“Transfiguration” at The Los Angeles Theatre Center May 2-12
The closer we come to our true selves, the more beautiful we are.
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 17:04
Los Angeles, CA -- Theater Insomnia—a new professional theatre company with a full summer repertory run under its belt turns its attention to the proscenium stage at the Los Angeles Theater Center this May (2 – 12th). Created as part of the California State University, Los Angeles’ Master of Fine Arts Program in Television, Film, and Theatre, this select group of students and professionals present “Transfiguration”, an evening of two one act plays.
The first of the two plays, Harvey Firestein’s gripping drama On Tidy Endings, set in 1980’s New York City, tells the story of two people who have just lost the man they love. One is his ex-wife and the mother of his only child. The other is the man he shared his final years with and who stood by his side as he slowly succumbed to the AIDS virus. It is a story about love, jealousy, companionship and the true meaning of family. After a brief intermission, the mood lightens with a world premiere comedy by CSULA playwright, Rodney Brumback, entitled TransMe. It tells the story of Chris Dingler, a Male to Female transvestite, living in New York City, who travels down to rural Georgia to tell her southern fried family that “he” is now living as “she”. Although the tone is lighter, TransMe deals with the same themes of love, jealousy, partnership and the meaning of family as Firestein’s classic drama.
The first CSULA Annual Showcase will open May 3, 2013 with performances taking place Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 3pm. There will also be a special preview performance on Thursday, May 2nd. The Showcase closes on Sunday, May 12, 2013.
Members of the company consist of actors, writers and directors, many of whom are long-standing professionals in such unions as the Actor’s Equity, who typically return to school in mid-career to pursue an MFA degree.
Supervising the new theatre endeavor are CSULA faculty members Meredith Greenburg and Stephen Rothman, both in their 12thyear serving as professors of music, theatre and dance. Greenburg is a long-time member of the Actor’s Equity and a highly-sought after production/stage manager in Los Angeles, serving both The Los Angeles Opera and The Hollywood Bowl. Rothman is an award-winning director who has served as founder and artistic leader of the revitalized Pasadena Playhouse, artistic director of the Sacramento Theatre Company, and producing director of Pennsylvania Center Stage.
In discussing this new professional theatre initiative for the MFA Program, Greenburg said, “As we have so many working professionals who have returned to academia to get an MFA, it seemed logical to take advantage of their professional background by having them create an operating professional theatre company right here at CSULA.”
Professor Rothman shared, “One of the great things that we hope can be accomplished by this new approach is to be sure the entire company not only becomes completely versed in the 99-Seat movement that is such a vibrant and important aspect of Los Angeles-based theatre, but by working in rotating repertory our MFA students will learn a form of theatre that is done professionally across the nation.”
Dr. Peter A. McAllister, Dean, College of Arts & Letters at the California State University Los Angeles shares his thoughts on the opportunity to take those talents off campus and showcase them for the greater Los Angeles theater community, McAllister said "Theater Insomnia is an exciting "new works by new faces" initiative from California State University Los Angeles that launches our first CSULA Annual Showcase Series to support and promote top talent from our Master in Fine Arts in Television, Film and Theatre degree program. To move into the professional world is a natural step for us -- our established connections to the Hollywood Entertainment Industry already include CSULA emeritus professor Aida Takla-O'Reilly, current President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, among many others. We are especially proud to support our students, staff and faculty as we partner with the Los Angeles Theatre Center and begin to expand our footprint in the professional arts landscape that is Los Angeles."
Company members include: Rodney Brumback, Heather Fipps, Gao Ya, Renee Kelly, Jekyns Pelaez, Ted Greenberg, Ricardo Salcido and James Yi. All members of Theater Insomnia are completing their 2nd year of the University’s three-year Master of Fine Arts Program in Television, Film, and Theatre.
While Theater Insomnia has set its sights for now on this new endeavor at LATC there is no limit to what they believe the future holds for this talented group of individuals and they are bound and determined to keep their sights set high. Echoing this sentiment, Paul Stuart Graham, General Manager of LATC and CSULA Theatre Arts professor, says in welcoming Transfiguration to the prestigious venue, "Jose Luis Valenzuela, Artistic Director for the Center and a professor of Theater at UCLA, and I are personally committed to advancing college/university theater programs to develop the next generation of socially conscious, aesthetically diverse and boundary pushing artists that will continue to revitalize the field."
Professor Greenburg noted, “Many existing Los Angeles-based theatre companies started out with a university affiliation. The Actor’s Gang was formed by UCLA students, including the then-unknown Tim Robbins. The Mark Taper Forum Theatre concept began at UCLA before the Music Center was built.”
“While we’re keeping our focus on the current productions going up at LATC, of course,” added Rothman, “we’re extremely excited to watch these students continue to grow as a company and, as was our original vision, become a permanent part of the Los Angeles theatre community and family.”