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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Trailerville


I didn't know how not to drink — Linda Blackburn, neglectful mother
There are a lot of "T" adjectives to describe Hannah Loganís first play, Trailerville. Tacky. Tawdry. Tedious. Turgid. Tiresome. Tasteless. Torturous.

Trailerville consists of some two dozen actors crowded into a claustrophic space the size of a closet. They are denizens of a trailer community in the Deep South, and some of them have southern accents some of the time. Most of them have personal relationships with Jesus, who has visited them, talked to them, or set them on the righteous path. They talk to each other in Bible verses.

The key players are the alcoholic, neglectful mother, Linda Blackburn (Marjorie Knight), her scuzzy boyfriend Kevin (PJ Marshall), and Lindaís 9-year old "genius" daughter Holly (Jennifer Cetrone, who is also artistic director of From the Ground Up Theatre Company the organization producing this play.

Linda has been disowned by her father, Robert Blackburn (Peter Allas), a retired military man who has morphed into a preacher. And even though she goes to his church every Sunday (and sleeps off her hangover as he preaches), he refuses to acknowledge her.

The neglected daughter, Holly, is taken under the wing of the loving eccentric Bella (Monica Martin), who believes God sent her back to the trailer park (where she once lived) for the specific purpose of caring for Holly. Bella is some sort of blithe spirit, living to comfort everyone around her by crushing them to her ample bosom.

Then there is the man who rolls a gigantic cross through the streets (it has a wheel on the bottom) to remind everyone to "count their blessinís" and "donít take nuthiní for granted." And the girl mechanic who finally comes out about her sexual orientation, although everyone was already aware of it. And the concentration camp survivor who frequents the diner owned by a pontificating Biblical scholar. The survivor, who was once a professor in Germany, turns the young, eager waitress on to reading by giving her a copy of The Catcher in the Rye, and turns the older waitress on to the possibilities of romance by asking her out on a date.

Other characters include an obese lady who canít stop eating, a tightly wired mail lady (played by the playwright, Hannah Logan), a prissy young woman who disapproves of everything, a flashy divorcee who is just passing through, and a plethora of townspeople who show up to react to things from time to time. There is also a one-woman Greek chorus with a glorious singing voice (Kathleen Ingle) whose designation is H.P. (for Higher Power), who sings spirituals and silently intervenes between people and their worst impulses. Finally, there is the Narrator (Caroline Whitney-Smith) who provides a thread to string all the disparate vignettes together.

Each of these townspeople has a story to tell, which explains why the play goes on for more than 2 Ĺ hours. But it doesnít explain why you donít much care for any of them. They are a preachy, sanctimonious lot, and their stories seem overly contrived, the poignancy of their circumstances labored.

Eileen Galindo makes her directing debut. Monica DiBiasio and John Kay provided the suitably sleazy set design, with assistance from Luis Guerra; and Travis Sims, with assistance from Justin Bender, provides the lighting design. After its world premiere at the Moving Arts the play is headed for its East Coast premiere at off-off- Broadway Kraine Theater in New York's East Village.

Trailerville
By Hannah Logan
Directed by Eileen Galindo
Cast: Lauren Burns/Lauren Benge (Betty Sue Lincoln), PJ Marshall/John Kay (Kevin Holcombe), Cassie Jordan/Hannah Logan (Ruthie Macaloon), Glen Anthony Vaughan/John Henbest (Langston Hatchett), Ron Ransen/Greg Duane (Everett), Marjorie Knight/Cari Daly (Linda Blackburn), Lester Keefe (Billy), Caroline Whitney-Smith/Gayle Mercer (Narrator), Marty Dusig (Joe Lichtenstein), Jackie Jones (Joan), Lonna Montrose (Venus Youngblood), Monica Martin (Bella Boucher), Michael Edelstein (Dr. Benson, Otis Hainsworth), Ashby Plain (Gayle Mercer), Cheri Johnson (Maggie Roquefort), Marcia Loring/Lupe Carranza (Marlene), Kathleen Ingle (H.P.-Higher Power), Peter Allas (Robert Blackburn), Jennifer Cetrone (Holly), Olga O'Farrell, Jennifer Althen, Lupe Carranza, John Henbest (Townspeople/Congregants)br> Set Design: Monica DiBiasio and John Kay, with assistance from Luis Guerra
Lighting Design: Travis Sims with assistance from Justin Bender
Costume Mistress: Sylvia Havelka
Original Music: Dege Legg

Running Time: 2 1/2 hours including one 15-minute intermission
From The Ground Up Theatre Company, Moving Arts Theater, 1822 Hyperion Avenue, Silverlake, 323-572-5044, www.myspace.com/ fromthegrounduptheatre
From : 6/13/08 to 7/27/08; opening 6/13/08
Tickets: $12, or $15 at the door
Reviewed by Cynthia Citron based on 6/13/08 performance
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