Playwright and college professor Wendy MacLeod has created an unexpected but utterly enjoyable caldron of side splitting laughter out of the pain to failing relationships. Making her two person play Things Being What They Are even more intriguing is that it is focused on two men with a clear appreciation of the male mind set. Most of us know and probably have experienced the pain of a failed relationship. We over time come to understand that the paradigm of successful marriage is rarely fully achieved. Yet to find some real humor in this sea of tragedy is exactly what Wendy MacLeod has achieved.
Things Being What They Are premiered at the Seattle Repertory Theatre before moving on to the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago in 2003 where is sold out and extended twice earning massive kudos along the way. Now it has come to Los Angeles and The Road on Lankershim in North Hollywood where it opened to a clearly appreciative audience Thursday, April 23rd. It is directed by award winning producer/director and resident director for The Road Theatre Company Andre Barron. It stars Bernie Zilinskas [Bill] and Chet Grissom [Jack] .
Bill has just moved into the neighborhood when he meets Jack, the neighbor from hell. It quickly develops that Jack has recently divorced. Human nature often deals with pain through laughter and that is exactly how Jack deals with the tale of his divorce. Bill, is however, more than a little unnerved by Jack’s comedic take on failed relationship because Bill we learn is also being brought to the realization that his own marriage is on very shaky grounds.
Bernie Zilinskas has been a Road Theatre Company member for six years and he brings a wealth of experience and talent to the stage. Bernie has appeared in numerous stage shows as well as in such major films as Captain America, The Winter Soldier, Jurassic Park III and Your Own Best Enemy. He has also done substantial television work including appearances in Er, Frazier and JAG to name but a few. In character as Bill he delivers a truly stellar performance and helps take Things Being What They Are to new levels of enjoyment.
Fellow cast member Chet Grissom is also a long time Road Company member and veteran actor with numerous performances locally, regionally and even in my old stomping grounds of Chicago at the Goodman Theatre. His film credits include The Veil, The Aspect Ratio and Nobody Walks. He has made over 60 television appearances including Justified, Fresh off the Boat and True Detective.
Together this powerful acting team makes magic that will give you an evening you will long remember. I will also mention that the venue is unique in many positive ways. The lobby is rimmed with intriguing art work. It is large and comfortable. The actual theatre is intimate but also totally capable of presenting high quality work. All too often some people confuse size with quality. That is never true in anything and especially not in the theatre.
Things Being What They Are is at The Road on Lankershim, 5108 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, California now through June 21st. Reservations and ticketing information is available on line at: www.RoadTheatre.org and by calling 818-761-8838. Performances are at 8:00 PM Thursdays, 3:00 PM Saturdays and 2:00 PM Sundays.
On another note, if you love to laugh you should also consider getting a copy of a small but hilarious new book Procrastinator’s Bible. Just go to http://ronirwin.net/ProcrastinatorsBible.html.
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Copyright © 2015 Ron Irwin