From the modest description provided for The Author, the latest production at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, I went into the show expecting a cross between Neil LaBute and Sam Kinison. And I was not even close. That’s what I get for having expectations when walking into an experimental theatre piece.
The Author is an interactive work of theatre art that not only taps the origins of environmental theatre, but encourages the audience to become a performer in the event as well. Playwright/Director/Performer Tim Crouch is one in a handful of other performers who engage in a roll monologue about developing and realizing this theatre piece. The production visits upon the point of view of the spectator, the performer, the creator, and lots of non-sequiturs in between.
I’ll stop there, before I wonder into a spoiler. The rest is the experience of actually being there; it defies description.
The Author is not so much an examination of these roles in the world of theater as it is an illumination, a recognition of all the necessary parts. Poetic and intense, humorous and endearing, the voices of the piece are as varied and random as the lighting cues seemed to be; and yet as logically structured as any waking dream.
Theatre is temporary and elusive, and quite magical. It’s magic because it entails the improbable practice of putting on the same show yet delivering a different show every night. While drastic changes are rare during the course of a production, the audience changes nightly, giving you a whole new show each time you see it. It is that interactive element of mere presence, that immediate participation in the event – in the form of laughter or gasp or applause - that makes theatre magical, and its audience members, equal partners in its authorship.
The Author is running for 13 shows only through February 27, 2011 at:
(downtown Culver City)
9820 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz