World Premiere Of Screwball Comedy ASHES TO ASHES Comes to The Odyssey
The Athena Cats, a collective of Southern California female playwrights and directors, presents the world premiere of a madcap romantic comedy that's a perfect escape for the holidays. Ashes to Ashes, written by Debbie Bolsky and directed by Katherine James, opens as a visiting production at the Odyssey Theatre on Dec. 9, where it continues through Jan. 14, 2018.
Liberal Sara and right-winger Jefferson are polar opposites about everything - except their love and devotion for their two, newly deceased, filthy-rich best friends. Trapped by the time-constraints of their friends' will, the two are forced to spend the next 16 days, 21 hours and 32 minutes together, scattering ashes across Europe. Whether they make it or not, the audience is in for a bumpy and very funny ride.
"The play is written in the tradition of classic film screwball comedies, but with a highly theatrical bent," explains James. "You know from the minute you walk in that these two people are going to end up in love - yet how that happens is so surprising and the journey is so much fun that the audience is all in."
Lena Bouton (6 RMS RIV VU at Sierra Madre Playhouse, Last Men On Earth and West Destiny at Zombie Joe's Undergound) stars as Sara, opposite Kevin Young, making his West Coast theater debut in Ashes to Ashes. Michael Uribes (Future Sex, Inc. at the Lounge; Oedipus El Rey at The Theatre @ Boston Court) takes on the role of the mysterious, chameleon-like and hilarious "guide" who shepherds the couple from country to country and task to task.
Ashes to Ashes began its development process in the Botanicum Seedlings dramaturgy workshop at Theatricum Botanicum, where James is a company member, under the guidance of Theatricum playwright-in-residence Jennie Webb. Bolsky, James and Webb are all members of the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative as well as The Athena Cats.
The creative team includes set designer Pete Hickock, projections designer Nick Santiago, lighting designer Stacy McKenney, sound designer Cricket S. Myers, costume designer Kate Bergh and properties designer Michael Allen Angel. The stage manager is Karen Osborne; producer is Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners; and executive producer is Laurel Wetzork for The Athena Cats.
"We are living in challenging times," says James. "Sometimes we just need to go to the theater to laugh and experience something positive and have a blast."
Debbie Bolsky has written eleven stage plays and screenplays, currently in various stages of development, that feature strong and layered roles for women and explore themes of death, baseball and politics. Besides her current work on the play Ashes to Ashes, she is in the early development stages of two other plays: Three Sides and the comedy Bringing a Urine Sample to Hitler and Other Stories of My Crazy Mother. She is also working on her baseball-centric screenplay Diamond Behind the Plate (aka The Umpire Has No Balls). Bolsky is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Film Independent.
Katherine James is a playwright and actress as well as a director. She is a company member at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum, where she sits on the Seedlings (new plays) committee. Recent projects include multiple productions of her play, The Plan, including The GLO Project and Hall Pass. Several of her shows have been produced as part of Little Black Dress INK. Her company, Free Association Theatre, has helped produce L.A.'s annual SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day celebrations. She holds an MFA from A.C.T. and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.
The Athena Cats is a collective of Southern California area female playwrights and directors formed to bring unrepresented works written by women to the stage. Athena, the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, mathematics, the arts, crafts and skill, is known for her calm temperament. She is noted to have only fought for just reasons and never without a purpose. Like Athena, The Athena Cats fight to see more plays by women produced and more women employed in the arts. Domestic cats, no matter their breed, are all members of one species. Felis catus has had a very long relationship with humans. Ancient Egyptians may have first domesticated cats as early as 4,000 years ago. And they worshipped them. As writers, The Athena Cats simply like cats and their semi-ferocious nature.
Performances of Ashes to Ashes take place Dec. 9 through Jan. 14 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. (dark Dec. 24 and Dec. 31). There will be two additional performances on Thursday, Dec. 21 and Thursday, Dec. 28, both at 8 p.m., as well as two preview performances on Thursday, Dec. 7 and Friday, Dec. 8, also at 8 p.m. All tickets are $30 (reserved seating) except previews which are $15. The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call 310-564-9410 or go to www.AshesToAshesThePlay.com.