By Nathaniel Cayanan
For those who love small, independently-produced theatre, good news! The Fringe Festival is in town. For the rest of June, small theatres all across Hollywood will feature some of the most talented writing, directing and acting talent for the stage that Los Angeles has to offer.
Sure, such small productions don’t have to appeal of the grandiose sets and pyrotechnics that big Broadway musicals offer, but there’s still a lot to appreciate in these smaller productions that are increasingly becoming rare.
Ex Communication, a play written and directed by Los Angeles writer Jonathan Kuhn, is a good example of such talent on display at the Fringe. The one-act play follows a struggling writer, Graham, played by Ivan Lovegren, as he meets five of his ex-girlfriends, one after the other, at a local coffee shop, hoping to convince one (or all of them) to rekindle their failed relationships.
The play is light-hearted, from beginning to end, poking fun at the complexities of (somewhat) young love in today’s atmosphere saturated with social media and a need to express every little thing on one’s mind, which the characters do with every single line.
You may wonder why in the world this guy would go through the process of trying to get back with his five exes, some of whom having broken things off pretty bitterly, but such motivations, which are exposed in the end, don’t really take away from the overall humor filled with banter and geek references.
While the concept of a 30-something-year-old man meeting with his exes the same way an executive meets with subordinates may play close to being overly quirky, Lacy Prince’s wisecracking barista at said coffee shop serves as our access point. Throughout, she comments on the absurdity of the situation, even tossing subtle insults at the seemingly self-centered main character, as we wait for his true motivations to be revealed.
Perhaps the best exchange between man and ex is that with performer Amy Granados, who in every second of her scene-stealing performance as Beth really captures the audience with hilarious cathartic rants.
True, the set is minimal, and the stage space small, but if you appreciate what some of Los Angeles’ emerging talents have to offer and want to support small, local theatre, Ex Communication might be a good show to check out. Be warned though: if you bring a significant other, make sure they don’t have jealousy issues.
Ex Communication will run until June 27th at Underground Theatre, 1314 N. Wilton Place. Show days are June 20th at 4 p.m., June 21st at 6:30 p.m. and June 30th at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the 1 hour show are $10 and can be purchased at www.hollywoodfringe.org.