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The Cup Runneth Over in “House of Tales”

By Ernest Kearney  —  House of Tales is bursting with concepts and ideas to the point of avalanching the audience underneath them.

Director Changting Lu has an actor wandering the lobby, even before the show commences, all wide-eyed with a lit, ball-shaped lantern searching every corner of the foyer and each individual’s face as if he were Diogenes of Sinope searching for an honest man.

“House of Tales, “Writer, Director Changting Lu

Once inside the theatre, the audience finds itself in a vortex of swirling and disjointed data:

A Chinese folk tale of a fish who fell in love with poet –

“His poems are water to my heart… !”

Actors shuffling in cadence about the stage conversing in a language not my own –

A disembodied Google Map voice intoning directions that abruptly breaks off, only to repeat –

Actors whispering cryptic messages to the audience –

A “Big Brother” figure who unwinds caution tape between the audience and the stage, which may be the most fitting image for this entire effort.

Are there ideas and thoughts here?

Undoubtedly – a surfeit of them.  Dangling before the audience like – if you’ll pardon the cultural cross-referencing – a defiant piñata daring you to take a swing.

Overall the presentation was one of a tightly-controlled structure, a precisely-chiseled artistry that felt unnervingly constrained.

Silver Medal (via The TVolution)I can’t claim to understand all that was placed before me.  Then again, perhaps Lu and her ensemble of young Chinese and Chinese-American actors are uninterested in being understood and seek only to be experienced.

Well, an experience it is.

A SILVER MEDAL for House of Tales for, while it unsettled it did not impact.

Or maybe I was just unable to strike the piñata hard enough.

♦    ♦    ♦

House of Tales

Is playing during Hollywood Fringe 2018

at

The Complex Hollywood, The Dorie Theatre

6476 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

For Information, Tickets and Reservations Go To

http://hff18.org/4948


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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. After a wild and misspent youth, which lasted well into middle age, Kearney has settled down and is focusing on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. Ernest’s stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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