uh, yeah, there's a little bit of theater in L.A. part deux

If you're seriously involved in Los Angeles theater AND you've not been living under a rock for the past week or so, you've already heard the wind-up to this conversation several times on different platforms. A distillation of what went down:

The LA Times Culture Monster announced a roundtable discussion around the question "Is LA a theater town?" featuring a panel of talented, distinguished folks who, together, could hardly be described as coming close to representing LA theater in full. In response, Colin Mitchell of the website Bitter Lemons got the ball rolling with a rabble-rousing facebook post connected to his blog. From there, comments flew fast and furious (mostly bewildered and/or negative and all of which have now been removed) onto the Culture Monster page wondering over the makeup of the panel and decrying the topic question as hardly the one we need to be asking.

So, ready to talk it out, this past Tuesday hundreds of us drove downtown through rush hour traffic, parked our cars for $10 a pop and took our seats only to listen to a bizarrely underwhelming and largely irrelevant back and forth that left most of us looking around in disbelief when it was cut short with no opportunity for Q&A. That night in response, Executive Director of the Theatre @ Boston Court, Michael Seel, took to facebook to ask those of us who were there "what was the conversation YOU wanted the panelists to have?" The comments, mine included, point to the fact that plenty of artists and arts administrators in this town intend to have a serious say in what the conversation actually needs to be.

You can read the distillation of Michael's post and the comments it drew at Boston Court's regularly excellent blog "we PLAY different". I invite you to continue the conversation in the comments section below or wherever you see fit. But continue it, let's do.

get inspired by: bill viola

I just learned I'll be directed by world-renowned contemporary video artist, Bill Viola, on his next project, and I couldn't be more excited. Anyone who knows his work knows that the image above is iconic Viola, from "An Ocean Without A Shore."

Here's a short video by the Tate that shows this 2007 exhibit in motion along with Bill explaining the vision behind it and the cutting edge technology they used to make it. Take a look--it's SO cool.

The as-yet-untitled piece I've been cast in was commissioned by no less than the Church of England, will be a collection of the Tate and will live in permanent installation at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. The piece will span the entire life of Mary, mother of Jesus, from her life as a young woman to old age, through the Annunciation to her Assumption to Heaven. I'll play Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, from the time she herself is pregnant with John the Baptist through Mary's Assumption.

We start shooting next week in a beautiful location in Ojai, California. Per Wikipedia: "Bill Viola's exhibition profile, which includes the National Gallery, London, Guggenheim Berlin, Guggenheim New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Getty Los Angeles, California, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York marks him as a major contemporary artist."

If you'd like to see more about Bill's work, definitely click here.

Image by Bill Viola from  "An Ocean without a Shore" 2007

get inspired by: joel daavid

Tennessee Williams' ode to fragile beauty, "Eccentricities of a Nightingale" opens in just a few short days at A Noise Within. The set design, by the extraordinarily talented and inventive Joel Daavid, beautifully echos the themes of this fractured fairy tale. It's like playing on a piece of art.

I've fallen head over heels in love with Daavid's work, including this assemblage piece "Fantasie Ephemere." For more of his gorgeous, inspiring, haunting creations and photos, visit www.jdaavid.com.