Through June 12th at the Pig ‘n’ Whistle Restaurant, Hollywood.
Reviewed by Dale Reynolds for www.latinheat.com
Los Angeles, CA — Environmental Theatre is when you place a play into a specific environment that is the focal-point of the play. Examples might include a Midsummer Night’s Dream in a large wooded space, or a recent brilliant move putting a play about conceptual art in an actual art-gallery (Filthy Talk for Troubled Times at City Garage) or any other fulfilling idea.
So putting a small play set in a bar, with three characters, into a real bar is both satisfying and frustrating: satisfying because the working bar is used almost as another character and frustrating because It Is Done tends to allow actors to hide each other when the audience is on the same level as the drinking tables. Ah, well, live theatre, whacha gonna do?
Alex Goldberg’s stylish thriller, set somewhere in the middle of nowhere, could be a kissing-cousin to Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1944 existentialist drama, No Exit. A lonesome bar/grill in a nowhere part of the country where only the occasional, usually stranded, driver ends up. The bar-keep (“call me Hank”) is a rough-edged roustabout, who’s self-praise as a lover of women could only tempt a terminally-drunk harridan. Into his bar stumbles a running-away-from-his-nightmares loner, Jonas (Andre Tenerelli), and a mysterious woman who just might be following him, Ruby (Catia Ojeda). Hank (Michael McCartney), in need of money for child-payments, is willing to bed either of them (no takers, thank God), but quite unwilling to give Ruby her place in the firmament. That she turns out to be more important to their survival than either could ever have imagined, is part of the fun of this 85-minute, no intermission oddity.
Who are these strangers? Why are they having such an impact on each other? No answers will be given here, but Goldberg’s stretch, nicely realized by director Michael Michetti, at a gorgeous relic of Old Hollywood, The Pig ‘n’ Whistle, a bar on Hollywood Blvd from 1927, helps in playing out the reality we see in front of us.
The three actors – superlative all – make the evening work. At the beginning McCartney was simply too loud for the room (even for a lout), but he interacted exactly as you would have him do, and Tenerelli and Ojeda make for a taut and frightening combination. You’ll have a good time here, so don’t miss it. It’s only on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays until June 12th.
It Is Done performs at the Pig ‘n Whistle Restaurant, 6714 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028. Tickets: www.itisdonetheplay.com or cash at the door.