Pals and gals, it's a bit of a walk from the Alto Nido to the Lounge Theatre on Theatre Row in Hollywood, but let me tell you I’m glad I took the stroll (with a stop or two along the way -- thank you Lost Property Bar, thank you Sassafras Saloon, oh heck, thank you Hungry Cat!) because there is a theatrical experience happening there on weekends that is well worth taking in.
Ray Richmond’s TRANSITION is a two-man play (with able assistance from a third) about what might have gone on in the first Oval Office meeting between President Barack Obama and newly-elected replacement Donald Trump. No one know exactly went down in that meeting on November 10, 2016, but Ray Richmond’s theatrical imagining draws out the truths.
To quote President Woodrow Wilson admiring a very different cinematic work more than 100 years ago (the first film to be shown at the White House and one Mr. Trump and his pal Bannon probably watch on weekends), TRANSITION "is like history written with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.”
And to quote the reviews that came in after this weekend’s premiere...
“A small gem!” “A delightful night of theatre!” “Ingenious!” “As close to perfection, especially for a new work of art, as one can get!"
How do you spell BOFFO?! Sam spells it T-R-A-N-S-I-T-I-O-N!
Ray slammed this thing out with a fury after Trump’s surprise victory, a play in which two actors portray two of the most well-known men on the planet -- and pull it off spectacularly!
This is no farce or impersonation-fest. Harry S. Murphy as Donald Trump wears the red necktie that extends past his flies, but transcends Alec Baldwin’s lampoon (nothing against the bloviating B brother, but I’m sorry, his Trump reminds me of more of my old pal Shecky Greene than Agent Orange). Murphy’s Trump is a characterization, not an impression, which makes it all the more frustratingly real -- and scary, pals. Joshua Wolf Coleman has a less showy role as the cool, principled President Obama, but he’s no less impressive. With a few twists to the speech pattern, he gets the essence of the man. Within minutes, we are no longer in a theatre but the Oval Office.
No doubt about it, TRANSITION is the political play of the year. It’s got elements of comedy, real drama, and a few moments that bring the theatre to a stunned silence.
And after the bows... well, let me tell ya, more than a few of the oldsters -- yeah, folks my age, what the heck -- in the audience, feared the Lounge Theatre had been invaded by the ruffians on Santa Monica Boulevard. It was the rapper Dylan, who within a few lines of his rap, The Divide, had all of us listening intently. It’s the perfect capper on the evening, and sends the audience out into the night with lots to think about.
Folks, take it from your man Sam, TRANSITION is an A+ theatrical experience, you won’t regret it, they sell wine in the lobby and I ain't saying it because I’m helping promote it
There are still a few weekends left in what should be the first of many productions of this theatrical work that’s perfect for actors of all stripes... in all cities... to give their takes. Find tickets at Plays411.