Sean Michael Boozer, Susan Louise O’Connor, Mara Shuster-Lefkowitz and Omari Williams in Clownfish. Photo by Brad C. Light.
A winter wedding at the top of a Colorado mountain is complicated by a blizzard, possibly haunted wedding party accommodations, and an out-of-control bride. (You can tell she’s the bride because she keeps yelling “I’m the bride!” while swilling champagne from a bottle.)
Clownfish, a world premiere by Amy Dellagiarino, marks the return to live for Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood. The title refers to a mounted fish on the cabin wall that captures the attention of the twenty-somethings who have arrived for the wedding.
The show is 90 minutes of real-time pre-wedding chaos. Two bridesmaids, college friends of the bride, are the first to arrive. Erica (Susan Louise O’Connor), recently recovered from a nervous breakdown, is focused on her job for what turns out to be a “DIY wedding.” This apparently means the guests are expected to handle basic responsibilities like decorations. Cassie (Jamila Webb), carries crystals for “protection,” didn’t attend the meeting where the binder of DIY assignments was distributed—and she’s not eager to review Erica’s and start on her own project.
Bride Katie (Mara Shuster-Lefkowitz) and groom Jake (Omari Williams) seem mismatched in a she’s out of control/he’s controlling kind of way. Jake expected a dry wedding, so Katie’s stash of champagne is surprising to him. But there’s not much time to focus on the couple’s likely future with all the swirling drama and snow.
One guest is trapped at the bottom of the mountain. Another (Sean Michael Boozer) is focused on getting the group to recognize him as Tod rather than Todd, yelling pronunciations that sound like exactly what the person said. Hunter (Joe Mahon) isn’t a part of the wedding party, but points out he knows CPR, as if that should be his entrée. The group constantly nags at Erica about her mental state. It’s a mess.
Scenic and Properties Designer Bill Voorhees does a great job creating a log cabin interior, as well as playing Ralph, a late arrival who’s associated with the rental cabin. Veteran director Laura Stribling contains the madness within the claustrophobic space where this motley crew finds itself. There’s a bouncing-off-the-walls feel to it all, and sometimes the action feels more like noise than actual plot. But this is a fun look at a major life event and its effect on a group whose members are both friends and strangers to each other.
Clownfish runs through Saturday, August 6 at Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N Cahuenga Blvd. (just north of Sunset). Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm. There will be no performance on Saturday, July 30 and an added performance on Monday, July 18 at 8pm. Tickets are $25.
About Laura Foti Cohen
Laura Foti Cohen has lived in the Brookside neighborhood since 1993. She works as a freelance writer, editor and consultant. She's also a playwright affiliated with Neo Ensemble Theatre in Hollywood.
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