Wednesday, April 10, 2013

True West opens in Pasadena April 19

WHAT: “True West.” A play.

WHO: Written by Sam Shepard. Directed by Randall Gray. Presented by Stages Of Gray Theatre.

WHERE: Stages Of Gray Theatre, 299 N. Altadena Drive., Pasadena, CA 91109.

WHEN: April 19- May 25, 2013. Fri. & Sat. at 8 p.m.

ADMISSION: $30. Seniors (65+) and military personnel, $27. Information concerning additional discounts is available on the theatre’s website.

RESERVATIONS: Call toll-free, (866) 811-4111.

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               In “True West” (1980), Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Sam Shepard puts a spin on sibling rivalry; It’s more like sibling envy. The action centers on two adult brothers: Austin, a screenwriter on the verge of a big break; and his older brother, Lee, a ne’er-do-well desert rat. Lee wants in on what he imagines is the glamorous life style for which Austin will be headed. Austin longs for the freedom of life on the desert, the connection to the True West that Austin thinks that Lee has and that Austin lacks.

            Lee gets an in with Austin’s Hollywood producer, and Austin begins to pick up Lee’s bad personal habits: drinking and petty theft. In the course of becoming each other, the fellas manage to trash their absent mother’s suburban home. Then, Mom suddenly comes home from vacation early, in what will be a real test of a mother’s unconditional love.

            Shepard’s comedy has a special resonance for those of us who live in Southern California, where “True West” takes place, especially for those of us who have projected our own dreams and fantasies on California, as West as it gets.

            Randall Gray is  director. Over the course of several decades, he has directed over 100 productions around the globe. Also an actor, his resume includes considerable experience in musical theatre. He is the Artistic Director of Stages of Gray Theatre.

            The production is double-cast, with casts named the Arvin Cast and the Barstow Cast. The casts are considered equivalent (i.e., no understudies). The Arvin Cast will take a traditional approach to the material, while the Barstow Cast will probe the characters’ psychological underpinnings. The Arvin Cast consists of Kevin Ferris, Cliff Ingram, Maureen O’Donnell and Shaun Ryan. It performs on April 19, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 24 and 25.

            The Barstow Cast consists of David Mandell, Ike Onuoha, Alex Nifong and Wendy Rostker. It performs on April 26, May 3, 10 and 17.

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