Lydie Breeze at The Open Fist Theater


“A production of considerable beauty. . . . [Director] Smith sustains a gripping harmony of majesty and sardonic wit.” — LA Weekly Recommended!

“Compelling [and] entertaining” — LA Times Recommended!

“incredibly gripping story. . . . This is a powerful play with some very effective scenes–kudos to everyone in the cast for a fine performance.”

Open Fist Theatre Company is proud to present the West Coast premiere of John Guare’s astonishing tale of the painful yet enduring power of American idealism, LYDIE BREEZE. Hurtling from comedy to tragedy, to satire to melodrama and back again, LYDIE BREEZE tells the gripping story of a disastrously failed utopian commune in late 19th century Nantucket and its aftermath. Years after its scandalous end, the children return to sift through the ashes of their tumultuous past. Aiming to heal the confusion in their lives, they find themselves enmeshed, yet again, in age-old rivalries and buried desires — all the while haunted by memories of the commune’s amorous founder and dominating spirit, Lydie Breeze. Old passions are rekindled, revenges taken and tragedies repeated – never in a way that one expects. (This version of Lydie Breeze is the original play — not the subsequent two-play cycle.)

“Lydie Breeze,” the Open Fist Theatre, 1625 N. La Brea Ave., Hollywood. 8 p.m. Fridays through Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends Dec. 4. $18, Sundays pay what you can. (323) 882-6912. Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes.

L.A. Weekly Nomination – Best Revival Production

Roberto Zucco at the Open Fist Theatre Company

A previously anonymous man escapes from prison, kills his parents and embarks on a murderous quest through a labyrinthine metropolis. Who is Roberto Zucco, and why does he kill? While a dysfunctional community tries to ward off the trail of darkness as some demonic external force, the murderer himself, Roberto Zucco, appears to be the least callous, and most honest of them all. Based on the true story of a young Italian man, Roberto Succo, who went on a crime spree while on limited release from a psychiatric hospital.

The playwright, Bernard-Marie Koltes was born in 1948 in eastern France and died of AIDS at the age of 41. Bernard-Marie Koltes, through almost unknown in the U.S., outside of New York, is one of the most frequently produced playwrights in Europe, and considered the heir of Genet and Beckett. The London Times wrote that he was, “a creator of mythology of the underworld, a champion of the underdog and the lone wolf, and a pioneer of a wholly new style of dramatic writing.”

Open Fist Theater Company, 1625 N. La Brea Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru July 17. (323) 882-6912

  • LA TIMES: “Director Russell Milton and his hardworking 21-member cast make the theme of society’s preoccupation with violence abundantly clear in a stylish staging for Open Fist Theatre Company . . .”
  • LA WEEKLY RECOMMENDED! “bring(s) abundant humor to an episodic series of grimly suspenseful scenes in which the audience is left guessing who will be Zucco’s next victim. . . . Standouts include Kieffer’s hilarious prison guard/police officer, Rebecca Metz’s acerbic madam and Michelle Haner’s wickedly cynical rich lady whom Zucco abducts in the show’s dramatic zenith.”

Abingdon Square at the Open Fist Theatre

Open Fist Theatre Company presents Abingdon Square by Maria Irene Fornes Directed by Martha Demson

LA WEEKLY RECOMMENDS!  “Martha Demson’s superb direction underscores the Jamesian ambiguity in María Irene Fornés’ period drama . . . [Demson] has an eye for creating gorgeous stage tableaux . . . Dan Reed’s moody lighting deserves special mention.” — Sandra Ross

LA TIMES PRAISES  “Demson’s direction is appropriately calm and circumspect, and she creates some marvelously ambiguous, haunting stage pictures with Maureen Weiss and Josh Worth’s set and Dan Reed’s lights. . . . it’s to the credit of Demson and her committed cast, particularly Fox and Blakesley, whose striking mismatch proves to be as strangely moving as it is disorienting.” — Rob Kendt

CURTAINUP.COM RAVES!  “. . . chiseled by Fornes into a play full of depths and unexpected byways. . . . Fornes is considered one of the most prominent American avant-garde playwrights. Seeing her turn her hand to a conventional form in a repressive period is of great interest and a testament to her infinite variety. . . . Heather Fox and James Brandon vividly express the pain and confusion of Marion and Michael. . . . Blakesley’s portrait of Juster shows a devastating transition to a man torn by anguish and fury.” — Laura Hitchcock

Open Fist Theatre Company presents the Los Angeles premiere of Maria Irene Fornes’ ABINGDON SQUARE. In turn-of-the-century New York, a grief-stricken girl of 15, recently bereft of her parents, finds comfort and relief in marriage to a man old enough to be her father. As this child becomes a woman, and desire for security turns to a desperate need for sexual fulfillment, what once was a comfort becomes a nightmare for both husband and wife. ABINGDON SQUARE shows us a tender yet frightening examination of the marriage bond.

“Abingdon Square” presented by the Open Fist Theatre, 1625 N. La Brea, Hollywood. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 7 p.m. Jan. 9-Feb. 14. (323) 882-6912.

L.A. Weekly Award – Best Lighting Design, Dan Reed
L.A. Weekly Nomination – Best Director, Martha Demson
L.A. Weekly Nomination – Leading Female Performer, Heather Fox


The Cosmonaut’s Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union At the Open Fist Theatre Company

LA Weekly Pick of the Week! “. . . directed by Stefan Novinski with a pristine blend of tenderness and humor. The precariousness of memory, a series of ironic coincidences, and phrases occasionally repeated by different characters in contrary situations all establish the wistful, poetical tone — through which Novinski and his perfect cast navigate so brilliantly.” — Steven Leigh Morris

Backstage West Raves! “[Greig] builds this play much like a composer builds a chord, each new note resonating with the note before while adding a new shade of color, until the final effect is a stunningly unified whole. Director Stefan Novinski’s intriguing vision of the play is brought to life here by a uniformly stellar and brilliantly cast ensemble.” — Laura Weinert “the message flows under the fluid direction of Stefan Novinski. . . . The ensemble aptly renders portraits of these lonely people, giving them dignity even when they are ridiculous or repugnant.” — Jana J. Monji

Scottish playwright David Greig’s mesmerizing tone poem on the limits of communication traces a web that connects such diverse characters as a Scottish civil servant and his wife, a Norwegian diplomat, a Russian exotic dancer, a French UFO researcher and a pregnant detective, to two cosmonauts orbiting endlessly above them.

Open Fist Theater,
1625 N. La Brea Ave. Hlywd.
Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 22. (323) 882-6912.

L.A. Weekly Award – Best Production of 2003
L.A. Weekly Award – Best Director, Stefan Novinski
L.A. Weekly Award – Best Production Design
L.A. Weekly Nomination – Ensemble
L.A. Weekly Nomination – Lighting Design. Dan Reed

Fen at The Open Fist Theatre Company

Open Fist Theater, 1625 N. La Brea Ave., Hlywd. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m (all Sun. perfs pay-what-you-will) thru Nov. 23. (323) 882-6912

  • Garland Award – Direction, Stefan Novinski
  • Garland Award – Set Design, Donna Marquet
  • Garland Award – Lighting Design, Dan Reed
  • Garland Award – Sound Design, Drew Dalzell
  • Garland Award Honorable Mention – Acting, Tish Hicks
  • Garland Award Honorable Mention – Acting, Christy Keefe
  • L.A. Weekly Award Nomination – Revival
  • L.A. Weekly Award Nomination – Ensemble
  • L.A. Weekly Award Nomination – Direction, Stefan Novinski
  • L.A. Weekly Award Nomination – Lighting Design, Dan Reed
  • L.A. Weekly Award Nomination – Sound Design, Drew Dalzell

White Cold Virgin Snow- Empire Red Lip at Glaxa Studios

“The White Cold Virgin Snow,” Glaxa Studios, 3707 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake. Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Ends Oct. 26. $12. (213) 228-9599. Running time: 2 hours.

LA Times Review- ‘Virgin Snow’ Offers a Curious Spin on Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ – Los Angeles Times

Murdered Sleep- Empire Red Lip at Glaxa Studios

“Murdered Sleep: Meditations on Shakespeare’s Macbeth,” Glaxa Studios, 3707 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake. Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Ends March 23. $12. (213) 666-6130 Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes.

LA Times Review- ‘Sleep’: Modern Character Studies of Macbeth – Los Angeles Times