In Falcon Theatre’s first production of the 2016-2017 Season, the lively comedy, Parallel Lives, a pair of capricious supreme beings orchestrate a hilarious montage that makes fun of modern life while celebrating it. With boundless humor, the audience is whisked through this outrageous universe created by comediennes Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney, and directed by Jenny Sullivan, where two women portray numerous men and women struggling through the common rituals of life: They aren’t afraid to tackle any issue and the results will leave you in stitches!
The show is a series of vignettes, resembling Saturday Night Live, with few one-liners and little in the way of improvisation. The sketches are thought provoking, focused and intelligent, and some are funnier than others, as is to be expected, with many laugh-out-loud moments. It targets both sexes, though mostly taking the point of view of modern women.
Both acts of the play begin with two heavenly winged angels, Crista (Crista Flanagan) and Alice (Alice Hunter), watching over the creation of the human race. Women are given the pain of childbirth, while men, not to feel left out, are compensated with extra large egos. In the second act the angels check in to see how some of their charges are holding up. It seems that some of their plans have been rather hilariously derailed—eliciting laughs at their erroneous conception of humanity!
Crista and Alice, at times making speedy changes into outlandish costumes, succeeded remarkably in jumping immediately into character, and projecting the humanity of particular scenes, all varying in length, that followed each other in rapid succession.
In “Three Sisters”, the actors attempt reconciliation with each other while they deal with the funeral of their grandmother who died riding Space Mountain, and their personal differences and problems. Crista, with quick costume changes, portrays different siblings.
In a scene that takes place in a run-down country western bar, Hank (Crista Flanagan) a drunkard, hits on a single mother, Karen Sue (Alice Hunter), repeatedly telling her how pretty she is and asking her to marry him. Both actors slip right into character and perform superbly. Even though the scene is progressively hilarious, the underlying pathos, hopelessness, and loneliness of the pair are clearly evident.
In this sketch scene, after a speedy costume change, the actors, who are taking a woman’s studies course, emerge as a pair of elderly Jewish women attending an ultra-feminist event called “Sister Woman Sister”. They are completely out of place, can’t recognize menu items, and regale an unseen hostess with quirky stories, all situations generating much mirth.
Parallel lives is fast moving with slick scene and costume changes. Most of the ten scenes are full of laughter, making for a fun evening. Some sketches may even evoke recognition of our own similar situations that deal with relationships, dating, death, fantasies, personal care products, and the general human condition. But this enhances rather than detracts from the overall enjoyment of the show.
Kudos to both Crista Flanagan and Alice Hunter, who neither stumbled nor appeared to forget any lines, and rendered memorable performances throughout. Congratulations to Director Jenny Sullivan and the entire production crew for the success of this smart, provocative show.
The Falcon Theatre is a 130-seat professional theatre that operates year-round in Burbank, California, built by Director/Writer/Producer Garry Marshall and his daughter Kathleen Marshall La Gambina. It opened in November of 1997 and launched its annual 5-play Subscription Series in 2002, currently produced by Kathleen and Sherry Greczmiel. Mr. Marshall founded the Falcon as a place where established artists and emerging talent can come together to create exciting work on stage.
Written by: Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy.
Directed by: Jenny Sullivan
Scenic Designer: Trefoni Michael Rizzi, Costume Designer: Alex Jaeger,
Lighting Designer: Pablo Santiago, Sound Designer: John Zalewski,
Props Designer: Warren Casey. Casting Director: Sandi Logan, CSA.
Stage Manager: Dale Alan Cooke.
PHOTOS CREDIT: Sasha A Venola
OPENING NIGHT & RECEPTION: Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 8pm
SHOW CLOSES: Sun, Sept 18, 2016 at 4pm
PERFORMANCES: Wed-Sat at 8pm, Sun at 4pm
PRICES: Opening Night & Reception $55.00 – $60.00
Weekdays (Wed/Thurs) $37.00 – $40.00
Weekends (Fri/Sat/Sun) $42.00 – $45.00
Student Rate (valid student ID) $30.00
Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Dr.
Burbank, CA 91505
TICKETS: (818) 955-8101 or at FalconTheatre