Friday, May 28, 2010

While we love all theater critics and their publications equally, it's hard for us not to hold a special place in our hearts for the O.C. Weekly, which has proven itself particularly ardent in its support of local storefronts. And so we're rather gratified to see intrepid Weekly reviewer Stacy Davies deliver her take on pool (no water):
Director Barton and choreographers [and co-directors] Melita Ann Sagar and Lee Samuel Tanng took on a monster with this production—a bare-bones text with single sentences parsed out among actors with no characterizations, directions or descriptions on the page. Employing a cohesive and impressive creative vision, the trio manages to transform the small, brick-wall-enclosed space into a melee of projected videos, revving soundtrack, focused light and creeping shadows that meld into dark, crude poetry. There are no props, save a gurney and a single cluster of shower curtains; these minimalist representations serve the production well, keeping Ravenhill’s disembodied tale in the abstract nightmare world in which all human excess is amplified.

Cast members Lamprinos, Peter Balgoyen, Christopher Basile, Keith Bennett, Sean Engard, Terri Mowrey and Alexander Price are decisively twisted archetypes of the oversexed, overdrugged and self-absorbed pals and co-workers who can inhabit many of our lives; the energy and courage with which the actors bare their strife and bodies is a sight to behold.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

O.C. Theater Reviews is a new, potentially exciting addition to the Orange County theater scene: it's a (weekly?) podcast intent on giving honest reviews of local productions. Their very first episode has just gone up, and we're quite honored that it's focused on Monkey Wrench Collective's U.S. premiere of pool (no water). Reviewers Stephen John, Mike Martin and Billy Jones have a lot of interesting observations to make about the production and the theater, but because our egomania knows no bounds, we'll just give you a little taste here that happens to double suspiciously well as a pull-quote: "Was it worth $15? Absolutely. Absolutely... The new Monkey Wrench Collective are bringing their A-game... I really think Monkey Wrench has far surpassed its Rude Guerrilla [roots]."

You can listen to the podcast here, and, as always, secure your reservations for the show by calling 714.525.1400. Only six performances left.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Over at the Spark O.C. blog, Rick Stein has a thoughtful, anti-structuralist weigh-in on pool (no water). We had considered offering our own deconstructionalist rebuttal to the Waynes Booth school of thought here, but alas, became irrevocably distracted by the sight of our own names once again rendered in print, and have thus chosen to focus our full attention on the blog's final paragraph:
As for Monkey Wrench's production... their tiny, brick-walled storefront on the main street is a lovely space for this kind of work. Dave Barton and two other credited directors Melita Ann Sagar and Lee Samuel Tanng have taken Ravenhill's 70-minute musings and woven into them a kinetic, lively and engaging production, carefully choreographed and infused with music. The cast is a well-oiled ensemble that never misses a beat. It's playing to full houses on the weekends through June 6, and is a welcome addition to Fullerton's bustling scene of small, hip theatre companies.
A few reservations remain for this weekend's performance. 714.525.1400. Thoughts on authorial intent welcome.


Friday, May 21, 2010

The next review for pool (no water) is up, coming to us this time from Jordan Young (who we just noticed you can follow on twitter. Kids these days with their technology and their gadgets and their whatnots.):
If the US premiere of Mark Ravenhill’s “pool (no water)” is any indication, and I suspect it is, [Monkey Wrench Collective] is out to shake up the status quo and challenge the definition of theatre -- or what passes for theatre in OC, at any rate.

Ravenhill’s latest is ostensibly about a group of artists and the tragic accident that befalls the most successful of them, but it’s more about the nature of friendship. It’s an eloquent tapestry of words, closer to a prose poem than a play. As directed by Dave Barton, Melita Ann Sagar and Lee Samuel Tanng, and choreographed by Sagar and Tanng, this bold and uncompromising effort resembles a work of modern dance that is striking in design and execution.
Pool continues its run this weekend at the MWC space in downtown Fullerton. Tickets $15 General / $10 students. 714.525.1400 for reservations.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Coming June 3rd:

The Fever
Written by Wallace Shawn. 

Directed by "Greg Adkins". Starring Melanie Gable. 
Musical performance by Teresa Chan Escober.

Tickets are available now. Just $10.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Courtesy Eric Marchese of the O.C. Register comes the first review of our first official show in the new space, the U.S. Premiere of Mark Ravenhill's "pool (no water)":

In some spots, "pool" has a tone that's lightly ironic, reflecting a puckish sensibility; in others, its mixture of colored lights, amped sound and vicious action yield a feeling of psychedelia.

A scene about halfway through the play, set to a pulsating electronic rock score, is highly stylized. In fact, much of "pool" has the look and feel of the best small indie filmmakers – a fact as much attributable to [co-director Dave] Barton as to Ravenhill.

It doesn't take us long to adjust to the vicious nature of those depicted in "pool," and Barton does all he can to augment that sense. Filled with colorful lighting, dozens of photographs, a rock music underscore and plenty of well-choreographed speech and movement, his staging is graphic and vivid.

Like earlier Barton-directed plays, "pool (no water)" has elements of strong language, nudity and violence. While some may see these as gratuitous, they're anything but, always employed within the service of Ravenhill's concepts.
We would, of course, be utterly remiss if we did not mention that "Pool" is opening tonight at 6pm. Tickets only $15. Reservations 714.525.1400.