Despite the fact that The Firemen, written by Tommy Smith, produced by The Echo Theatre Company, and playing at the Atwater Theatre, premiered nearly a month ago, the audience packed the house. Members sat in rapt attention as the story unfolded.
The time period is during the first Iraq war and the location is a rural Washington town. "Love is at the heart of this play…yet it destroys everything around it," says Smith. Wanting to explore the personal lives of Americans during the war, he noted a sudden shift in the way people treated each other and how they transgressed personal boundaries.
The story line centers around the growth of a young man and his own sexual adventures - some of which many boys no doubt dream of - and how he develops into an understanding of the world around him.
Acting was wonderful and the dialogue smooth and realistic. The play, while somewhat distrubing, was an excellent social study in life.
Staring Ian Bamberg (Ben), Zach Callison (Kyle), Rebecca Gray (Susan), Michael McColl (Gary) and Amanda Saunders (Annie) with Jessica Goldapple (Susan u/s), the play was produced by Rebecca Eisenberg (who also stage managed), and Chris Fields. Casting was done by Lauren Bass and costume by Kathryn Poppen. Matt Richter and Christina Robinson did lighting while Drew Dalzell performed sound and Angel Herrera did simplistic, but excellent, scenic design. Lucy Pollak did public relations. Photographs were done by Jeff Galfer
Tommy Smith, the recipient of the PONY Fellow at The Lark and a two time winner of the Lecomte du Novy Prize, as well as being a winner of the Page73 Productions Playwriting Fellowship, is also a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer's Group at Primary Stages and a recipient of the Creative Capital award. Mr. Smith is also a two-time winner of the MAP Fund and a graduate of the Julliard School playwriting program.
The play runs until March 16, 2014. There is smoking in the play (not e-cigarettes as advertised) and explicit sexual scenes as well as language. Performances are at 8 pm on Friday and Saturdays and 7 pm on Sundays. The Atwater is located at 3269 Casitas Ave, Atwater Village 90039. For tickets call 310 307 3753310 307 3753 or go online to the Echo Theatre. Tickets run $25. There is free on site parking.
Atwater has now become the permanent home for the Echo Theatre Company says artistic director, Chris Fields. This wandering company could be a boon for solo shows. Mr. Fields wants to dedicate one night to doing "one-person stuff. It can be company members or not." He's open to all submissions.
For three weeks, until March 16, there is a one hour after show event for Xander's Kids done by Alexander Oakwood III and his variety group consisting of Misty Segeg, Mark Teppum, Pickles Matt Stevens, Dylan and Alphonso Prefontaine. The purpose of the group, as I understood it, was to give his actor friends a chance at the spotlight, but I am told that a portion of the funds raised goes to help the Yokoji Zen Mountain Center destroyed by wild fires and mudslides. Because he was making fun of his crippled "brother Rufus" much of the show was objectionable and not comedic the way Mr. Oakwood obviously intended it to be. I was sorry that I wasted my time attending this. The cost for this was an extra $5 if you had attended the Firemen. Otherwise, the cost is $10 for admission.