‘Getting There!’ Rebecca O’Brien is a First-Class Ride…

By Ernest Kearney  —  Rebecca O’Brien runs for a bus.  Projected on the back wall of the Hudson Theatre is the photo of a bus stop familiar to any of us who have ridden the 217 down Fairfax Avenue.

Thus the audience is enticed into O’Brien’s tale of surviving cancer.  What is unique, one could say wonderfully unique, about O’Brien’s take on this sadly too familiar story is that cancer itself isn’t a character in her play.  It isn’t even afforded a cameo role. In fact, it’s barely atmosphere.

Front stage and center is a celebration of surviving and the cavalcade of Dickensian characters to whom O’Brien credits a portion of her survival.

Between 2016 and 2019, O’Brien traveled the 217 bus to her treatment appointments with Stella, her small service dog, usually sleeping snugly in her purse.  Getting There! is a compendium of the individuals she shared those rides with, or as O’Brien calls them “The strangers who had my back.”

Getting There! is unique in two aspects.  First is O’Brien’s writing which is executed with a briefness and a beauty that echoes Haiku poetry.  I am hard-pressed to recall a solo show with less language that has said so much. 

Based on notes O’Brien jotted down in waiting rooms after arriving for her treatments each episode reflects the succinctness of that time restraint but enhanced with a clarity of vision bestowed by the proximity of one’s mortality.

Platinum Medal - via The TVolution

The other aspect this show possesses is O’Brien herself, an actress of justly esteemed talent.  A single line of dialogue a slight adjustment of the shoulders, and suddenly you have a fully formed character on stage before you. 

What you are given here is a painfully joyous honest observation of the courage of a found community crushing cancer under its communal heel and the unspoken reminder that in the end, we all rely on the kindness of strangers.

The first Platinum Medal of HFF23!



Getting There! is running during the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2023
at the
Hudson Theatre (Hudson Guild) in Hollywood.

For Hollywood Fringe Festival Details, Getting There! Show Information and Tickets Click HERE.


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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