Lawrence Stallings, Pablo Castelblanco, Richard Azurdia, Peter Pasco
It was announced today that the Fountain Theatre has been nominated for seven Stage Raw Theatre Awards for two productions in the 2016 season. Our Los Angeles premiere of My Manana Comes by Elizabeth Irwin and the world premiere of Stephen Sachs’ Dream Catcher were acknowledged with the following nominations:
Leading Male Performance – Lawrence Stallings, MY MAÑANA COMES
Supporting Male Performance – Peter Pasco, MY MAÑANA COMES
Playwriting – Elizabeth Irwin, MY MANANA COMES
Two Person Performance – Elizabeth Frances & Brian Tichnell, DREAM CATCHER
Lighting Design – Jennifer Edwards, MY MAÑANA COMES
Set Design – Michael Navarro, MY MAÑANA COMES
Production Design – Dillon Nelson, MY MAÑANA COMES
Lawrence Stallings, Richard Azurdia, Jossara Jina, Pablo Castelblanco, Armando Molina, Emily Lehrer
The house was packed Saturday night for the opening night of our Los Angeles Premiere of Elizabeth Irwin’s fast, funny and powerful new play, My Mañana Comes.
The thrilling performance was followed by a lively reception upstairs in our charming cafe. The delicious food was provided by Marouch, a local Lebanese and Armenian restaurant. Fountain Friends and audience members had a wonderful time meeting the cast and company.
Directed by Armando Molina, My Mañana Comes features Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Peter pasco and Lawrence Stallings. The play offers an inside look at four busboys in a fancy NY restaurant as they joke wildly with each other and struggle to better their lives and chase the American Dream.
Our Fountain LA Premiere is already earning rave reviews. “This production of My Mañana Comes is an exemplar of ensemble acting, ” hails Theatre Notes.”The players are extraordinary.”
Design and production team at work during tech weekend.
There are no two ways about it. Tech rehearsals are a long, incremental process. Light cues are programmed into computers, sound levels are meticulously adjusted, set and prop elements are continuously added, costumes are inspected under actual lighting. Actors work out the timing of cues, all under the eye of the director. It can be a slow, repetitive and exacting undertaking.
Over 26 years, we have found the key to a successful Tech Weekend: donuts. Lots of them. Actually, our three sacred virtues of TechWeekend are Diligence, Patience and a Sense of Humor. The cast, design and production team for My Mañana Comes demonstrated all three last weekend as we began integrating the design elements into our upcoming LA Premiere.
The play takes place in the kitchen of an upscale New York restaurant. Michael Navarro’s red brick and stainless steel set design creates the environment. The seating at the Fountain has been restored to its original configuration (we were in-the-round for Dream Catcher) and the audience is expected to feel like fine diners with theatre programs designed like restaurant menus.
My Mañana Comes is a funny and fast-paced new play about four busboys in a fancy bistro who juggle plates, their friendship and chase the American Dream. Written by Elizabeth Irwin and directed by Armando Molina, our LA premiere stars Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Peter Pasco and Lawrence Stallings. It runs April 16 – June 26.
Just beyond the elegant dining room of an Upper East Side restaurant, service workers angle for shifts, pray for tips and cling to dreams of life beyond their daily back-of-house grind. Armando Molina directs the Los Angeles premiere of My Mañana Comes by Elizabeth Irwin, opening April 16 at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.
The minimum wage crisis and rights for undocumented workers lie at the center of Irwin’s funny and powerful new play.
Starring as four busboys working in the kitchen of an upscale French restaurant in Manhattan are Richard Azurdia (Backyard at Echo Theater Company, Bill & Joan at Sacred Fools, one of 54 “fascinating Angelenos” profiled in LA Weekly’s 2015 People issue), Pablo Castelblanco (Sálvese quien pueda at the Leonardus Theatre in his native Bogotá, Colombia) Peter Pasco (Our Lady of 121st Street at the Victory, Seven Spots on the Sun at Theatre @ Boston Court) and Lawrence Stallings (original productions of Book of Mormon on Broadway, Hair and Passing Strange off-Broadway).
Expertly juggling delicate entrees and fussy customers, the young men face off with management and with each other when a sudden pay cut threatens their dignity, their dreams for a better life — and their friendship.
“This is exactly the kind of play we like to do at the Fountain,” suggests co-artistic director Stephen Sachs. “It’s fast-paced, hip and funny, but it also opens a window into a community we don’t often see, gives voice to a community that is usually not heard. You really get to know and care about these guys – the relationships, camaraderie and the sharing of dreams.”
According to Molina, “Irwin gets to the truth about who these guys are, the reality beneath the tropes. She shatters preconceptions.”
Irwin, who worked in the restaurant industry for many years, wanted to explore what undocumented immigration means to people who are directly affected by it — both those who are undocumented and those who work alongside and have relationships with them.
“This story explores the complications and nuances of their lives,” she said in an interview.
Set design for My Mañana Comes is by Michael Navarro; lighting design is by Jennifer Edwards; sound design is by Christopher Moscatiello; costume design is by Magdalena Guillen; props and set dressing are by Dillon Nelson; production stage manager is Emily Lehrer; associate producer is James Bennett; and Stephen Sachs, Simon Levy and Deborah Lawlor produce for the Fountain Theatre.
The Fountain Theatre continues its 15-year relationship with master playwright Athol Fugard, presenting the West Coast premiere of his newest play. Directed by Simon Levy, The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek opens on November 7 at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.
Both Fugard and the Fountain come full circle with Painted Rocks, a play inspired by the work of real-life outsider artist Nukain Mabuza. In 1972, a personal encounter with outsider artist Helen Martins, a reclusive and ostracized figure in a small, ultra-conservative Afrikaans community who had created an extraordinary collection of statues in her back yard, led to Fugard’s celebrated play, The Road to Mecca. And it was the Fountain’s Los Angeles premiere of that play in 2000, directed by Fountain co-artistic director Stephen Sachs, that introduced the playwright to the theater he would come to call his “artistic home on the West Coast.”
“Forty years later [after my encounter with Helen Martins], I became aware of another outsider artist worthy of the same attention, working in completely different circumstances and also with a different medium,” wrote Fugard on the website of South Africa’s Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies, where he is currently an artist-in-residence. “The environment of present-day South Africa made me realize the true potential of Nukain’s story, and that, even though he worked on the fringes, it can in fact not be fully realized without taking on the realities of his existence in apartheid South Africa.”
In the play, the aging Nukain (Thomas Silcott) has spent his life transforming the rocks at Revolver Creek into a vibrant garden of painted flowers. Faced with the presence of the final unpainted rock — and at the insistence of his young companion, Bokkie (Philip Solomon) — he is forced to confront his legacy as an artist and a black man in 1980s South Africa. When the landowner’s wife (Suanne Spoke) arrives to demand he stop painting, the deep racial conflict of the country is viscerally exposed. Twenty years later, in what has become the new South Africa, the man called Bokkie as a child (Gilbert Glenn Brown) returns to restore Mabuza’s lifework.
“Possibly, at this moment in our history, the stories that need telling are more urgent than any of the stories that needed telling during the apartheid years,” Fugard said in an interview with NPR.
“At the heart of Athol’s beautiful new play is the issue of seeing and being seen – as an artist, as a man, especially as a black man,” says Levy. “It’s an on-going, universal problem that Athol has spent his life exploring and exposing and humanizing. To be seen for who you really are, and to be loved and honored for that. It’s a beautiful message, and one we need to hear over and over again.”
The author of over 30 plays and recipient of countless accolades including an Academy Award, Obie and the 2011 Special Tony Award for Lifetime in the Theatre, Athol Fugard is best known for his plays about the frustrations of life in contemporary South Africa and the psychological barriers created by apartheid. Widely acclaimed around the world, his plays include Boesman and Lena (Obie Award, Best Foreign Play), Sizwe Bansi Is Dead (Tony Award, Best Play), A Lesson from Aloes (New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Best Play), the semiautobiographical Master Harold…and the Boys (Writers Guild Award, Outstanding Achievement) and The Road to Mecca(New York Drama Critics Circle Citation, Best Foreign Play, London Evening Standard Award, Best Play). The first white South African playwright to collaborate with black actors and workers, some of his works, such as Blood Knot, were initially banned in South Africa. In his first two post-apartheid plays, Valley Song (1995) and The Captain’s Tiger (1998), Fugard addressed more personal concerns, but in Sorrows and Rejoicings (2001) he focused on the complex racial dynamics of South Africa’s new era. In 2005 his novel, Tsotsi (1980), was adapted for the screen, winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
When Fugard saw the Fountain’s Los Angeles premiere of The Road to Mecca in 2000, he was so impressed that he offered the company world premiere rights to an as-yet-unwritten new work. In 2004, Stephen Sachs directed the world premiere of Exits and Entrances. The production garnered production and direction awards from both the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and the Ovations, and Sachs went on to direct acclaimed regional productions around the country, including an off-Broadway production at Primary Stages and the UK premiere at the 2007 International Edinburgh Festival. Since then, the Fountain has produced four premieres of Fugard’s plays including the American premiere of Victory (two LADCC awards and four LA Weekly nominations, and named “Best of 2008” by the Los Angeles Times);the West Coast premiere of Coming Home (three LA Weekly awards including “Ensemble” and “Direction,” LADCC award for “Lead Performance”); the U.S. premiere of The Train Driver (three LA Weekly awards); and the U.S. premiere of The Blue Iris (LA Weekly Award nomination for best ensemble).
The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek premiered to critical acclaim at the Signature Theatre in New York City earlier this year. The New York Times called it “tender and ruminative” and Newsday wrote, “Fugard stamps indelible human faces on faraway reports of the world’s news.”
Set design for the Fountain Theatre production of The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek is by Jeffrey McLaughlin; lighting design is by Jennifer Edwards; sound design is by Peter Bayne; costume design is by Naila Aladdin Sanders; props are by Dillon Nelson; dialect coach is Nike Doukas; assistant stage manager is Terri Roberts; production stage manager is Rita Cofield; associate producer is James Bennett; and Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor produce for the Fountain Theatre.
Currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, The Fountain Theatre is one of the most successful intimate theaters in Los Angeles, providing a creative home for multi-ethnic theater and dance artists. The Fountain has won over 225 awards, and Fountain projects have been seen across the U.S. and internationally. Recent highlights include being honored with the 2014 Ovation Award for Best Season and the 2014 BEST Award for overall excellence from the Biller Foundation; the Fountain play Bakersfield Mist in London’s West End starring Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid; the sold-out Forever Flamenco gala concert at the 1200-seat John Anson Ford Amphitheatre; and the last six Fountain productions consecutively highlighted as Critic’s Choice in the Los Angeles Times. The Fountain has been honored with six Awards of Excellence from the Los Angeles City Council for “enhancing the cultural life of Los Angeles.”
Rehearsals are now underway for our exciting world premiere stage adaptation of Claudia Rankine‘s acclaimed book about race in America, Citizen: An American Lyric. Only a few days into rehearsal , the new play has already inspired an honest, open and insightful dialogue between the actors, sharing thoughts and feelings about race, identity, human connection, self-awareness and what it means to be a citizen in this country.
Adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs and directed by Shirley Jo Finney, the free-flowing and fast-moving theatre piece opens August 1st.
The talented ensemble cast includes Bernard K. Addison, Leith Burke, Tina Lifford, Tony Maggio, Simone Missick, and Lisa Pescia.
Before the cast was permitted to turn to page one of the script and begin the painstaking process of exploring and analyzing the text, it was essential to Director Finney that the actors have a frank conversation with each other about their own life experiences concerning race, social/cultural interaction and human relationships. To get to the heart of the issues exposed in this play, Finney insisted, it must be personal. The result was a spirited dialogue at the rehearsal table that was raw, insightful, painful, funny and enlightening.
Actor Tony Maggio and company discuss the play.
This powerful and thought-provoking stage adaptation fuses theatre, music, sound, movement, and video imagery. Snapshots, vignettes, a meditation on the acts of everyday racism. Remarks, glances, seeming slips of the tongue. Those did-that-really-just-happen-did-they-really-just say-that slurs that happen every day. And the larger incidents that become national firestorms. As Rankine writes, “This is how you are a citizen.”
Rankine’s acclaimed book is the Winner of the 2015 National Book Award, the 2015 Los Angeles Book Award, and the PEN Award.
At Monday night’s first rehearsal, producer Simon Levy guided the company through production business, scheduling and paperwork. Costume designer Naila Aladdin Sanders took measurements of the actors. Director Shirley Jo Finney spoke about her vision for the play. The script was then read aloud by the cast. Also present were Co-Artistic Director Deborah Lawlor, Director of Devlopment Barbara Goodhill, designers Yee Eun Nam, and Dillon Nelson, movement director Anastasia Coon, publicist Lucy Pollak, and intern Isabel Espy.
The meditation on race and truthful questioning of social interaction dramatized in this new work is timely for our city and our country. Our world premiere stage adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric promises to be the theatrical event of the summer and will certainly generate much-needed conversation. We urge all citizens to join us for this illuminating and important ride! Opens August 1st.