HAPPY HOLIDAYS -NOW PAY UP!

For most folks, this is the time of the month when those credit card bills start to come rolling in that calculate all of the spending made on those cards from the previous billing cycle.

As one can guess, December is usually the time when spending is at its peak, where millions of folks that hold access to those plastic little cards with the magnetic strip on the backside (or the microchip embedded on the front surface) use that card or cards to make purchases of goods and services that cater to the festive seasons that fall within that time frame. And with that season comes all of the merrymaking associated with such.

That’s all fun and stuff. Now that it’s January, it’s a period to start anew. It’s also the time where it’s the moment to pay the piper. That is, to make sure that those goods are accounted for to those that sold you the items in question.

Yep! Reality struck, and for many, it hit rather hard! Some folks were so caught up into the merrymaking that was going on, one tends to forget what would be the results long after the holly and mistletoe is put away in bins, boxes, and/or garbage cans for the season or for good. And those results are slapped onto their faces.

This year, the folks that do business online rose up to their ranks to gain a good part of that seasonal retail pie. Ad spending for online retailers rose some 21% according to the marketing firm Standard Media Index. Department stores also saw that ad increase by about 7%, meaning that the push to get folks to buy stuff was rather intense. And being in those stores held quite an experience for many, from Black Friday through Christmas Eve. In fact, the day after Christmas, December 26th a.k.a. Boxing Day, the retails outlets both in-store and on-line did see a massive amount of shopping. This was the day where folks went to the physical stores to return gifts received but unwanted, trade up those gifts for something they did desire, or to use those gift cards folks received as gifts to purchase something or another.

But now that the shopping is completed, it’s the moment to pony up. Granted, many credit card providers do offer some sort of premium where one receives some kind of point system calculation for discounts and/or credits as a reward for being loyal to the card. This method allows those to use the card while getting something in return–outside of a bill of course! And those rewards may lead of other notions, depending on the card provider. However, with many using physical cards, or through other methods of payments from online banking to many of the phone apps that exist, there’s always something to give and get in return!

Although the seasonal shopping may be already put to bed, there’s always more deals to find. If one wanted those big-deal 4K television machines, many retailers will offer sales close to the end of January as tied in with the Super Bowl game. The notion for this is to convince those TV set buyers that if one is going to host a Super Bowl watching party, it’s best to grab a bigger and sharper TV set to see each and every play in its finest detail! Even if one didn’t care so much for the game, that time is best to get a set, even though the Christmas, etc. season is lost past!

Then again, there are the January “white” sales to get linens and towels. But that’s for those that keep a household. Then again, one can wash their hands over the deal while binge watching their favorite video series on the streaming channel of choice on that 55” 4K high(er) def video device!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre 40 present Alex Goldberg’s IT IS DONE, a play that deals with three people in a roadside diner, each one possessing a specific journey in mind that doesn’t take a physical path.

Kurtis Bedford is Hank, the proprietor of a diner and bar located in an isolated part of a “middle of nowhere” location. The place receives little to no customers since it’s too far away from anywhere. A raging windstorm is causing havoc from the outside. Two mysterious travelers come in. The first one is Jonas (George Villas). He’s on some kind of escape. He’s not running away from someone, but from something that isn’t physical. He’s been having some kind of thoughts dealing with his past. He calls them dreams, but appears to be more of nightmares. As he and Hank are downing shots, in walks Ruby (Kate Whitney), She enters because her car broke down and wants to call roadside service for assistance. She joins the three and becomes interested in Jonas’ thought demons. But there is more than a basic curiosity factor that Ruby desire to know. Where did she come from? Why did Jonas arrive to a lonely diner just to ease his thoughts through booze? Is Hank just trying to get lucky with Ruby? It just might to a chance encounter between these three, or is it really just a “chance”?

This single act play composed by Alex Goldberg starts out as a basic story of three people brought together through circumstance where personal issues come out in the open, but later changes into a method that holds supernatural tendencies. These story points makes this play very interesting, if not challenging. It holds a selection of plot twists that takes form as the play progresses, becoming darker in terms of mood and ambiance. The cast of three are very likable, in spite of the program’s basic temper factors. Kurtis Bedford as Hank is more of the “fall guy”. His traits speak for what he does at the diner, such as amusing himself while awaiting for customers. (It has to do with ogling through girly magazines while he “spanks his monkey”!) George Villas as Jonas is calm yet neurotic, attempting to run away from something he isn’t too sure of. And Kate Whitney as Ruby is more of a mature yet sexy woman that holds more power than one could believe. All of these characters add to a production that is amusing at first yet alters to dramatic, with a healthy blend of mystery that isn’t easy to solve–assuming that there is a notion to solve a case in its first place!

Jeff Rack, Theatre 40’s residential set decorator, directs this play that moves in a steady clip, never letting itself go from its opening scene to its taxing conclusion. The play itself may not please everyone through its result as it doesn’t necessarily hold a traditional conclusion that one could expect. But to those that appreciate its sense of mystery, it hits the mark hard!

And yes, Mr. Rack also dresses the stage set, complete with all of the stock items one can expect in an isolated diner set in that middle of nowhere, from deer heads mounted to the walls, a rotary dial pay phone affixed on the wall, to a classic style corner jukebox loaded with Hank Williams’ greatest hits!

IT IS DONE sets the mood and spirit to another production that Theatre 40’s will present in repertory, a staging of a pair of classic Twilight Zone episodes originally written by Rod Serling call Rod Serling’s Stories From The Zone. That production will be the focus of a separate review that will appear in the next issue of Accessibly Live Off-Line.

IT IS DONE, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until February 19th. Showtimes are Monday, February 4th, and 18th, Tuesday, January 29th and February 19th, Wednesday, January 30th and February 19th, Thursday, January 31st and February 14th, Friday, January 25th, Saturday, January 26th and February 9th at 8:00 PM, and Sunday, February 3rd and 10th at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
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The Road Theatre Company of North Hollywood presents as its second production for its 2018-19 season, Jason Karasev’s DEATH HOUSE, a saga of a seasoned chaplain assigned to a prison death row complex who passes the assignment to a younger man in the ministry, only to engage in conflict with each other along with their next client who is about to be executed.

The setting is an unnamed state prison located somewhere in the nation. George (Sam Anderson) is a chaplain whose mission is to comfort death row prisoners that are about to be put to death for their committed crimes. He’s been at this job for over twenty years. Entering a stage of retirement, he will pass this job to Allen (Chase Cargill), a younger preacher at a regional Christian church. Allen became an admirer of George since he was a youth, sitting through a number of church services that George conducted. Now it’s time for Allen to do what his mentor has done for years. The two meet in the room at the prison where the death row inmate would spend their last few hours before entering the galleys. The room is dressed with a few furnishing consisting of a sofa, a writing desk, an end table, and a side chair. Not necessarily the comforts of home, but much better than a barren prison cell. George attempts to teach Allen his pointers on how to do his job. Allen, still a bit nervous, finds out about a number of elements from this newly minted assignment of his. He learns that his superior has this method set in different ways as he holds. These differences raises a number of conflicting issues that turn temperamental. But then there is the person who will be placed to death: Lilliana (Verity Branco), a young woman that lived through a troubled domestic life on the outside. Now it’s her time, and George and Allen are there to offer their serenity. But is there any comfort presented to Lilliana? And will Allen discover success in being the new prison chaplain, in spite of what George has done for the past number of years?

This play was first presented through a number play writing workshops through the recent years, including The Road Theatre’s Summer Playwrights Festival in 2017. This stage version presented as a world premier, holds a number of episodes of intense drama. Its first act deals with the conflicts of a pair of “men of the cloth” that shows little to resemble in what they preach! George the elder, and Allen, the new recruit, can’t seem to get along with each other, almost engaging in an intense fight! Its second act shows their dealing with death row inmate Lilliana, one of the few female prisoners that will be set to take the last mile. This is where redemption sets in. Perhaps this redemption is the only moment where this stage presentation displays anything that is close to being upbeat.

The three cast members that appear in this program holds toward their own personalities. San Anderson as George is the senior of the bunch that has gone through this death row process more than anyone of recent times. Chase Cargill as Allen is the youthful “preacher man”-type that is married with a child on the way. He could fit in any Christian-esque church created for a post-modern audience. And Verity Branco as Lilliana knows why she is in the inside, and why she is about to meet her fate. Her crime was committed for a reason, and she regrets in what she did. But justice must take part in her ordeal.

Michael Peretzian directs this performance that shows a range of drama that can become tender and bitter, with a light touch of humor. (Nervous humor at that!) This blend of emotions make what this play proves itself to be. That in spite of what has been done and what will take place, one can be more connected to elements that one may desire to admit.

With a title and theme as DEATH HOUSE, it won’t be a spoiler alert to state that this play is on the “down” side. There won’t be a happy ending presented, or at least, a happy ending that is of the traditional sense. Then again, its moral to the story can be described that it’s never too late to mend one’s heart or being. It just has to be executed (no pun intended) in the right practice.

DEATH HOUSE, presented by and performs at The Road Theatre Company, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, until March 10th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

For tickets and for further details, call (818) 761-8838, or via online at
http://www.RoadTheatre.org
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is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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