Imagine the worst Thanksgiving ever. Then imagine a home that appears perfect - mom Kelly (Beverly Hynds ), dad Clay ( Eric Hunicutt) kids Kayla (Ava Bianchi) and baby -- celebrating and in comes your socialist mother, Carol (April Adams) along with your estranged Republican brother, Cash (Trent Dawson) and his Eastern European girlfriend Kalina (Beth Triffon.) They are joined, in part, by Mr. Hadid (Joe Holt).
Clay, who has retired from the working world as a stay-at-home dad and the only one not dressed up for dinner, seems to have it all with his lovely wife and two perfect children. The pair are concerned with their perfect life and their perfect parenting skills until a ravenous creature begins prowling the upper bedrooms and he becomes determined to find out who and what is there when he really has to find out who and what is in his house.
Gloves come off when a mysterious illness threatens the little girl. The situation devolves into an awkward chaos of deceit, desire and family values, among them pornography, hypocrisy, and long held grievances as the family battles between them and tells the story to Mr. Hadid.
It's a satirical play about the politics of class and race in the well to do area of Pacific Palisades, says director Jennifer Chambers. The play, originally commissioned and produced by Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, was also co-produced in Pasadena by Theatre @Boston.
The two most enjoyable actors were April Adams and Ava Bianchi, both whom were lively and really fit into their roles.
The audience laughed at appropriate parts (though I didn't) and I found that the illness, which they alluded to (Herpes), was described wrong and didn't appear comedic, at all. It is apparently where the playwright found the title, however. I didn't understand the role of Mr. Hadid until the very end and found the finale very unsatisfying.
Directed by Jennifer Chambers, and produced by Theatre Planners, Pulitzer prize winner Bruce Norris presents The Pain and the Itch at the Zephyr Theatre in West Hollywood opening October 26 and running through to December 1, 2013.
Set design, done by Joel Daavid, marvelous accompanied the lighting by Ric Zimmerman. Sound was provided by Joseph "Sloe" Slawinski, while Shannon Kennedy provided the costume. Penelope Lowder and Racquel Lehrman were stage managers. They were assisted by Benjamin Shipley. Victoria Watson was an associate producer with Theatre Planners while Michael Donovan did the casting.
Tickets cost $25 with discounts for students with ID ($15). For information call 323 960 5774 or www.plays411.com/pain. The Zephyr Theatre's located at 7456 Melrose, L A 90046.
Published on Oct 27, 2013