Monday, April 20, 2009

I liked a play

This is a rare thing for me. This is a post that will lavish unabashed praise on a colleague.

In LA we get a lot of plays in tiny little corner theaters that barely fit 30 people. On any given night you can probably find some little project, a labor of love for a tiny crew of actors with a smattering of credits and their writer/director who just wants to see his or her work performed for an audience.

I've been to a few of these - usually to watch someone I know - and they're not always good. Sometimes you clap hard for your friend, then on your way out the door you turn to your boyfriend and say, "Thank God that's over." I once saw a theater in the park that made A Midsummer Night's Dream into a dreadful mess.

I knew that wouldn't happen Saturday night when I went to see Michael Sullivan's play in Santa Monica. Since the first time Michael ever let me read one of his short film scripts I've known he'd make it. Michael has what it takes to be a professional TV writer. You know how people always say "Talent will out" around this town? That eventually if you're any good, someone will find you? I always think of Michael when they say that.

By now he is really blushing as he reads this.

Usually when you go see a play starring your friend you have this nagging thought in the back of your head warning you to be nice even if it's garbage. But I wasn't worried.

And I was right. Michael's play, Mastermind, was the second of the evening. The first was a cliche-filled dragging piece about a Mafia family that was supposed to be some kind of feminist piece, but just ended up a hot mess thanks largely to the lead actor's inability to deliver lines with any kind of conviction, and her reliance on broad hand gestures to make up the difference.

That made Michael's piece stand out even more. It was essentially a half hour conversation between two people. One, a man with amnesia who thinks he may have been a supervillain before he lost his memories, and the other his girlfriend who tries to convince him to let it go and get out of town before a bomb that very supervillain planted a year ago goes off and kills everyone in the city.

In the process of discussing their next move and his possible latent memories, they each reveal some major truths about the state of their relationship. So the play is about love, personal identity and the nature of good and evil. It flowed smoothly thanks to good casting and the natural chemistry between the leads, who are a real life couple.

As someone who worked with a real life couple on her short film, I gotta tell you that makes things a whole lot easier.

The play was funny, tragic and beautiful. I didn't look at my watch at all. Actually I don't have a watch but if I did I wouldn't have looked at it.

It's just really nice to be able to tell your friend his play was awesome. I don't have to hem and haw and talk about the lighting. I can straight up say, Dude this was good. I think my exact words were "This is not a bad play. This is actually a good play."

Officially this was a one-time thing, but Michael is trying to find ways to get produce it elsewhere. I hope he succeeds.


  1. Sounds like a cool play - now I want to see it. Hopefully it will go up again.

  2. Thanks for the awesome review.

    Waiting for blushing to subside now...


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