New Year - new theatre! Here’s my short list for the plays you shouldn’t miss this spring.
Let’s start on the westside in January at the Odyssey. Taylor Mac, who blew LA away last year with the “24 Decade History of Popular Music” is back - but this time as a playwright. “Hir” (spelled H-I-R) is a dark dsyfunctional family comedy that takes aim squarely at the patriarchy. It opens January 19th and plays through March.
Next, let’s head downtown for The Wooster Group’s annual residency at REDCAT. This year iIt’s “The B-Side: “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons,” A Record Album Interpretation.” It’s based on the 1965 LP “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons,” a recording of work songs and spoken text from inmates on Texas’ then-segregated agricultural prison farms. I know that sounds like a lot and not exactly your typical source material for theatre but the Wooster Group has created their own magical form with album interpretations and I guarantee it’s a show worth seeing. It plays only the weekend of January 30th.
Let’s stay at REDCAT for another return visitor... Christiane Jatahy. Ms. Jatahy and her company meld theatre with cinema to create their own dramaturgical language. This year it’s “What if they went to Moscow?” (perhaps the best title ever for an adaptation of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”). It’s one weekend only - February 21st through 24th.
Let’s go local in Atwater Village with one of my LA favorites, The Echo Theatre Company. Alana Dietze, who directed that emotionally devastating production of “Dry Land” a couple years ago, leads one of the most produced plays right now “Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe. The setup is genius, a girls indoor soccer team warming up - fantastic roles for young women at a vicious time in life. The Echo is on a fierce journey doing a remarkable string of plays that explore female power and humanity. It’s shocking the Taper or the Geffen didn’t pick this script up but their loss is our intimate theatre gain. The show opens March 16th and plays through April.
For April - head back to the westside first to UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance and director Lars Jans take on Joan Didion. Jans, who’s one of those LA treasures whose work we don’t get to see enough of, has created a multimedia theatre piece based on Didion’s essay “The White Album.” The piece just played at BAM in New York and heads back to LA April 5th through 7th.
One more quick note for your calendar, in April the Geffen is tackling Jean Anouilh’s adaptation of “Antigone.” Director Kate Whoriskey is an exciting director and it’ll be interesting to see what a classic at the Geffen feels like. It plays in April.
That’s a lot of exciting theatre for the New Year.
For info on the shows and to subscribe to the weekly KCRW theatre newsletter, check out: kcrw.com/theatre.