Activities

David Mamet's Controversial Play 'Race' Gets L.A. Premiere At The Kirk Douglas

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--laist.com September 11, 2014

Shortly before David Mamet's "Race" opened on Broadway, the playwright himself took the unusual step of contributing an explanatory essay to the New York Times about his potentially controversial new work. "I have never spent much time thinking about the themes of my plays," Mamet asserted, "as I have noticed [that] when an audience begins to talk about the play's theme, it means the plot was no good. But my current play does have a theme, and that theme is race and the lies we tell each other on the subject."

Almost exactly five years after the publication date of that NYT article, "Race" is finally getting its Los Angeles premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, and as Mamet perhaps implied, its plot is not among his strongest. Still, in addressing what one of the play's characters describes as "the most incendiary topic in our history," the play comprehensively fulfills what Mamet has elsewhere described as theater's essential mission to address "a seemingly unresolvable social problem," a societal "unconscious confusion," in a way that we could not rationally consider anywhere else.

The entire play takes place in the conference room of a three-attorney criminal defense law firm where we initially see the two middle-aged partners grilling potential client Charles Strickland (Jonno Roberts), a publicly-prominent Wall Street one-percenter type whom the DA has charged with raping a young black woman in a hotel room. One of the partners, Jack Dawson (Chris Bauer) is white; the other, Henry Brown (Dominic Hoffman), is black. The third lawyer, Susan (DeWanda Wise), also black, is a novice associate with Ivy League law review credentials, who starts out quietly taking notes on the discussion, but soon becomes critically involved in the firm's strategic disposition of Strickland's case.

The overt (and obviously questionable) premise of the play and the partners' understanding of Strickland's prospects before a jury is that the deck is stacked against the accused because no one wants to let a white man off the hook for a crime against a black victim. "We're thrilled you're guilty," explains Brown. "Because of the calendar. Fifty years ago, you're white? Same case, same facts, you're innocent. This is the situation in which you discover yourself."

Dawson believes Strickland is innocent, while Susan is convinced he's guilty but still recognizes his right to a defense. It is not long, though, before Dawson's professional cockiness, in classic Mametian fashion, prevents him from even noticing a few boneheaded statements he makes about the racial politics of the case, racial politics in general and Susan's own status as a young black woman in his employment. Inevitably, then, her own agenda shifts from cooperation to confrontation.

The conflict between a young woman protégée who turns the tables on her older male professional mentors may bring to mind Mamet's earlier plays "Speed-the-Plow" and "Oleanna," even if our sympathies are far less one-sided here than in that latter play. The basic problem with "Race," though, is that for all the firepower generated by the accusations, recriminations, apologies and betrayals flying back and forth between the attorneys, the real consequences of their decisions are borne not by themselves, but by their client Strickland, who's not even onstage that much and strikes us as little more than a helpless dud when he is. In Mamet's better plays, the characters claw at each other's souls and fates to save themselves; in "Race" the characters' arguments are their own, but the stakes pile up largely outside of their arena.

Veteran Mamet director Scott Zigler grants the intricacies of the characters' respective grievances a clear airing, and all four cast members successfully maintain the intensity that Mamet's dialogue ratchets up for them. The floor to ceiling shelves lined with law books which subtly dominate set designer Jeffery Eisenman's spacious conference room leave no doubt that we are all at the mercy of these officers of the court and their manipulations of the rules.

For David Mamet's NY Times essay, go to: "We Can't Stop Talking About Race in America"

"Race" plays every evening except Monday, plus matinees Saturday and Sunday, through September 28. Tickets $25 through $55 (plus a 10% service charge) on the CTG  website.

Chris Bauer, Dominic Hoffman, Jonno Roberts and DeWanda Wise to Star in RACE at CTG's Kirk Douglas Theatre This Fall

Chris Bauer, Dominic Hoffman, Jonno Roberts and DeWanda Wise to Star in RACE at CTG's Kirk Douglas Theatre This Fall

--August 6, 2014

Casting is set for Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet's "Race," which opens September 7, 2014, at the Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. Previews begin August 31, and performances run through September 28.

Directed by longtime Mamet collaborator Scott Zigler, "Race" features acclaimed stage and screen actors Chris Bauer("True Blood," "The Wire," Broadway's "A Streetcar Named Desire"), Dominic Hoffman, (Mamet's world premiere of "Faustus"), Jonno Roberts (Broadway's "Take Me Out") and DeWanda Wise (ABC's "Firelight").

"Race" has set design by Jeffery P. Eisenmann, costume design by Leah Piehl and lighting design by Josh Epstein. Casting is by Mark B. Simon, CSA, and the production stage manager is Kirsten Parker.

In "Race," Mamet tackles America's most controversial subject in his provocative tale of sex, guilt and bold accusations. In "Race," two lawyers find themselves defending a wealthy white executive charged with sexually assaulting a black woman. When a new legal assistant gets involved in the case, the opinions that boil beneath explode to the surface.

David Mamet is the author of the plays "The Anarchist," "Race," "Keep Your Pantheon," "School," "November," "Romance," "Boston Marriage," "Faustus," "Oleanna," "Glengarry Glen Ross" (1984 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award), "American Buffalo," "The Old Neighborhood," "A Life in the Theatre," "Speed-the-Plow," "Edmond," "Lakeboat," "The Water Engine," "The Woods" "Sexual Perversity in Chicago," "Reunion" and "The Cryptogram" (1995 Obie Award). His translations and adaptations include "Faustus" and "Red River" by Pierre Laville, and "The Cherry Orchard," "Three Sisters" and "Uncle Vanya" by Anton Chekov. His films include "The Postman Always Rings Twice," "The Verdict," "The Untouchables," "House of Games" (writer/director), "Oleanna" (writer/director), "Homicide" (writer/director), "The Spanish Prisoner" (writer/director), "Heist" (writer/director), "Spartan" (writer/director), "Redbelt" (writer/director), "Phil Spector" (writer/director). Mr. Mamet is also the author of "Warm and Cold," a book for children with drawings by Donald Sultan, and two other children's books, "Passover" and "The Duck and the Goat; Writing in Restaurants," "Some Freaks," and "Make-Believe Town," three volumes of essays; "The Hero Pony" and "The Chinaman," two books of poems; "Three Children's Plays," "On Directing Film," "The Cabin," and the novels "The Village," "The Old Religion" and "Wilson." His most recent books include the acting books, "True & False," "Three Uses of the Knife," "Bambi Vs. Godzilla," "Three War Stories," and "The Secret Knowledge." "Glengarry Glen Ross" was awarded the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play in 2005.

Tickets for "Race" are available at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, the CTG box office located at the Ahmanson Theatre, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre box office starting two hours before curtain or by calling (213) 628-2772.

Pictured: L-R (back row): cast members Chris Bauer and Dominic Hoffman and L-R (front row): cast members DeWanda Wise and Jonno Roberts during the first rehearsal forDavid Mamet's "Race." Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Jessica Lange to Receive Santa Barbara Film Fest's Kirk Douglas Award

-- Boston Globe Juy 30, 2014

Jessica Lange will be the ninth recipient of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Kirk Douglas award for excellence in film this year.

Lange, who won an Emmy in her first season on "American Horror Story," will be presented with the award at a gala at Santa Barbara's Bacara Resort and Spa on Nov. 16. She follows past recipients such as Quentin Tarantino, Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro and John Travolta.

"Jessica Lange possesses the three key elements in making it in this crazy business: talent, beauty, and intelligence," said Kirk Douglas in a statement, "all of which have served her well and continue to do so. It is my honor to give her my award."

Lange won the Academy Awards for best actress and supporting actress for her roles in "Blue Sky" and "Tootsie" respectively. She was also nominated for best actress in four additional roles: "Frances," "Country," "Sweet Dreams" and "Music Box" and has been Emmy nominated the past two years for "American Horror Story."

The Kirk Douglas award serves as a fundraiser to the annual festival, which will be celebrating its 30th anniversary from Jan. 27 through Feb. 5. This year's festival will also include a three day film studies program for undergraduate film students to learn film appreciation, criticism and analysis from film educators.

DOUGLAS INTERVIEW REBROADCAST TONIGHT

Pat Harvey's inteview will be repeated tonight, Sunday, July 27, between 8:30 & 9 PM on KCAL9. The couple recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, and the interview focuses on their enduring romance, their life together, and their many achievements, including their work for charity.

REMINDER: INTERVIEW TONITE!

 

A reminder about a very unique event: 

Kirk and Anne Douglas will be interviewed by Pat Harvey on Friday, July 25, at 11 PM PDT on KCBS Los Angeles, Channel 2. The couple recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. The interview will focus on their enduring romance, their life together, and their many achievements, including their work for charity. 

You can also see the interview on-line at http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/

On Sunday, July 27, the interview will be repeated between 8:30 and 9 PM on KCBS's sister station KCAL9. 

Don't miss this rare opportunity to get an inside look at one of Holllywood's most legendary marriages! 

Kirk One-Man Show Airs July 24

NEWS FLASH!

The film of Kirk Douglas's one-man theatre piece BEFORE I FORGET will air tonight, July 24, 2014, on TCM at 7:15 PM Pacific Time / 10:15 PM Eastern Time. Kirk talks about his life on screen and off with a mixture of humor and seriousness that made the show a critical hit when it first appeared on stage. 

Kirk & Anne Interview Fri July 25 11 PM KCBS

--July 22, 2014

kd ad rome 1954

Kirk and Anne Douglas will be interviewed by Pat Harvey on Friday, July 25, at 11 PM PDT on KCBS Los Angeles, Channel 2. The couple recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. The interview will focus on their enduring romance, their life together, and their many achievements, including their work for charity. 

You can also see the interview on-line at http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/

On Sunday, July 27, the interview will be repeated between 8:30 and 9 PM on KCBS's sister station KCAL9. We'll update you on more specifics as we receive them.

Don't miss this rare opportunity to get an inside look at one of Holllywood's most legendary marriages! 

PRINCESS AND PIRATES Sing-a-Long Concert at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo Flash: Meet the Cast of PRINCESS AND PIRATES Sing-a-Long Concert at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

--July 17, 2014 broadwayworld.com

Lythgoe Family Productions (LFP) in association with The Pasadena Playhouse, presents a production for kids and their families -- PRINCESS AND PIRATES Sing-a-Long Concert. Scroll down for a sneak peek at the cast!


The cast will featureLindsay Pearce as "Snow White/Maid Marion" ("Glee"), Molly McCook as "Cinderella/Wendy/Aurora" ("Free Agents," "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Curt Hansen as "Prince Charming/Prince Phillip" ("Next to Normal" on Broadway, "Wicked" First National Tour), Clifton Hall as "Prince Harry" ("Next to Normal" on Broadway, "Wicked" National Tour), Clarice Ordaz as "Princess Jasmine" ("So You Think You Can Dance"), Jonathan Meza as "Muddles" (Nick Jr.'s "Jumpitz"), David F.M. Vaughn as "Captain Hook/Sheriff of Nottingham" (US Tour of "Shrek the Musical"), and JP Dupé as "Peter Pan" ("So You Think You Can Dance Canada").

PRINCESS AND PIRATES Sing-a-Long Concert is directed and choreographed by Spencer Liff (Emmy nominee "So You Think You Can Dance" and currently represented on Broadway for the musical staging of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" starring Neil Patrick Harris) and musical supervisor Michael Orland ("American Idol").

The show includes the family musical interactive fun that LFP is known for, with beloved fairytale characters singing well known pop songs; from Snow White singing Katy Perry's "Firework," to Aladdin singing One Direction's "That's What Makes You Beautiful," and the Sheriff of Nottingham's own rendition of Lady Gaga's "Applause." Everyone will be singing along and dancing in the aisles! So come cheer your favorite Princess and Boo! Captain Hook as he tries to spoil the fun.

In addition to Director and Choreographer Spencer Liff, the creative team for PRINCESS AND PIRATES Sing-a-long Concert includes musical supervision by Michael Orland ("American Idol"), book by Kris Lythgoe, scenic and costume design by Lythgoe Family Productions. PRINCESS AND PIRATES Sing-a-long Concert is produced by Kris Lythgoe and Becky Lythgoe.

PRINCESS AND PIRATES Sing-a-Long Concert will be performed for four weekends only - July 18 through August 10, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Tickets are now on sale at www.princesspirateslive.com and by phone by calling 213.972.4488.

Stay Tuned: Kirk & Anne on 60 Years of Marriage

--July 2, 2014

Kirk and Anne Douglas recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. What's the secret?

You'll get the chance to find out later this month when Pat Harvey of KCBS Los Angeles airs an interview with the enduring couple. Air time has not been set, but will probably be during Pat's 11 PM show on July 16, 17, or 18. A repeat airing will take place on KCBS's sister station KCAL9 the following day during the afternoon. 

We'll let you know exact dates and times as soon as they are set. A rare opportunity to get an inside look at one of Hollywood's legendary marriages!

David Mamet, Culture Clash part of Kirk Douglas Theatre season

--June 3, 2014 Los Angeles Times

A production of David Mamet's 2009 play "Race" and a new version of Culture Clash's "Chavez Ravine" are among the highlights of the Kirk Douglas Theatre's 2014-15 season, which was announced Tuesday by Center Theatre Group.

The season will feature two other mainstage productions -- the new play “Luna Gale” by Rebecca Gilman, which was recently seen at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, and the 2010 musical "Girlfriend." 

"Race" (Aug. 31 to Sept. 28), which will open the season, comes in a production directed by Scott Zigler, who has had a long association with Mamet and who served as artistic director of New York's Atlantic Theatre Co.

Zigler directed the play at the Philadelphia Theatre Co. in 2011. The drama, which opened on Broadway in 2009, tells the story of a group of attorneys and their arguments over a case involving a white man's alleged crime against a black woman. 

Gilman's "Luna Gale" (Nov. 23 to Dec. 21) is a drama about a social worker who finds herself in an ethical dilemma when faced with having to find a home for a baby of two teenage drug addicts. The play opened in January at the Goodman Theatre, where it was directed by the theater's artistic director, Robert Falls.

"Chavez Ravine" (Jan. 27 to March 1, 2015) will be seen in a new version created by the group Culture Clash and director Lisa Peterson. The theater work, which Culture Clash debuted in 2003 at the Mark Taper Forum, follows a Mexican American neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles and the development of what would become Dodger Stadium. 

The musical "Girlfriend" (July 12 to Aug. 9, 2015), which opened at Berkeley Repertory in 2010, follows the relationship between two high school boys in Nebraska. The show features songs from the album of the same name by pop musician Matthew Sweet. The musical "Girlfriend" (July 12 to Aug. 9, 2015), which opened at Berkeley Repertory in 2010, follows the relationship between two high school boys in Nebraska. The show features songs from the album of the same name by pop musician Matthew Sweet. 

In addition to the mainstage offerings, the Kirk Douglas season will include sidebar productions as part of the DouglasPlus series. The lineup includes Dael Orlandersmith’s "Forever" (Oct. 9 to 26); "Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up" (May 21 to 31, 2015) by Lucy Alibar, co-screenwriter for the movie "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; and "How to Be a Rock Critic" (June 17 to 28, 2015) by Jessica Blank and Eric Jensen, based on the life of Lester Bangs.

The DouglasPlus series will also present "Facing Our Truth: Ten-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege” on July 13. The six plays, written in response to the death of Trayvon Martin and subsequent legal case involving George Zimmerman, were commissioned by the New Black Fest in New York and will be read at various theater companies around the country.