Saturday, December 31, 2011


Parker Duofold nib / Parker Duofold tollhegy (János Fehér) / CC BY-SA 2.0
Here's Bright Everlasting!
Here's a Crumb of Forever!
- Louis Bogan, I Saw Eternity

What a fantastic inaugural year!  This is not a perfect list, but I've come around to believing in the old canard "don't let perfect be the enemy of good."  There will be a few changes made for next year's list, but I'll get into all that later (I can opine and comment on another day.  It's New Year's Eve!)  I will say this:  I did actually check to see if these plays premiered in 2011 in Los Angeles.  So to the individual or individuals who tried to slip one past me:  Nice try, but no dice.

What follows are the top five original, unpublished plays that debuted in Los Angeles in 2011, as determined by a wholly unscientific survey.  In the coming days (once I've had a chance to vet them to ensure they indeed premiered in Los Angeles in 2011) I will publish an "Honorable Mention" list of the plays that didn't make it into the top five.

Without any further adieu, I present the 2011 Permanent Ink List! 

Small Engine Repair
by John Pollono
Premiered March 25, 2011 at Theatre/Theater.  Presented by Rogue Machine Theatre.
Read review excerpts on Bitter Lemons:  100% Sweet

Welcome to Frank's Small Engine Repair Shop where men behave badly and deep secrets are revealed... in this gritty, candid and darkly comic exploration of friendship, alienation, loyalty and social networking. An alcohol-soaked, Bro-mantic Thriller.

The War Cycle: Gospel According to First Squad
by Tom Burmester
Premiered July 28, 2011 at Powerhouse Theater.  Presented by Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble.
Read review excerpts on Bitter Lemons:  100% Sweet
The highly anticipated third installment of Tom Burmester’s War Cycle, Gospel According to First Squad, takes place in the Theatre of War. On the brink of civilization in Eastern Afghanistan, deep in the deadly Korengal Valley, the men of First Squad walk the tightrope between boredom and terror everyday. In a valley lit by firestorms of chaos, courage can be proved by a casual walk to the burn-shitter.  As First Squad navigates the human terrain, winning hearts and minds from the Taliban, a new addition to their team threatens their mission, the populace, and their dreams of home.  Gospel According to First Squad will take you on a tour of duty -- as an American -- that will shine a light on our mission, our morals, and asks what you will do -- or won’t do -- to keep your freedom.

Quicksand Rising*
by Markietha Ka'Von
Premiered April 9, 2011 at the NoHo Performing Arts Center
"Quicksand Rising" is a show that's based on the abusive relationships encountered by one woman.  It entails her struggle to rise in the midst of extreme chaos as well as the unraveling and rebuilding of spirit. In the midst of struggle to survive in a world where relationships threatens to pull her under; this woman fights to rise out of quicksand, taking courageous steps to take control of her life.

Monkey Adored
by Henry Murray
Premiered October 8, 2011 at Theatre/Theater.  Presented by Rogue Machine Theatre
Read review excerpts on Bitter Lemons:  77% Sweet
When the monkey is taken to the animal testing lab, the dog must choose between his loyalty to humans and the use of violence to free the animal he loves.

Part wartime drama, part tender love story and part sex farce, Monkey Adored follows the exploits of a group of animals in a human-dominated society.

Hermetically Sealed
by Kathryn Graf
Premiered October 14, 2011 at Skylight Theatre.  Presented by The Katselas Theatre Company
Read review excerpts on Bitter Lemons: 93% Sweet
The May family has its daily routine; the oldest boy comes home from partying at dawn the same time his mother, Tessie, begins her work baking cakes. At noon, Tessie wakes her younger son, Conor, and throughout the afternoon Tessie bakes cakes and Conor plays video games.

This day-today works just fine, helping them maintain a private, isolated world where they can keep their secret carefully concealed and almost evade their unspeakable pain.

This evening, however, when Tessie’s boss picks up the cakes, their carefully balanced life may be undone.
And that's the list!  A big thanks to everyone who played along, forwarded the link, and especially to Bitter Lemons for calling me a mad genius.  Let's do this again next year, shall we?

* I had a difficult time finding any information about this play, and it seems to have been performed for one night only.  If anyone has any information about the show, including any critical reviews, I'd be very interested to learn more about it.  It obviously had a very enthusiastic fanbase.

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