Departuresat curtainup.com Finally, a real charmer. In this season of heavy-duty, industrial strength plays, it's a real delight to just sit in a comfortable theater and watch a cluster of really good actors do their thing. http://www.curtainup.com/departuresla.html
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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
It's a simple premise: a dozen people in an airport departure lounge live out a significant moment in their lives before some of them depart on the trips that will make or break their dreams. The individual vignettes were written by the actors themselves, or other members of the company, and were compiled, condensed, and composed into a solid, interactive whole by Artistic Director James J. Mellon.
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There is the cranky man in the wheelchair (Danny Murphy) whose grim outlook is altered by the African-American porter (Curtis C.) assigned to wheel him around.
There is the sweetly bickering gay couple (Jonathan Zenz and Michael Craig Shapiro) who are going to China to adopt a baby girl.
And there is the runaway bride (Andrea Lockhart), in full wedding regalia, who discusses her misgivings with a pilot (Roger Ainsle) who has suddenly developed a fear of flying. When the groom (J.R. Mangles) finally shows up, also in wedding regalia, he is without his pants, since something in them continually set off the security buzzer.
A man (Robert Arbogast) sitting quiety in the corner is revealed to be a runaway groom. "Fidelity is non-negotiable," he claims. An older man (Bob Morrisey), determined to bring his soldier grandson home from Iraq, is confronted by his son (Jim Lunsford), the boy's father, who tries to talk him out of it. And a flight attendant (Effie Hortis) carries on an intermittent phone conversation with the answering machine of her lover in Spain.
Presiding over all is a busybody (Melanie Ewbanks) carrying a doll (played by a doll) that she talks to continually, when she isn't offering advice and good cheer to the others in the lounge. She "can't help but overhear" their discussions and phone calls and takes it upon herself to offer them pithy words that might have come from the mouth of Pollyanna. Who is she, and where is she going with her smiling baby doll?
It's an excellent ensemble, expertly directed by Bob Morrisey and well-served by Dana Moran Williams' simple scenic design. The lounge itself consists of rows of chairs, but in the background are five gorgeous flaming red panels of the setting sun shining on clouds. Each vignette is complemented by Luke Moyer's lighting and Megan S. Densmore's costumes---especially the flamboyant wedding dress, all satin and lace and puffed sleeves and long train of the runaway bride.
Departureswill continue at the NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 through February 24th. As it says on the program, "Sometimes you just gotta go."
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide