IAMA Presents ‘Redline’ by Christian Durso

by Ernest Kearney  —  Forgiveness is a bitch.

Whether it’s forgiving ourselves, our family, our spouses, fate, God or the cut of the cards, forgiveness is just a bitch.

This seems to be the theme of Christian Durso’s Redline now playing in rep with Sinner’s Laundry as part of the IAMA Theatre Company’s celebration of their tenth anniversary season.

The story opens in the secluded Owens Valley home of Raymond (James Eckhouse), who establishes the past events and sets the stage for those to come.  Raymond explains how his life, his family, his world ended in five seconds of road rage and why he took up smoking at 41. (“It crackled like a Christmas gift unwrapping.”)

This prolonged monologue takes us on a more perilous journey than expected and, in and of itself, could serve as a solid performance piece, but playwright Durso folds the story on itself by the introduction of a second character and his tale; Jamie (Graham Sibley) the estranged son of Raymond.

There is a third character on stage, Detroit.

James Eckhouse in 'Redline.'

James Eckhouse as Raymond in ‘Redline.’  (Photo by Dean Cechvala – Courtesy of IAMA Theatre Company)

Well, more precisely, America’s mania with the combustible engine and all that it engenders.

Both Raymond and Jamie share a passion for and a demise caused by that mania.

There are few moments where a car is not central in this piece, almost taking on the presence of the Gods in a Greek tragedy.  But Durso sets up the God that Ford built as more forgiving than the fragile creatures that constructed it.

“Is there anything else in the world that smells like hope?” Raymond asks about the smell of a new car.

That is understandable, for when one sits behind the wheel of a new car for the first time there are— as yet —no accidents, no gridlock, no ambulances, no parking tickets or fender benders; there’s only the road; untraveled and unblemished.

Durso’s Redline is intelligent, well-crafted and moving.  It is, in short, masterful.

Both Sibley and Eckhouse deliver dead-on performances and  Eli Gonda’s exceptionally deft direction ties a bow on this evening which is a gift to any theater-goer.   Kudos as well to Josh Epstein’s lighting scheme, which joins with the rest of the IAMA Company to give this work the mounting it deserves.

My suggestion: Put the pedal to the metal and race this one right up to the top of your “to see” list.

♦    ♦    ♦

(In Featured Image Performers: James Eckhouse and Graham Sibley — Photo by Dean Cechvala)

plays through this November 19 at :

The Lounge Theatre
6201 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90038
(just east of Vine)

Remaining Performances:

• Friday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m.: Redline
• Sunday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.: Redline
• Friday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m.: Redline
• Sunday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.: Redline

For Tickets and Information

• Call 323-380-8843 or go to www.iamatheatre.com

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Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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