In the media world, there is always some form of news being announced about updates on those TV streaming services consisting of TV “channels” where one can watch content delivered through an internet-based connection either for free (with advertising) or for a monthly fee. (No ads!!) This method of information informs upon what service will be offering what, when, how, as well as how much.
From all of these details, it appears that obtaining long(er) form entertainment is more accessible than ever before! Not so much on what to see and how, but just the fact that if one wanted to view some form of content, be it a “TV” series, a feature length movie, or even short form video–content that runs ten minutes of less, then it’s available for cheap or for free!
With this being all said and done, one would think that going out of one’s way to view content for entertainment purposes would be considered as “old hat”, and perhaps something from another generation, especially to a much younger demographic. However, this doesn’t appear to be the case.
On April 26th, The Walt Disney Company released the feature Avengers: Endgame, supposedly the “last” entry to the Avengers movie series. This super-hero comic book action/adventure title became one of the top box office entries in all of moviedom. On its opening weekend from Thursday, April 25th (when it showing as a “preview”), through Sunday, April 28th, it grossed some $350 million in North America. Adding the rest of the world, that came to some 1.2 billion dollars. And these numbers only reflect the time period noted above!
Many of the numbers that came through such sources as BoxOfficeMojo.com, recorded that this movie broke many previous records in terms of the money earned through theatrical showings. The previous movies that once held said records as biggest grossing amount on a Friday, biggest international gross (international meaning outside of North America), and so on, were either the previous Avengers titles Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, or Star Wars: The Force Awakens. All three titles were released by The Walt Disney Company. Two other tiles once holding some kind of money making record now broken by Endgame; Jurassic World, The Fate of the Furious, and Despicable Me 3, are owned by Universal. Those movies hold a similar link as those tiles are also action/adventure comic-book-esque selections, but not falling into the “super-hero” category. And Despicable Me 3 is an animated title. That is more “comic book” than any other those making making movies noted above.
However, those numbers are from the theatrical showings, the ones where people physically head over to a movie theatre, plunk down anywhere from $5.00 to as much as $20.00 per adult (18+) for the privilege of viewing this title inside of a large darken room along with other strangers that can laugh, cry, scream, and yell with the action taking place on the big screen. This method of watching content has been around for over 100 years! The type of content screened, the way it’s presented (silent, sound, color, widescreen, 3-D, etc.) and to what is viewed and how within those methods changed over the generations, but the procedure hasn’t. It’s all the same, and for a majority of the time, somebody has to pay up for this privilege.
Of course, when television became first accessible in the late 1940’s, this was counted as “the beginning of the end” to the movie industry. Many of those big deal studios that churned out content on a regular basis (at one time, MGM used to release a movie every week!), thought that within a few years, nobody would ever see a movie in a theater when they can stay home and become entertained at for free. (Not really “free” since one had to go about to buy a TV set in order to watch the said content at home!) But unlike buying a TV set, there wasn’t anything else to pay–not counting electricity to fire up the set or to pay a TV repair man if the set itself goes on the blink!
Movie theaters however, changed admission. Depending on where one was seeing a movie, those costs could range from as little as fifty cents to as much as $4.00 based upon dollar amount values from the time period.
As one can guess, TV may have changed the ways and methods that movies are created and distributed, but movies themselves never totally went away! And the above statistics all prove these points.
So why do people still go out to the movies when they can watch content on any electronic device that sports a screen for the same price or less? Perhaps the biggest argument to this notion is the fact that it gives people a change to get out of the house, as well as experiencing something with others that react in methods the single viewer may not necessarily experience on their own! For instance, if one was viewing a comedy, then one would hear some laughs along with what was being said and/or done on screen! If the viewer was watching the same content sans audience, that joke or gag may not appear to be as humorous. It may not even be noticed! That in-person “laugh track” makes the joke more funny, depending on the amount of laughs the gag in question received! TV sitcoms always presented a laugh track that made almost every single joke, gag, or situation fall into the same level of humor, even if the person experiencing the gag didn’t think much of the schtick presented.
So what this all breaks down to is the fact that movie theaters exist so one can watch a title with built-in emotional appeal, and to get away from where one dwells. The person is inside of a place, the movie theatre, not seen as often, or never been seen before. Yes, one may have to plunk down a few dollars for this experience (not counting concessions where the theaters make their most money), but one will do so for the experience, rather than anything else. One can’t necessarily receive that same experience watching a movie (or anything for that matter) on a 50” wide TV monitor, or on a hand held device with a screen as little as 4” in diameter.
So don’t worry folks! That nearby movie house that sports as many as 30+ screens in one place won’t be going away for a while! So if one has a hankering, one can still spend a Saturday night at the movies. And who cares what picture you see! When it comes to being in the balcony with your baby may be a bit of a challenge as these same theaters no longer have balconies, and babes in arms also need a ticket, if they are even allowed inside of a moving picture house! Then again, there is always the chance that one can hand that babe a smartphone to view anything age appropriate. However, that topic is for another article as that stands!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Ensemble Studio Theatre/Los Angeles presents MOVING ON: THE 2019 ONE ACTS, a performance consisting of five different short plays that deal with the life and times of now.
The program starts off with Sophia Lewis’ ROCK LOGIC, directed by Katie Lindsay, where Sammy (Kait Schuster) tells her girlfriend Taylor (Saliha Muttalib) that as a child, she was assigned to be the “earth assistant” to a series of large rocks located in a nearby park where she can communicate with its spirit.
The second entry, Jeannie Webb’s SMILING CAT CANDY HEARTS, is about a newly separated couple that hold a discussion at a fast food restaurant on how they will schedule visitation custody of their twelve year old daughter who only communicates by speaking in “emojis”. Christopher T. Wood plays the father, Lauren Campedelli, alternating with Desiree Mee Jung, is the mother, and Juliette Allison Bailey, alternating with Julianna Riley, plays the daughter. Directed by June Carryl.
The next production, Ashley Rose Wellman’s THE COLD PLACE, is about Robin (Lizzie Peet, alternating with Brenda Varda), and Daniel (Wes McGee), who meet at a motel room that resemble the two having an affair. However, this meeting doesn’t turn out to be as what’s expected. Christopher James Raymond directs.
The fourth entry is Christine Hamilton-Schmidt’s POSSIBLE DERANGED LUNATIC, where a mother and her adult daughter (Sarah Brooke and Poonnam Basu) spends their late nights listing to a podcast that tells true crime stories of horrendous murders. They receive a visit from Peter (Michael James Bell) who is a neighbor that just moved in. He brings a cherry pie as a welcoming gift. Is Peter really a friendly neighbor, or does he have an evil plot in mind? Directed by William Charlton.
The fifth and final entry is Ken Levine’s SIGNING OFF, about a meeting with Teddy Hold (Nick Ullett, alternating with Michael C. Mahon), a well known late night TV talk show personality, and Josh Barnes (Clayton Farris), an up and coming stand-up comic who is chosen to become Teddy’s replacement. Is Teddy really ready for retirement, and will Josh take over to represent the new generation? Tony Pasqaulini directs.
This anthology of short single act plays (thus the title of this collection), speaks for how the times are indeed changing, while the conflicts each presentation speaks for can be as timeless. As with anthologies, it’s indeed a mixed bag as some short pieces are better that the others. However, in spite of this eclectic selection, each passing stage piece shows off its own unique voice, even if that voice falls upon a quirky slice of life as one may know of it–or not!
It’s not often that one can experience a group of short plays as this collection consists of. It’s been stated that big things come in small packages. MOVING ON.. is a stockpile of those intimate packages that hold plenty of ideas, with a few good laughs inserted to boot!
MOVING ON: THE 2019 ONE ACTS, presented by Ensemble Studio Theatre/Los Angeles, and performs at the Atwater Village Theatre Complex, 3269 Casitas Avenue, Los Angeles (Atwater Village), until May 26th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.
For ticket reservations, visit https://dime.io/events/2019-one-acts. For more details, visit http://www.EstLosAngeles.org/2019-One-Acts
Theatre West presents Abbott Alexander’s solo show THE LONG GRAVEL ROAD, a spoken saga about one soul’s personal journey through time, space, and reaches yet to be taken.
Abbott enter his space where he begins to emote about what he sees. Not in any physical capacity, but through points that lead up within his mind, noting a vast arrangement of thoughts. Upon entering a “dark mystical neither world”, leading toward a sprinkling of pop culture references (some well known, other long forgotten), he brings himself back to where he came and where is is heading–perhaps the fore noted long gravel road of life!
In this performance, Abbott’s one man showcase is not akin any type of single presenter’s performance. Unlike the other said shows where the performer acting as storyteller spins a narrative about a background that was experienced, he speaks in a service of prose that isn’t necessarily connected, yet forms toward a poetic stance to it all! His speech doesn’t fall as a “once-upon-a-time-I-lived-a-life” persona, but as an antidote that must be realized from the master itself. In other words, it’s a theater piece that is difficult to describe in a linear sense. One must be there to fashion it all…and what fashion! Donning an outfit of total black (t-shirt and darken slacks) hoisted on a stage that is as black, he carries on for roughly sixty-five minutes uttering his say of his unique prose sans metrical structure. It’s all Abbott standing tall on his theater podium.
Along with this vast staging of witticism, Garrett Parks provides the musically based soundscape effects seated off stage right, ranging from a rap on a drumhead, to the audio vibe of musical sounds played upon an electronic keyboard that add drama to Abbott’s speeches. His musical effects speak for its own self!
Again, this solo show as presented on Theater West’s stage is more of a poetic slam that doesn’t slam. It doesn’t suck either because it’s idiosyncratic! And yes, there is a bit of humor added to this mix of verbal prose. One may have to seek for it, but it’s indeed present. For those that desire their stage theatrics verbiage as a stand alone, Abbott’s presentation is for that fan. As the theory states, you have to be there to really receive and interpret to the message! That long gravel road is there, so take it!
THE LONG GRAVEL ROAD, presented by Theatre West in association with Pergola Productions, performs at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, until June 1st. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM.
For ticket reservations, call (323) 851-7977, or via online at http://TheatreWest.org/The-Long-Gravel-Road/
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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!