEATH

Sticks and stones didn't break her bones, but words and pointing crushed her. Olivier Award winners Pat Kinevane and Fishamble: The New Play Company return to Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, the company that introduced Los Angeles audiences to the Irish writer/performer's extraordinary Forgotten and Silent, with his third solo work about life lived on the fringes of society. Jim Culleton, artistic director of Dublin's Fishamble and director of both Forgotten and Silent, directs the West Coast premiere of Underneath for a limited run Oct. 14 - Oct. 30. The engagement will also include two performances of Silent, which garnered the 2016 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement following its run at London's Soho Theatre.

"We are delighted to return to the Odyssey, a crucible of new and exciting work and our home on the West Coast," says Culleton.

Underneath is a blackly comic, rich and vivid tale of a life lived in secret. Like Forgotten and Silent, it is a testament to the people who live under the nose of everyday life. It explores the surface - and what lies underneath. Is beauty really only skin deep? Does ugliness hide somewhere deeper?

The three plays are aligned stylistically as well as thematically. In a profile of the artist, The Irish Timesexplained, "The tone and technique of Underneath solidify Kinevane's style, darting from grandiose gestures to earthy wit, creating a gossipy rapport with the audience, and leaping from acute social observation to flights of fancy. It is an Irish story, threaded through with an Egyptian theme, whose narrative is punctuated by the increasingly absurd soundtrack of a television property show."

According to Kinevane, "Underneath is about a woman, now dead in her tomb, who reflects back over her life, re-imagining and reliving her journey. She remembers how society punished her because of how she looked, and how she punished herself, and that whole relationship between beauty and ugliness and life and death and cruelty and kindness and how they all ultimately mash each other up and celebrate each other, but also destroy each other"

"You're invited as an audience member to come in and spend 90 minutes in the tomb of this woman whose body is decomposing, but whose mind is active and who has a vicious sense of humor and a fierce anger and a huge big heart, and is full of warmth and love," says Culleton.

Underneath was named to Forbes' 2015 "Best Theater on Broadway and Beyond" when it was presented at the Irish Arts Center in New York. Ben Brantley of the The New York Times called it "Extraordinary... Mr. Kinevane is a monologuist of untrammeled imagination... steeped in earthy prose and astral poetry, sometimes at the same time." It received the Scotsman Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival and a Best Theater Award from the Adelaide Fringe. Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Fishamble present the West Coast premiere in association with Georganne Aldrich Heller and with the support of Culture Ireland as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.

Original music for Underneath is composed by Denis Clohessy; choreography adviser is Emma O'Kane; costumes are by Catherine Condell; and the stage manager is Beth Mack. Beth Hogan produces for Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Eva Scanlan produces for Fishamble.

Pat Kinevane is a native of Cobh, Co. Cork who has worked as an actor in theater, film, television and radio for 27 years. As a writer he completed his first full length play, The Nun's Wood, in 1997; it was produced by Fishamble and won a BBC Stewart Parker Trust Award. His second play, The Plains of Enna , was produced at the 1999 Dublin Theatre Festival, also by Fishamble. Pat wrote The Death of Herod for Mysteries 2000 at the SFX. In 2008 his piece Evangeline Elsewhere premiered in New York in the First Irish Festival. Pat has been touring since 2006 with his solo pieces Forgotten (Irish Times Theatre Award nominee), Silent (Olivier, Scotsman Fringe First, Herald Angel and Brighton Argus Angel awards) and Underneath (Scotsman Fringe First and Adelaide Fringe Best Theatre awards), all produced by Fishamble. These shows have been performed extensively throughout Ireland and in Paris, Prague, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Wales, Croatia, Serbia Iceland, Finland, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Washington DC, Boston, New York and Los Angeles

Jim Culleton is the artistic director of Olivier Award-winning Fishamble: The New Play Company. For Fishamble, he has directed Forgotten, Silent and Underneath by Pat Kinevane (Olivier, Fringe First, Herald Angel, Argus Angel and Adelaide Fringe Best Theatre awards, touring to over 60 Irish venues and 17 other countries). Other recent and Current Productions for Fishamble include Inside the GPO by Colin Murphy (staged in the GPO for Easter 2016), Invitation to a Journey (co-directed with David Bolger, a co-production with CoisCeim, Crash Ensemble and Galway International Arts Festival), Tiny Plays for Ireland and America (Kennedy Center, Washington DC, and Irish Arts Center, New York, for Ireland 100), Spinning by Deirdre Kinahan (Dublin Theatre Festival), Little Thing, Big Thing by Donal O'Kelly (The Stage and First Irish awards, touring in Ireland, UK, Europe, US, Australia), He has directed for the Abbey Theatre and for many companies in Ireland and internationally. He most recently directEd Bloomsday on Broadway for Symphony Space/Irish Arts Center in New York and will next direct Mainstream by Rosaleen McDonagh for Fishamble/Project Arts Centre.

The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble was founded in 1969 when Ron Sossi decided to demonstrate that experiment-oriented theater could have populist appeal and be fiscally solvent while maintaining the highest artistic standards. Wildly successful and innovative productions such as The Serpent and Brecht's The Threepenny Opera immediately gained the Odyssey its reputation for producing dangerous, magical and experimental work. Now celebrating its 47th season, OTE continues to explore, produce and present works on the forefront of contemporary theater art in its three-theater complex in West Los Angeles.

Performances of Underneath take place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from Oct. 14 through Oct. 30, except Friday, Oct. 21 and Friday Oct. 28 on which dates Silent will be performed. There will be one preview performance of Underneath on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. All tickets are $25, except to the preview, which is $15. Discounted tickets are available for students and members of SAG/AFTRA/AEA: call the theater for more information. There will be two "Tix for $10" performances on Thursday, Oct. 20 (Underneath) and Friday, Oct. 28 (Silent), with $10 tickets available at the door 2 hours before curtain, subject to availability. Post-performance discussions are scheduled on Friday, Oct. 21 (Silent) and Thursday, Oct. 27 (Underneath). The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show.

The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.

Photo Credit: Patrick Redmond



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