By Ernest Kearney — It seems as if the era of Zoom-plays may be winding down. Hip-hip-hurray!

Forgive me. I know they existed as a means for theatre companies to maintain relevance to quarantined subscribers and to keep actors and other creative souls from gnawing their fingernails down to the floorboards, but for me they were on par with quaffing down lite beer or Indian kissing sans the Indian.

That said, if 7 Step Process by Lee Wochner is the last Zoom-play I sit through, it will be nice to say I went out on a high point.
The formula for the success of this piece is simplicity itself, and by that I mean clarity of intention joined by a strong ensemble and a gifted production collective.

The tale told is straightforward and likely recognizable to many.

Howard (Ross Kramer) the “wizard” behind a flourishing marketing firm feels himself floundering as he tries to meet clients’ needs and the expectations of his partners Janelle (Madelynn Fattibene) and Terrance (Jon Sprik) the tech-savvy, young Turk “brand ambassador” whose sole interest is increasing sales of the company’s highly successful seven-step strategy regardless of who he may decide needs relocating beneath the wheels of a bus.

Confined in his home by the pandemic with his son Aidan (Jory Kramer) Howard is decidedly skewed by the lack of personal contacts with his clients and hamstrung by the intricacies of PowerPoint, data-tracking and Zoom demand.

The play, aptly, unfolds in seven scenes.

First, we watch as Howard struggles with Brad (Jon Amirkhan) of American Toilets, a major client, in a scene during which we can almost hear the flushing of the relationship.

From there we progress scene by scene to learn that Howard’s company is hemorrhaging customers along with the profits they bring, and of a simmering palace coup by his business partners that builds to a climatic confrontation.

For Wockner who, when not penning plays, is himself a partner in a marketing strategy firm, all this must be well-traveled ground, for he certainly sprints across it with the grace of a seven-point bull wapiti.

In this romp he is served by an exceedingly competent cast; Ross Kramer is a compelling lynch pin with whom to draw the viewer into the plotting of Fattibene as his conflicted partner and Sprik as the conniving devotee of social Darwinism.

Amirkhan shows a stark brilliance as the WC CEO for whom porcelain profits are the bottom line.

Jory Kramer and his enticing schoolmate Emily (Fatima Martinez) solidly set the stage (or screen) for Wochner to pull out a tidy second climax to reaffirm his overall theme, and Sara J. Stuckey as Hannah sits high in her saddle as she rides the cavalry to the rescue.

Now it is correct that the devil is in the details, but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that so are the angels.

And it was those details not neglected in Paul Stein’s direction, the stage managing of JJ Jackman and Carla Barnett’s producing that provided the necessary buffing to give the extra shine to this little digital diamond.

* * *

7 Step Process

streaming now on Zoom

performed in 7 scenes without intermission

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 and Follow him on Facebook.

Latest comment
  • What am amazing production. Never saw a play on zoom before and was very impressed on how this came off. The acting was great!!!!!!!


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