I was ecstatic this morning when I saw Taco readers’ comments on the Company of Angels’ new production and I received this e-mail from CofA member Kila Kitu (see Taco story): “The response to L.A. VIEWS:Ten Minutes at a Time has been overwhelming. Three of our last shows have already sold out.”
You see, when I joined the Taco writing staff, someone up there guided my way to the world of LA’s theater groups and I was stunned by the talent I encountered. If you check the reviews posted under Taco’s Theater link, you will get a glimpse into this wonderland. L.A.’s scene of small independent theater ensembles is a treasure that still needs to be discovered by the larger public so that these intelligent, compassionate and daring artists can keep on creating the compelling body of work that I’ve been privileged to enjoy over the last year and a half. In a recent must-read article, LA Weekly’s Theater Editor Steven Leigh Morris raised the red flag on the fate of LA’s live theater: “The Purpose of Theater in Absurd L.A.”
This Friday sees the opening of a new production by the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble who has a special place in my heart for co-producing the first show I ever reviewed for Taco: the hilarious sketch-comedy TELEMONGOL, staged in collaboration with Cold Tofu, 18TH Mighty Mountain Warriors, and OPM Comedy. We all know how that first time sticks to you and sometimes with you. On that fateful night, TELEMONGOL’s veteran performers took more than one bite of my virgin reviewer self and in the name of Decency, all I can say is my ribs still hurt.
Smelling a virgin… Wanru Tseng, Greg Watanabe, July Lee and Denise Iketani in TELEMONGOL.
Founded in 1999 by Philip W. Chung, Alexandra Chun, Chil Kong and Tim Lounibos, Lodestone’s mission statement is “to provide a forum for Asian Pacific American artists in all aspects of the theatre arts. Lodestone seeks to challenge limited perceptions of Asian Pacific Americans through the creation of original theatrical productions as well as a fresh retelling of established works.” In 2007, Lodestone tackled Euripides’ “The Trojan Women” (“Where else would Asian Pacific American actors be allowed to play all the parts in a Greek tragedy written twenty-four centuries ago?” Philip Chung, co-Artistic Director) and a revamping of “The Mikado Project” (“Traditionally Asian American theatre companies have shied away from The Mikado because of the racial stereotypes that the show propagates; but what if an Asian American theatre company had no choice but to perform it? Its that sort of provocative premise that Doris and Ken explore with humor and intelligence. This is Lodestone’s first musical production and its fitting that it should be one that perfectly fits into our mission to present Asian American work in a new and challenging way.” Director Chil Kong)
Their first production of 2008 is TRAPEZOID by Nic Cha Kim. It tells the story of a Korean American poet in love hired by a technology think tank to put the “art” in artificial intelligence. When the robot creation falls in love with the human creator, it’s man-made versus mankind with sometimes comic and sometimes tragic results.“From Collodi’s Pinocchio, Shelley’s Frankenstein and K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, artificial intelligence has been a fixture of science-fiction despite being a science for only 65 years. Trapezoid is my homage to writers and scientists alike.” Nic Cha Kim.
“Trapezoid’s playwright Nic Cha Kim is a Korean American writer, video artist and community activist. The recipient of numerous distinctions from the City of Los Angeles, Kim is best known for founding Gallery Row and leading the effort to create a gallery district in Downtown Los Angeles. As owner of Niche.LA Video Art, his work curating cutting-edge digital and video art has been recognized in Art Forum, LA Times and the Downtown News. Kim was voted top 10 most influential Angeleno by LA Alternative Press and profiled on LA18 in the segment Our Role Models. This is Kim’s first mainstage production at Lodestone.”
TRAPEZOID @ The GTC Burbank, 1111-B W. Olive St., Burbank, CA 91506. April 19-May 25, 2008. Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sundays 2 PM. Low-Priced $8 preview April 18 at 8 PM. $16 for general admission, $14 for students/seniors. Tickets for the April 19th Opening Night Gala with a post-show reception are $25. All Sunday matinees (except May 25) will be pay-what-you-can admission with a $1 minimum. To RSVP: (323) 993-7245
For more info and list of cast and crew members go to: www.lodestonetheatre.org,
frankiely has a blog.