Performer, Verenice Zuniga

By Ernest Kearney  —  Verenice Zuniga shares with her audiences a journey.  Unfortunately it is a journey less like an odyssey of personal discovery and more like the morning rush hour commute to your office on the 405.  

We have been taken down this road before by Ms. Zuniga.  So often in fact, that we know precise moments to place our McDonald’s caramel lattes within the coffee holders, to avoid the gaping pot holes.

In Estrawbery Fields Forever, which ran during Hollywood Fringe Fest ’21, Ms. Zuniga has also done herself a disservice by approaching her piece more like a poetry reading than a dramatic narrative, which has produced not rhyming couplets but crippling repetition to the point where her thirty-minute performance seems more like an hour.

The night I attended, Ms. Zuniga also violated the Fringe’s Second Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Over Runneth Your Time!”  This resulted in my arriving at the next show I had scheduled twelve minutes late.

Directed by Katherine Arevalo, according to the production notes, a graduate from UC Santa Barbara’s directing program, I will assume she was out sick the day they discussed pacing.

No medal awarded.


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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.

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