Directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela, Habitat asks: What do we do with the children we’ve failed?
Opens April 20th to May 12th at LATC
514 S. Spring Street, Downtown L.A.
What: Habitat. A play.
Who: Written by Judith Thompson. Directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela. Produced by Latino Theater Company.
Where: Los Angeles Theatre Center, in its 320-seat Theatre 3, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013.
When: Previews April 18 and 19. Opens Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 8 p.m. Runs through May 12. Show times: Thurs.- Sat. at 8:00, Sun. at 3:00.
Admission: General, $40. LATC Members, Students, Seniors, Veterans, Groups of ten or more, $20. Thursdays, $10- $15.
RSVP: Call toll-free, (866) 811-4111.
Online Ticketing: www.thelatc.org
What do we do with the children we’ve failed? That’s the question asked by Habitat. When Lewis Chance, an activist and advocate for children, buys a house on a quiet suburban street and establishes it as a group home for troubled adolescents, he sparks a firestorm of protest among the street’s NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard). Some of Chance’s charges are merely homeless and unwanted; at least one of their number is the kind of sociopathic criminal that the block’s long-time residents fear.
The NIMBYs are afraid, with considerable justification, that their property values will drop. A burglary in the neighborhood only aggravates tensions. But the characters of Habitat are not one-dimensional, and the course of events in the narrative defies easily drawn expectations. Raine, a teen who moves into the group home following the death of her mother, strikes up an unlikely friendship with Margaret, a senior who is the instigator of the NIMBYs. Janet, Margaret’s daughter, is a lawyer who is at first sympathetic to the plight of the juveniles living in the group home until she gets to know Chance. Is Chance as simply good-hearted as he at first appears? Are his motives in establishing the group home pure? Or does he harbor dark secrets within his character. Finally, there’s Sparkle, Raine’s best friend at the home. Manipulative and uncontrollable, he is not without redemptive qualities.
Emmy® Award winner and Golden Globe® nominee Susan Clark plays Margaret; Esperanza America, cited by the Los Angeles Times (1/4/12) as one of the city’s finest actresses, portrays Raine; Chance is played by Sal Lopez, cited by the L.A.Times as “beyond praise” for his work in Dementia at LATC; Nina Silver portrays Janet; and Paul Nguyen plays Sparkle.
Jose Luiz Valenzuela, artistic director of Latino Theater Company, directs and produces Habitat. Most recently, he directed A Mexican Trilogy, winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s Ted Schmitt Award.
Judith Thompson is the playwright. The author of 20 plays, she is the first Canadian to win the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and received the honor of Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the arts. Of Habitat, she states, “This play is dedicated to every group home struggling to survive in a hostile neighborhood.”
Habitat was first produced in Canada in 2001. It was subsequently produced in England in 2002. The issues it presents are still timely.
Stage manager: Heno Fernandez. Assistant stage manager: Fidel Gomez. Set design: Tesshi Nakagawa. Lighting and set design: Cameron Mock. Properties/ Set and lighting assistant: Carolina Ortiz. Sound design: John Zalewski. Costume design: Carlos Brown. Technical director: Wayne Nakasone.
To find how to apply for Los Angeles Theatre Centre membership and its discounts and other benefits, go to www.thelatc.org