We come to you with a more recent production for this week’s City Garage Classic: “Timepiece” from 2015 by Charles A. Duncombe. Be aware, one night it was raining very hard on our head and the metal roof was very happy to echo it, so you will have few scenes under the inferno.
This week on “Animal Farm: Conversations on Theater and Politics with Steven Leigh Morris and Guests,” Steven talks with Bryan Hawkins from California Lawyers for the Arts about the impact of California’s controversial law, AB5, and its impact on the non-profit theater scene in Los Angeles. Here is a link to the talk show:
And here is a little about “Timepiece”
“After many years of extraordinarily original adaptations at City Garage with his ongoing collaborator, director Frédérique Michel, playwright Charles A. Duncombe has delved more deeply in the machinations of metaphor in his recent works, Caged, and now the even less mysterious, more playful, Timepiece.”
“Duncombe provides all his archetypes with eloquent arguments, which the actors deliver with breakneck aplomb….CG mainstay Roberts has never before had a role suit him so snugly. Nelson sparkles with a comedic flair appropriate to a post-modern Carole Lombard. Michel pushes the pace to the practical limits of the performers, and never past. As frequently is the case at City Garage, the ghost of Ionesco does not linger far. And there is no little suspense generated as to how she will manage to interject the pubic exposure that certifies her signature as much as the walk-on was for Alfred Hitchcock.
“Before the action begins, the sound system plays Marlene Dietrich singing Cole Porter’s “You Do Something To Me”, which occurred to me could become the theme song for City Garage: they “do that voodoo, that you do so well.”
– Myron Meisel, Stage Raw
“Once an avant-garde movement, absurdism has gathered some dust in the intervening years. Duncombe and his longtime collaborator, director Frédérique Michel, so carefully reproduce its tropes — a queasily undefined setting, archetypal characters, pointedly unpredictable behavior, a deep-seated, vaguely Sputnik-era fear of machinery — that this production could be a revival of some forgotten classic, unearthed perhaps from a fallout shelter….The characters take turns delivering rants, summing up their various existential quandaries, each moving in a distinctive, repetitive way that suggests the inner workings of some enormous, sinister device. Their speeches, delivered eloquently, are absorbing in their headlong, stream-of-consciousness style. The topics are diverse and relatable — so much so that the piece occasionally feels like “The Breakfast Club” as rewritten by Camus — and at moments darkly comic. After delivering the most soul-chilling disquisition of all, Superman tells Betty, “I hope you can find some comfort in that.”Although there is little chance of a happy ending for poor Betty or her new friends, there is an odd comfort to be found in absurdism, as Duncombe reminds us in this affectionate tribute. In Anthony M. Sannazaro’s gorgeous video backdrop of floating clouds, I started seeing or imagining the eyes of some kindly disposed god. The human compulsion to find meaning, even if doomed to failure, has certainly led to some wild and entertaining theories.”
– Margaret Gray, La Times
It will be showing on our City Garage YouTube channel from 8:00pm this Friday, January 22, through noon on Friday, January 29th.
It’s free to view but we ask people to make a donation if they can through our Chuffed page:
Many thanks to our donor of last week. Strawn Bovee!
Merci, stay safe, and wear a mask! Vive le nouveau President!
Here are some photos: