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Philip K. Dick's
adapted by Linda Hartinian

Cast (in order of appearance)

Jason Taverner, a popular television personality - Joe Fria
Heather Hart, a TV and recording personality - Dorie Barton
Marilyn Mason, a scorned woman - Wendy Johnson
Kathy Nelson, an ID forger - Liz Davies
Mr. McNulty, a police detective - Finn Curtin
Felix Buckman, a police general - Tony Maggio
Alys Buckman, his sister - Tara Chocol
Ruth Rae, a woman in a bar - Lauren Campedelli
Herb, a policeman - Mark Engelhardt
Mary Anne Dominic, a potter - Colleen Kane
PKD, a writer - Tom Fitzpatrick

Director - Bart DeLorenzo
Scenic Designer - Sibyl Wickersheimer
Lighting Designer - Adam H. Greene
Costume Designer - Ann Closs-Farley & Miguel Montalvo
Sound Designer - John Zalewski
Theme song by - Ken Roht & John Ballinger
Choreographer - Carol Cetrone
Video Artist - Adam Soch
Associate Producers - Jessica Hanna & Uma Nithipalan

Stage Manager - Beth Mack
Assistant Stage Manager - Tracey McAvoy

Graphic Design - Colleen Wainwright

March 12 - May 7, 2005

Joe Fria (Jason Taverner)

Joe Fria (Jason Taverner) and Dorie Barton (Heather Hart)

Finn Curtin (Mr. McNulty) and Joe Fria (Jason Taverner)

Liz Davies (Kathy Nelson) and Joe Fria (Jason Taverner)

Joe Fria (Jason Taverner) and Colleen Kane (Mary Anne Dominic)

Tom Fitzpatrick (PKD)


LA Weekly

No warm fuzzies here. Director Bart DeLorenzo first staged Linda Hartinian’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi dystopia in 1999, yet the surreal event is more coherent today. DeLorenzo says he’s tinkered with the play, cleaning up sequential gaffes—that’s one explanation. Probably more pertinent is the extent to which our culture has further slid down Dick’s totalitarian sinkhole, rendering what was fantastical only six years ago as more slice of life. TV host Jason Taverner (lock-jawed Joe Fria) wakes up in a futuristic 1988 Los Angeles to live out every celeb's nightmare—nobody recognizes him. He’s entered some kind of parallel universe that’s part Kafka, part Orwell, with übercop General Buckman (Tony Maggio) trying to fathom how Taverner got all his ID data deleted from every database. (Taverner is even more baffled than Buckman.) Taverner bounces through pseudo-sexual encounters with TV diva Heather Hunt (Dorie Barton), police informant Kathy Nelson (Liz Davies) and Buckman's dominatrix sister/wife, Alys (Tara Chocol), trying to find out who and where on Earth he is. With the possible exception of pure-hearted pot-maker Mary Anne Dominic (Colleen Kane), every character has been turned to spiritual sludge by a society fueled by the polar cults of celebrity and secrecy. Don't look for empathetic characters; the point is the living nightmare/social satire that's regrettably only fitfully satirical. The acting is wonderfully stylized on Sibyl Wickersheimer’s set of steel and smudged, translucent plastic, decorated with Adam Soch’s video design and accentuated by the high-tech horrors of John Zalewski’s sound design. If you don’t leave this production feeling slightly ill, you’re in deeper trouble than you could possibly imagine.

– Steven Leigh Morris

BackStage West

The prescient works of acclaimed sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) have been posthumously discovered as potent fodder for mega-budget action flicks (Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck). In a more cerebral vein, Linda Hartinian’s stage adaptation of Dick’s 1974 novel demonstrates why his idiosyncratic voice remains pertinent and compelling. Originally set in a then-futuristic 1988, the piece encompasses a heady mix of Kafka-esque paranoia, Lewis Carroll whimsy, and Dick’s own unnervingly distinctive sensibility. The result is a darkly comic vision of an off-kilter universe, skewering everything from the shallowness of celebrity to the self-serving machinations of fascistic leaders. Director Bart DeLorenzo first staged this piece in 1999, and he has recast and remounted it in an astonishing multimedia production that crackles with breathtaking theatricality.

Full comprehension of the labyrinthine story developments seems secondary to reveling in the electrifying milieu. We are introduced to egocentric TV celebrity Jason Taverner (Joe Fria), whose weekly variety program pushes his sex-idol image, which he lives up to off-camera as a full-fledged Casanova. As he romances his colleague Heather Hart (Dorie Barton), a scorned ex-flame, Marilyn Mason (Wendy Johnson) seeks revenge. This results in the loss of all traces of his identity and his desperate quest to avoid imprisonment or death at the hands of a totalitarian government. As he scrambles to survive the nightmare, Taverner meets and beds several bizarre women who could either help or betray him.

DeLorenzo elicits stylish, robust characterizations from the entire ensemble, led by Fria’s tour-de-force take on the tricky leading role. Amid Dick's morally ambiguous context, Fria strikes the ideal balance between a semi-sympathetic protagonist and a scoundrel getting his comeuppance. As Taverner’s sneaky adversary, police general Buckman, Tony Maggio delivers a sardonically funny and chilling portrayal. Tara Chocol is deliciously demented as McNulty's sister/lover (think Chinatown); ditto Liz Davies as a crackpot who prepares fake IDs. Crucial to the production are the masterful contributions of scenic designer Sibyl Wickersheimer, costumers Ann Closs-Farley and Miguel Montalvo, lighting designer Adam H. Greene, sound designer John Zalewski, and video artist Adam Soch. All forces combine fortuitously in the sleekest, funniest, and most ominously edgy theatrical acid trip within memory.

– Les Spindle

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