Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July, a Poignant and Comic Drama at Lex Theatre
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The last date listed for Fifth of July was Friday June 10, 2011 / 8:00pm.
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The Visceral Company, called "L.A.'s premiere horror theatre troupe," offers a darker take on the holiday season with two interrelated one-acts from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, author of the book for the musical based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho and the screen adaptation for the 2013 remake of Stephen King's Carrie. The Mystery Plays follow a director of horror films after he's the sole survivor of a terrible train wreck on his way to his family's house for Christmas and a lawyer returning to her hometown for the first time since her parents and younger sister were murdered. Aguirre-Sacasa has also written for, among other things, Marvel Comics and the HBO series Big Love. Learn More
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Goldstar Member
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I had never seen this play and was so pleasantly surprised. It was funny, it was sad, it was memorable. It captured the era well and reminded me, without hitting me over the head with it, that war always comes with a heavy price. And yet, that was just a subtle underpinning and not what the play is about in the first place.
The cast was great, with no weak links. Judy Nazemetz as Sally Friedman is a standout. She displayed a range of emotions seamlessly and gave the play a lot of heart. Rob Herring was fun to watch and Johnny Patrick Yoder gave a great subtle performance. Highly recommend the show.
Quotes & Highlights
- Fifth of July is part of the Talley Trilogy of plays, all revolving around the Talley family of Lebanon, Missouri. The other plays are Talley's Folly and Talley & Son.
Directed by August Viverito
Both surprisingly timely and entertaining, critics have hailed Fifth of July as “a major work by one of the theater’s most important and celebrated writers, …alternately funny and moving.”
Set in 1977, the story deals with a group of old friends and the changes that have occurred in their lives and attitudes in the years since they were antiwar activists in Berkeley. Ken lost his legs in Vietnam and is now considering abandoning his house, his career as a teacher and possibly his devoted lover, Jed Jenkins, for a life of isolating travel. Ken's sister, June Talley, has arrived in a state of high defensiveness, while heiress and aspiring rock star Gwen and her husband/manager, John Landis, simply seem high. Then there's Weston Hurley, the spacey, childlike composer, as well as Sally Friedman, Ken's aunt, and Shirley Talley, June's daughter, who respectively embody the foibles of advancing age and narcissistic youth. They have ostensibly gathered at Ken's rambling family homestead in Lebanon, Mo., for the Fourth of July, but as the play hurtles forward, questions about motives start to arise.
As the night of the 4th segues into the morning of the 5th, with the attendant physical and psychic hangovers, Lanford Wilson achieves a telling, rhythmic pattern of the stings and comforts exchanged by people of long acquaintance and the ways in which they do and do not know one another. Even among friends, manners and postures are worn protectively, from Ken's hard-won flippancy to John's jocular bonhomie.
When the masks start to slip, as masks will when people share a space for too long, emotional fireworks follow. Like all the best playwrights, Wilson also hears what's unspoken. This production invites you to listen to the sounds beneath the fury of its combustible characters.
About the Ticket Supplier: The Production Company-LA
Co-Founders August Viverito and Gregory Blair concieved The Production Company to be dedicated single-mindedly to creating the highest caliber productions without encumbrances often found in the many more typical membership companies in Los Angeles. After serving on the Executive Board of one company and as Artistic Director for another, Viverito recognized that production quality was regularly forced to be less than optimal as resources often were drawn too thin by trying to offer classes, showcases, second-tier shows and the like. "Our shows will be the showcases, and our actors, writers and designers are expected to hone their crafts both within and outside the company. Our people will be kept busy producing.."