Be a Patreon!

Be a Patreon!

Merci!

Frederique & Archie

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

We were all set to announce the re-opening of the theatre in September but unfortunately because of the surge in Covid cases, the fast spread of the Delta variant, the slowdown in the vaccination rates, and the most recent health guidelines about indoor public events, we thought it best to delay an additional month. We want everyone to be safe.

But at least we can tell you what we’re planning. The first show once we can re-open will be Eugene O’Neill’s “Hughie.” It’s a beautiful, lyrical piece about loss, loneliness, and the struggle to make human connection. It’s one of O’Neill’s late works and a real classic, one of the great pieces of American theater. We can’t wait to welcome you back to see it. We’re now planning an opening in October. As soon as things are more definite, we’ll announce the specifics dates, schedule and how you can get your tickets. And be assured we’ll be following all the health protocols to make sure your visit with us is safe, including a deep cleaning of the space with anti-Covid disinfection.

In the meantime, we have of course a new episode of “Animal Farm” and another City Garage Classic for you. This week Steven pays tribute to critic, playwright, and director Vernon Neal Weaver who passed away last week. Neal spent decades writing with passion and insight about the work he saw on LA stages, writing for the Village View, LA Reader, LA Weekly, and Stage Raw, and serving as a member of the LA Drama Critics Circle. Steven talks to four members of the critical community who knew him well and pay tribute to his dedication and the contribution he made to the LA theater community. Here is a link to the show:

Animal Farm

And we’re happy to reprise another of one of our most popular City Garage classics, “Opheliamachine” by Magda Romanska, which has now appeared in two international online theater festivals. It’s a reimagining of Heiner Mueller’s “Hamletmachine” from the perspective of Ophelia, here broken into three identities: author, feminist, and terrorist. If you missed the first time around, here is your chance! Here is a link:

Opheliamachine

Be a Patreon!

And if you haven’t yet joined our circle of ongoing supporters please consider joining in. You’ll have access to our full archive of more than forty-five productions and all of our original online programming. It’s a wonderful way to support the work at Ciity Garage through a small, regular monthly donation charged to your credit card. It can be as low as $2 a month—less than a cafe au lait! But it makes such a difference to us. There are many different levels of support, giving you access to our full library of City Garage Classics, our weekly online talk show “Animal Farm,” and all our online programming. Depending on your level of monthly support, there are lots of other perks available too, like free tickets, passports. Check out the site for all the information:

Here’s the link to our Patreon Page.

Merci to our donors of this last week, Geraldine Fuentes, Ann Bronston, and Gifford Irvine.

Stay safe, get vaccinated, and we look forward to seeing you again soon!

Love,

Frederique

The Ann Bronson Story Project

Bonjour Citygaragistes,

This weekend on the City Garage YouTube channel, we’re happy to present “The Ann Bronson Story Project,” a selection of stories written by company member Ann Bronston and performed by Troy Dunn, Lindsay Plake, and Martha Duncan. They are stories of love, loss, sex, and family that unravel the secret longings and conflicts that can both torment and transform us. I hope you will check them out. And on our web series “Animal Farm: Conversations on Theater and Politics with Steven Leigh Morris and Guests,” Steven talks with Gary Grossman, Artistic Director of the Skylight Theater about the continuing lobbying efforts to pass California Senate Bill 805 to help small nonprofits adapt to the requirements of AB5—especially LA’s alternative theaters.

Here is a link to talk show:
https://citygarage.org/animalfarm/

Correction: In last week’s episode we incorrectly identified our guest Angela J. Davis as a prosecutor for the LA County Superior Court. Our apologies. She was formerly a Federal Prosecutor for the Central District of California, and is now serving as a Commissioner for the LA County Superior Court’s Family Division.

And here is a link to “The Ann Bronson Story Project.” It will be showing on our City Garage YouTube channel from 8:00pm this Friday, June 11th, through noon on Friday, June 18th.

https://www.youtube.com/c/citygaragetheatre

It’s free to view but we ask people to make a donation if they can through our Chuffed page or at “Support Us” on our website:

Chuffed
https://chuffed.org/project/citygarage
City Garage website
Support Us

SAVE THE DATE!

We’re also excited to announce a new project we’ve created just for streaming! Four monologues from “10 x 10” by Neil LaBute. LaBute is one of our favorite playwrights, someone who is willing to take an unflinching look at the truth of things. Not afraid to shock or offend. He pulls no punches and is always after the hard truth of what people do and why they do it. Make sure you mark next Friday, June 18th for the debut of our first original streaming project! More information to come in next week’s newsletter.

Merci,

FM

“Largo Desolato” by Vaclav Havel

Largo Desolato

by Vaclav Havel
January 24 – March 1, 2020

“The Consulate General of the Czech Republic highly recommends the Václav Havel’s semi-autobiographical play Largo Desolato… at the City Garage Theatre.”
Invitation posted on Consulate Cultural News & Events page

“An eerie, atmospheric staging at City Garage in Santa Monica revisits Havel’s absurdist 1986 portrait of Iron Curtain paranoia…The material is well suited to the stylish City Garage aesthetic, as director Frédérique Michel and designer Charles A. Duncombe lean into Havel’s extensive use of repetition to evoke a visceral sense of Leopold’s paralysis…. in an authoritarian state, the only thing worse than being a perceived threat is to become irrelevant.” — By Philip Brandes, LA Times

“As ever, City Garage surprises and haunts. Every cast member of Largo Desolato is a veteran of the company now, and deliver performances with power as well as precision. The direction continues to use the (seemingly) simple presence of being in the same room with another human being to vast effect. The result feels raw, and terribly honest.” — Zahir Blue, Night Tinted Glasses

City Garage stages a timely revival of Havel’s classic piece about totalitarian regimes, censorship, and the price of integrity. In this semi-autobiographical play, translated by Czech-born playwright Tom Stoppard, a dissident intellectual, Leopold Nettles, is dogged by the secret police, pressured by his friends, and nagged by his housemate to just shut up and go along. Shadowy figures arrive to offer him a deal to stay out of prison but Nettles can’t get himself to accept. His world starts to dissolve in a hallucinatory battle of conscience but will he ultimately have the courage of his convictions?

Havel wrote the play when he had just emerged from prison in 1984. He went on to play a major role in the Velvet Revolution that toppled communism in Eastern Europe, as well as serving as the first President of the Czech Republic. What would he make of the frightening resurgence of so many of the ideas he sacrificed so much to eradicate?

Fourth Sunday Q&A
After the Sunday, February 16 matinee, please join us for an informal discussion with the director, producer, and cast of Largo Desolato.

“Department of Dreams” by Jeton Neziraj

“Department of Dreams” by Jeton Neziraj

Translated by Alexandra Channer

October 25 – December 8, 2019

Fridays, Saturdays 8:00pm: Sundays 3:00pm

Critic’s Choice! — Los Angeles Times

The world premiere of Kosovar playwright Jeton Neziraj’s nightmarish, Orwellian comedy of an autocratic government that demands its citizens deposit their dreams in a central, bureaucratic depository so that it can exert the fullest possible control of their imaginations. In this vast, underground complex, civil servants like Dan, a new hire for the prized job of Interpreter, sift patiently through the nation’s dreams looking for threats to the government’s authority and its version of “truth.” If order is to be maintained, deviance must be extinguished and imagination co-opted. Dan works hard and tries stubbornly to survive in this strange dream world but finds nothing is as it seems to be except the authority that rules it. Don’t miss the world premiere of this new play from one of Europe’s most remarkable playwrights.

“Theatre should side with the victims” feature on Jeton Neziraj — Stage | The Guardian

“The premiere represents a coup for City Garage’s founders, artistic director Frédérique Michel and producing director Charles A. Duncombe, whose company has been presenting edgy theater for more than 30 years. Michel, who also directs, and Duncombe, whose typically stunning production design is a highlight, do full service to Neziraj’s savagely topical, darkly funny piece.” — F. Kathleen Foley, Los Angeles Times

Read Stage Raw’s interview with Jeton Neziraj: Kosovo’s Molière: Mocking Hypocrites and Autocrats

“The cast entire does the fine job I frankly have come to expect from City Garage, with Frederique Michel’s direction showing wonderful insight…” — David MacDowell Blue, Night Tinted Glasses

Special Events: Weekend of November 8 – 10th, 2019

City Garage is thrilled to announce that playwright Jeton Neziraj will be traveling from Kosovo to join us for a weekend of special events around this world premiere. Support City Garage and help us meet our goal of $25,000 for this fall by being part of this exciting weekend. Tickets for all events are $50 each. Or pick a performance of your choice, then attend as many of the after-show events as you like—up to all three—for $100. Book your tickets through this link:


Donation
Night(s) Attending



Friday, 11/8: Champagne Reception and Book Signing: Meet the author, mingle with cast and crew, and have your script signed (copies of “Department of Dreams” available at $25).

Saturday, 11/9: Catered Reception: Join us for dinner after the show, along with the playwright and other special guests of honor.

Sunday, 11/10: Panel* Discussion: Steven Leigh Morris, editor of Stage Raw, will moderate a discussion on “Theatre and Politics.” How can—or should—theatre address the urgent political realities of its moment? The particular focus is on the rise of autocracies in Europe, the Balkans, and the west in general, and the role of the arts in contemporary politics. Q&A with the playwright and panelists to follow.

*Panelists: Steven Leigh Morris, Moderator, Editor Stage Raw; Dr. Mietek Boduszynski, Assistant Professor of Politics at Pomona College; Viktorija Lejko-Lacan, Department of Slavic East-European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures UCLA; Lauren Murphy Yeoman, Assistant Professor of Theatre, USC School of Dramatic Arts.

Limited Seating! Get your tickets now!

“Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl

“Macbett” by Ionesco

There will be a reading of “Macbett” by Ionesco on Sunday, August 25 at 6:00pm.
Directed by Ann Bronston. Free.

“Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl

Champagne Preview August 9
Opening Saturday August 10

Pulitzer-prize nominee Sarah Ruhl stands the Orpheus myth on its head and retells it from Eurydice’s point of view. Comic, tragic, silly and poetic in turns, this inventive play follows Eurydice as she does her best to adapt to life in the underworld.

Abandoned by her self-absorbed poet-lover, she rides elevators, has long conversations with stones, defends herself against suspicious men, and finds comfort in the companionship of the ghost of her dead father, though, to his sorrow, she cannot remember who he is. She struggles to recall what it was to be alive and who she was. At last, her easily distracted lover arrives to deliver her. Or will he?

“There’s a sort of beautiful simplicity to the production which makes it feel like a story of a couple who just happen to be dealing with the underworld. Rather than epic, it feels oddly, awkwardly human. It’s a Greek myth scaled down to human proportions. Instead of an all too perfect tragic love story between an untouchable young couple, it becomes the story of a woman who has a creepy guy hit on her on her wedding day. It’s simple, it’s quiet, it’s deeply personal. While this “Eurydice” sidesteps the grand gestures what it gains is simpler story of a woman who’s facing a hostile world with a husband who’s distracted, a man who keeps harassing her, and a world filled with rules to keep her life small. City Garage’s take…lets you hear the play and taps into a vein that feels honest and a bit raw.” — Anthony Byrnes, “Opening The Curtain” KCRW

“What Ruhl does, and this wonderful cast does under the direction of Frederique Michel, is focus not upon Orpheus but what this story means from Eurydice’s point of view….Words alone by a playwright rarely haunt or move. They are meant to be acted out, and this cast captures the eerie and quietly human voyage of these characters. City Garage can and often does perform outrageously stylized works. They do these so very well. But my favorites have always been when the simple life of the characters shine through, the decisions and consequences and experience of what is happening. Eurydice counts as one of my favorites from this company, because even a Stone, even a God, still seem somehow human. The humans meanwhile make me ache for them. Especially the title character, due in larger part to the actor who portrays her.” — David MacDowell Blue, Night Tinted Glasses

“Director Frederique Michel, designer Charles A. Duncombe, and videographer Anthony Sannazzaro—and of course the gifted cast—work considerable stage magic with Ruhl’s slight, whimsical, but (at times) charming play. I came away feeling glad I had seen it.” Will Manus, Total Theatre

Eurydice is a whimsical, often thoughtful exploration of memory as life and loss of memory as death. There’s much more than a tragic love story here. Ruhl’s combination of Becket and Alice in Wonderland leaves a stream of thoughts trickling through your brain long after the flood of images has subsided.”
-Oakland Tribune

Fourth Weekend Q&A: Informal discussion with the cast, crew and director Sunday, September 1st, after the 3:00pm performance.

This project is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the California Arts Council, and by the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Arts Commission.

“War in the Times of Love” by Jeton Neziraj

New Play Reading
War in the Times of Love
by Jeton Neziraj

Sunday, May 19 @ 7:00pm
“Pay-what-you-can”
Directed by Ann Bronson

City Garage is excited to begin introducing its audience to the work of one of Europe’s most important new playwrights, Jeton Neziraj.

This play, set in an imaginary beauty parlor—within an insane asylum—is the scene of mesmerizing confessions, as four “odd” women evade the traumas of their past by escaping to a shared imaginary world in which they take refuge as in a dream. Neziraj creates a disturbing and cathartic play, blending the mundane and the fantastic, to wrestle with the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

Neziraj, author of more than twenty-five plays that have been performed all over the world, was voted “European of the Year” in 2018” for his promotion of progressive ideas and values, and has been called “the Kafka of the Balkans.”

Join us for this special reading, the first in a series of readings of new plays this year, and an introduction to our production of Neziraj’s newest work “Department of Dreams” coming to City Garage this fall.

Please let us know you’re coming! Call 310-453-9939 or email citygargage@citygarage.org to RSVP (not required, but much appreciated).

“Exit the King” by Eugène Ionesco

“The Bourgeois Gentleman” by Molière

“Winter Solstice” by Roland Schimmelpfenig

“The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” by Bertolt Brecht