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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / Fringe Review: ‘5 Sirens’

Fringe Review: ‘5 Sirens’

by Pasadena Independent
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Bart Tangredi, Robert Seeley, Jenny Curtis, Kara Ludke and Tora Kim Photos courtesy of John Wetzork

Bart Tangredi, Robert Seeley, Jenny Curtis, Kara Ludke and Tora Kim
– Photo by John Wetzork

By Nathaniel Cayanan

5 Sirens: Beware of Rocks, one of the many plays playing at the Fringe Festival in Hollywood, compiles five very different 10-minute plays written by five women with very distinct styles.  The play features a geek and a diehard sports fan connecting at a baseball game; a dominatrix and her client delving into the complexities of love, loneliness and violence; two sisters humorously arguing over the phone while one of them is stuck in the infamous L.A. traffic; a woman struggling with a life-changing diagnosis; and a hillbilly pleading with a Martian to … well, I won’t give it away.

Certainly, this format of quick storytelling is unconventional, as most audiences are used to full narratives told in the milieu of beautiful sets on expansive stages, but 5 Sirens allows anyone watching the opportunity to quickly explore a variety of perspectives, ideas, and talents of local artists through the medium of small theatre.

Spock at Bat, written by Kiera Nowacki, Don’t Panic, written by Sarah Dzida, and Out of Here, written by Laurel Wetzork, all add a lightness to the overall production, with quirky banter and creative scenarios.

Such lightness balances out some of the heavier subject matter explored in the other two plays: Whatever Works, written by Caron Tate, and Ten Years Left, written by Autumn McAlpin.  Tate’s and McAlpin’s works are perhaps the most compelling of the five, as they dare to delve into very deep, very serious ideas in spite of the limited time they have.

McAlpin’s Ten Years Left is especially good with its interesting execution in telling a story that spans about a decade.  In the play, the main character, played by Jenny Curtis, has but one line at the very end, yet exhibits an incredible amount of subtext throughout with her silent mannerisms.  Director Laura Steinroeder accomplishes this by using the cast mates to mirror Curtis’ character’s struggles as a woman who becomes disempowered as a mother, wife, and professional.

Tate’s play benefits from wonderfully cringe-worthy performances provided by Tora Kim and Robert Seeley, who play Nya and Charlie – ”wonderfully cringe-worthy” because it’s hard to say that choking, boot licking, and erotic violence are easy to watch, but, in this case, they truly help in making Tate’s play work as a whole.

As per usual for Fringe plays, the performance space is limited, and sets minimal, especially in this one since each play must quickly change sets between each one, but if you want to see a diverse set of voices and support local theatre, check out these five sirens.

5 Sirens: Beware of Rocks will play until June 27th at Asylum Lab, 1078 Lillian Way, Los Angeles, 90038.  Show days are Thursday, June 18 at 8:30 p.m., Sunday, June 21st at 2:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 27th at 5:30 p.m.  Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.HollywoodFringe.org.

Julianna Robinson and Kara Ludke

Julianna Robinson and Kara Ludke. – Photo by John Wetzork


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