LA WEEKLY - Pick of the Week!
Not long ago, people regarded as exotic or subhuman were tossed into cages for the viewing pleasure of the American public. Such was the dreadful fate of Congo pygmy Ota Benga, who was displayed with monkeys at the Bronx Zoo in 1906. In Charles Duncombe's world-premiere drama, Caged, Megan Kim and R.J. Jones are naked, snatched-from-the-jungle "noble savages," who, confined in a cage stocked with toys, convincingly channel primitive angst, lethargically striding about, communicating and reacting with grunts and violent upsurges and hitting each other playfully. Extended commentary about the exhibit is provided by a keeper (Katrina Nelson) and an interviewer (Leah Harf), whose theories and statements of facts are a bladed mix of the outrageously comical and idiotic. But it's the cavalcade of spectators and their assorted hang-ups that provide the wallop of humor and irony here: a boy with his parents wanting to see tricks; a man meeting another man for a blow job; several couples in distress, mirroring the plight of the captives; a lonely woman seeking affection; an elderly woman with a huge ax to grind. The contrasts and the heavy-handed subtext are striking and unsettling. Though not overly dramatic, Duncombe's smartly written script is delightfully provocative and insightful. Performances are sharply calibrated under Frederique Michel's direction. By Lovell Estell III
Duncombe nails his targets, whether zeroing in on male versus female bonding activities, the difference between the sexes when presented with mirrors and their own reflections, or the inexplicable attraction to religion. Director Frédérique Michel handles the material beautifully... All seven actors playing the visitors inhabit multiple roles with ease. (Jennie Webb)
This new play by City Garage co-founder Charles A. Duncombe in a delicately intricate production explores the kaleidoscopic variations of the push-pull of relationships, remarkably similar whether "primitive" or "civilized."... Director Frederique Michel luxuriantly masters this congenial new space, wrangling the different levels of action subtly with an insinuating tactile sense... Duncombe and Michel spin so many layers with all those wisps of insight that the textured whole becomes piquantly allusive, even haunting. It is one of the continuing pleasures of City Garage, as with many established local companies, to see the progressive development of individual actors over many roles over time... (Myron Meisel)
"Poignantly symbolic, Duncombe's text so deft and tongue-in-cheek and the direction, by Frédérique Michel, so finely tuned" (Margaret Gray)
City Garage is proud to announce the world premiere of Caged, by Charles A. Duncombe.
Two naked specimens in a cage, Visitors come and go, fascinated by them, arguing, and wondering about these creatures. Do they feel pain, love, joy, sadness, envy? What do they think when they see us staring at them? What do we really see? A reflection of our own hope or despair? What reality do we inhabit and how did we get there? This new play for City Garage by award-winning playwright Charles A. Duncombe, is a tender and absorbing drama about entrapment, a reflection on life, how we seem each other and ourselves.
Directed by Frederique Michel
Produced by Charles A. Duncombe
Assistant Director: Anthony Pavelich
Cast: Nathan Dana Aldrich, Justin Davanzo, Erol Dolen, Kristina Drager, David E. Frank, Leah Harf, R.J. Jones, Megan Kim, Katrina Nelson, Mariko Oka, Heather Pasternak
City Garage at Bergamot Station Arts Center (View)
2525 Michigan Ave. Building T1
Santa Monica, CA 90404
|Minimum Age: 18|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|