BACK STAGE WEST
May 11, 2000
The Evidence Room theatre company at last has a new room to call its own: in a former supermarket warehouse at 2220 Beverly Blvd. That's between Alvarado and Virgil, which puts it in that vintage Tommy's Burger's neighborhood encircled by Silverlake, Echo Park, and Pico-Union (it's also right across the street from one of the Eastside's hidden treasures, Brooklyn Bagel Co., open late). Artistic director Bart DeLorenzo originally put down roots in a Culver City warehouse on out-of-the-way Hayden Street in 1994. When he lost that space in late 1997, he continued producing Evidence Room shows at the cavernous Culver City landmark the Ivy Substation, culminating with last year's award-winning primal noir No Orchids for Miss Blandish.
DeLorenzo and company--which includes Jason Adams, Alicia Hoge, and Ames Ingham--are still furiously working to get the space up to speed for its May 20 opening, the West Coast premiere of Charles L. Mee's Berlin Circle. The play, which is Mee's grand tweaking of Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle, re-set in Berlin, 1989, as the Wall topples, is a big deal itself, but the team DeLorenzo has assembled makes the whole thing almost impossibly promising: John Fleck takes the role of East German playwright Heiner Muller, Mee's stand-in for the snivelling Azdak; Megan Mullally plays a Pamela Harriman-like American tourist; Tom Fitzpatrick plays a snarling Erich Honecker, fallen leader of the GDR; Theatre of NOTE handyman David Bickford appears as stock market cowboy Warren Buffett, complete with electric guitar.
In charge of this millennial mayhem is L.A.'s impishly serious master director, David Schweizer. Ken Roht lends his loose-limbed, sensual choreography, John Zalewski his skewed soundscapes, Rand Ryan his stark lighting, Jason Adams and Alicia Hoge an ambitious set (the capacious warehouse space itself is likely to be a dominant scenic element).
DeLorenzo said he helps pay for it all by renting out office space next door-and he's also interested in filling his stage with curated rentals/co-productions with some of L.A.'s more adventurous troupes, such as Fabulous Monsters. For those who'd make the case that L.A. is among the nation's more adventurous theatre towns, from Open Fist to Actors' Gang to Circle X to Bottom's Dream to NOTE to Zoo District to Odyssey to Buffalo Nights to Stages, here's yet another piece of evidence.