If you are interested in a two-act play about self-sufficiency and the doors it opens, make a beaten path to the Combined Artform production of
Alex M. Frankel’s “Revocable Trust” running at Studio C on Theatre Row at 6448 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, CA through October 14th.
This is a story about a sensitive, young teacher who is disinherited by her father because of a money-hungry gold digger who stops at nothing to satisfy her greed and selfishness.
The language on the Opening Night when this critic witnessed the play, is raw, stark and naked, yet bears its soul with every breath, each sonic syllable, and its heart with every predicate.
There is a remarkable richness, clarity and pathos in the writing. The words contain an uncommon honesty and sincerity that go a long way toward creating, breaking down, explaining and presenting the characters.
Frankel’s hope chest is filled to the brim with humility, spirituality and a genuine but kind reality.
But let nothing steer us, the audience, from the truth.
This show is a melodrama inspired by a true story.
The playwright should be deeply commended for having the courage, commitment and spontaneity to bring it to the stage.
The poet, playwright, editor, memoirist, critic and short story writer gives us every reason to believe in the goodness of humanity,
but lets us know that that love does not come without a serious and rigorous fight.
Director John Coppola infuses the play with an electricity and grit second to none.
His old-fashioned American can-do spirit and innocent charm frame Frankel’s language in a giving and open forum
pregnant with possibility and passion, not pain and suffering.
The native of Brooklyn, New York comprehends the metaphors, mistakes and melancholy in Frankel’s beautiful echo of a scream.
The Broadway veteran assembles a gifted cast that understands the complexity and power of the storyteller’s words.
Stand outs include:
Michael Moret (Miguel/Carlos) who gives a memorable and convincing turn notable for its
compassion and intense ache. Like the transparent orange sun on this, Autumn’s first Saturday, Moret’s idealistic trubadour kicks open door after door with but a tepid touch
of his wisdom and generosity.
The native of Mexico City, Mexico and expert in the Stanislavski method of acting, is a talented actor unafraid of sharing his deepest dreams and aspirations.
Look out for more from this thespian wonder.
Monica Martin (Rhoda Goldfarb) nearly runs away with the play in a portrayal at once pure and energetic.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma native brings a stage presence and wickedness to her role that only further her already considerable reach.
The owner of The Complex Theatre in Hollywood, CA captures the character from head to toe, heart to soul.
She misses nary a beat in defining and constructing the part.
A larger-than-life-characterization mark this broad and substantial effort.
This is theatre at its bravest and boldest.
The way it should be.
But running away with the show is Emily Button (Leilani Hirsch) whose modesty, humanity and sacred sanity make for a performance
drenched in every emotion but vanity.
The veteran stage and screen actress has recurred on NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” and acted in over fifty plays, films and television shows.
Here she shines because of the turquoise sky in her soul and the aqua green stream in her heart.
Each moment not only marries the next, but carries the hexed with a perseverance and motivation mostly unseen in these parts.
Button’s vulnerability is in stark contrast to Martin’s animosity and insecurity.
In this play, those strong feelings bared and shared are gold minted in bars.
Button digs deep here to unearth a holy mix of mud, magic and mauder never leaving us guessing as to her true emotions.
She is beautiful in her pained, yet hopeful countenance
This critic hopes to see Button on the stages of Hollywood and Los Angeles again very soon.
Also furthering the message of the play are Alex Nicholas’ innovative sound design and Rob Saduski’s compelling costume design.
All in all, “Revocable Trust” succeeds because of its focus on disinheritance, dishonesty and disloyalty, not despite it.
The production is proof that a talented playwright, director and cast can weave platinum out of life’s everyday proceedings.
Often fueled by our laughter, this show is much more drama that happens to get laughs than comedy.
Its unswerving and direct message is true, full and monumental in its capability, grasp and lust for perfection.
The play soars on its own wings, not somebody else’s, and shows that even the most basic of circumstances deserve consideration and attention
for merely being human, including a brilliant monologue from Leilani Hirsch about applying makeup.
Set in America in 1956, this production also displays a willingness to take bold risks beyond staying true to its place and time morally, ethically and historically.
If the evening was any less inspirational, motivational or deeply productive in voice, valor and variety, we would have an argument to stay home.
As is, this intimate but visceral masterpiece recalls not only why we are Americans in the first place, but why we adore our country, pimples and warts notwithstanding,
and offers reason to view this powerhouse presentation again and again.
Leaving living room and television set far behind.
The play also proves that all seems well at the Studio C Artists Institute of which Coppola is a co-founder.
The thriving acting ensemble being given birth on Santa Monica Boulevard on Theatre Row is fresh, deeply exciting and positioned to be one of the
most gifted, flexible and far-reaching theatre companies in Los Angeles, if not the country.
Kudos and more to all involved.
By Radomir Vojtech Luza
Theatre and Book Critic
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM
Sundays at 3PM
Tickets: $20 online
$25 at the door
Where: Studio C,
6448 Santa Monica Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(On Theatre Row)
Review of Combined Artform’s Production of Alex M. Frankel’s REVOCABLE TRUST on Theatre Row in Hollywood, CA February 3rd, 2019Radomir Vojtech Luza