Fall Theater Preview

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This is Anthony Byrnes Opening the Curtain on LA theater for KCRW.

Okay, summer's over. Everyone out of the water and back to the theater.

No...seriously, there's some really exciting theater coming to LA this fall. Here's a quick preview of what not to miss.

getty.jpgLet's start with the Greeks, this year's Getty Villa production is Prometheus Bound directed by CalArts dean Travis Preston. Performed in the outdoor amphitheater in front of museum's massive facade, every Getty production's success is based largely on how creatively they navigate the odd, if impressive architecture. Mr. Preston and the CalArts Center for New Performance's strategy is to place a five-ton steel sculpture to which Prometheus is presumably bound. The production runs through September and if this piques your interest book now - it's usually a tough ticket.

bostoncourt.jpgFeel more like Shakespeare? How about a three-person Richard, the Second in Pasadena? Boston Court Theatre's co-Artistic Director Jessica Kubzansky has stripped the play down to bare essentials - even re-titling it simply R II. It plays through October 15.

anoisewithin.jpgSticking with the Bard and Pasadena, A Noise Within is tackling Pericles, Prince of Tyre. You don't get a lot of chances to see a Pericles. Depending on your point of view that may be a good thing. The plot alone is something of an obstacle course: boat wrecks, incest, resurrection children sent to brothels, it's all there. If nothing else, it's gutsy and it's playing through November.

If your tastes veer more towards the contemporary - well, I hope you don't have any plans for the weekend of September 26. That's when Radar L.A. returns with a jam packed international festival of 18 plays.

radarla.jpgIt's a little overwhelming so let's start with some context,  Radar L.A. is the offshoot of the Public Theater's annual festival, Under the Radar. Where that festival looks to downtown New York and East, think European theater, LA's version looks to the west. Well actually the south and the west, Latin America and the Pacific Rim. There are works from Argentina, Columbia, Mexico, New Zealand, a couple of collaborations with Japanese companies, as well as Los Angeles work.

I'm still wrapping my mind around the recently released schedule but here's my short list of the productions not to miss.

Luis Alfaro's one man show, St. Jude. Inspired by his own journey through his father's illness, the poet maps his family's history up Highway 99. In his own words it’s the story of "going from 'what I am' to 'who I was.'"

Next, Argentinian director Mariano Pensotti's returns to LA with an urban piece set in downtown's Grand Central Market. Built around chance encounters and passersby, multiple writers craft stories on their laptops while the audience looks on.

Redcat regulars, will remember the company Wunderbaum from their haunting past productions. They're back, this time collaborating with the Los Angeles Poverty Department, a skid-row based theater company. Together they're creating what they call a "ficto - mentary" on contemporary healthcare.

Oh, right, and the festival includes 15 other pieces; all across a single week! My advice, start clearing your schedule and planning sick days now.

At least we'll all have something to do now that summer's over.

This is Anthony Byrnes Opening the Curtain on LA theater for KCRW.

 Banner image: (L-R) Works by the Los Angeles Poverty Department, Luis Alfaro and Mariano Pensotti, make up part of Radar L.A.