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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Although it's set in a 2nd run movie house on Hollywood near Vine in 1983, the era when the playwright grew up, the hero, and he is one as you will see, projectionist Randy Shaw (Hamish Linklater) is a victim of modern existential angst. The promising writer no longer writes and has retreated into this lair of a movie theater, sitting in the dark watching other peoples' dreams. His worst nightmare comes true when he's discovered in the lobby by a former classmate Ian Glickman (Christian Leffler), now as Randy says morosely, a big success "by most of the world's standards."
A golden-haired punk elf in the person of Kim (Brittany Slattery), a teen-age girl looking for a job who becomes his popcorn girl, brings a ray of light into this drab lobby. The whole concept of life in a lobby parallels an ante-room to hell where the main ridiculous violent event occurs behind closed doors. But not this time. The theatre's glamorous owner Ziba, an Iranian magnate vividly played by Lauren Campdelli, storms in and winds up in a confrontation with Sal (Barry del Sherman), the menacing manager she's just fired. Sal is accompanied by an equally glamorous blonde, his psychotic girlfriend Tiffany (Tara Chocol Joyce). Guns are drawn, knives flash and the action/suspense quotient reaches pounding heights.
Director Bart de Lorenzo creates a throbbing ambiance that brings out the macabre humor and jumpy conflict inherent in any world that remotely touches the arts. Even though we never know why Randy stopped writing and spends most of his time on the pay phone to his dealer Chico (Maynor Alvarado) trying to get the pills he pops, he's an authentic lost soul as projected by Linklater, with assist by de Lorenzo.
Ann Closs-Farley gets to show her designing chops in the colorful character-driven costumes. Scenic designer Chris Covics has turned the normally sleek Douglas lobby into a shabby venue of yesteryear, complete with floral carpet, photos and posters of old movies, a popcorn machine whose butter dispenser is stuck. DeLorenzo makes use of the beautiful vintage ticket booth, now dysfunctional, that still stands in front of the Douglas, perhaps as an homage to its past and a reminder that its founder, Kirk Douglas, made his bones just down the street when Sony used to be MGM.