and unplanned pregnancy are a wild variety of people (and animals), all
of whom are played by nine young actors.
The key to the difficult task of keeping track of who's showing up
where, and why on Erth they suddenly changed careers, is keeping
playwright Naomi Iizuka's multitude of messages in perspective.
The "Aloha" cast is hard-working, enthusiastic, often delightful to
watch and well-paced. Unfortunately, the play itself wants to be funnier
than it really is, a barrier that even the most experienced performers
would have difficulty overcoming.
Instead of breaking new ground, this black and innovative comedy has
frenetic roots in Thorton Wilder's "Skin of Our Teeth." The audience's
job is made more difficult by the fact that this junior college cast is,
understandably, still busy polishing its performance skills. That's what
college is for.
What's more, the themes in the play beg for actors in their early 30s,
instead of their teens and 20s.
It's just a matter of how much life experience is needed before an
actor can deal convincingly with themes like grief, forgiveness, growth
and reconciliation and at the same time possess razor-sharp comedy
Everyone seems to be having a great time on stage, despite any
drawbacks in the material.
Special mention goes to RB Dilanchian as a twirling dervish of an
actor with a wonderfully deadpan sense of physical comedy, who could very
well continue on to the professional career the program notes claim he's
seeking. And just looking at Christopher M. Fillipi's sweetly sincere
face, as he searches endlessly for his lost dog, will bring a smile to
Director Mary Sullivan's staging works best in transition sequences,
when the 10-member ensemble meets to dance together into another world,
or in the effortless set changes from one locale into the next.
She is ably assisted by the compact and colorful set design of Guido
Etalli, and by the unique sound design of Michael Arvizu, who adds just
the right number of bird calls.
All in all, it's good to see a college challenge its students with
original material instead of taking the easier and more commercial road.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: "Aloha, Say The Pretty Girls" by Naomi Iizuka.
WHERE: Glendale Community College/Studio Theatre, 1500 N. Verdugo
WHEN: 8 p.m. tonight and Thursday, Friday and Nov. 17; and 2 p.m.
Sunday and Nov. 18. Closes Nov. 18.
TICKETS: $7, $5 for students/seniors and $3 for groups.
RESERVATIONS: 240-1000, ext. 5618.