Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Theater Review: Arrowhead

The thrill of the new is alive at IAMA. The Atwater Village-based theater company is dedicated to commissioning new works, supporting LA playwrights, and collaborating with other LA theater outlets. With Arrowhead, the first two are on display in spectacular fashion: IAMA commissioned the work, about the romantic travails of a group of millennials, from Los Angeles playwright Catya McMullen.

Lindsay Coryne and Nate Smith in Arrowhead. Photo by Jeff Lorch.

Anyone who has lived or worked with millennials will recognize the self-awareness that sometimes gets in the way of their all-important authenticity. Being true to yourself isn’t so easy when you haven’t quite figured out who you are. And deciding who you are is, well, complicated, when your uncontrollable attractions don’t match the identity you thought you had forged.

Adrián González and Nate Smith in Arrowhead. Photo by Jeff Lorch.

The personification of this quandary is Gen (Amielynn Abellera), an avowed lesbian who, at open, is on the toilet letting an abortion pill do its work. Wait, how does a lesbian end up with an unwanted pregnancy? Well, spoiler alert, it happens the old-fashioned way, with a man and a hefty dose of shame.

Amielynn Abellera and Kathleen Littlefield in Arrowhead. Photo by Jeff Lorch.

The shame in this case is due more to identity issues than the actual pregnancy. Gen’s friends, the gay Maggie (Kacie Rogers) and Cam (Lindsay Coryne) and cis-Mom Stacy (IAMA artistic director Stefanie Black), are supportive, if confused. Gen is in a loving relationship with scatter-brained Lily (Kathleen Littlefield), who has not joined the group at the cottage where the rest have gathered. (She is mostly seen during phone calls with Gen, when she appears onstage.)

That already fraught gathering gets its temperature raised by the appearance of Stacy’s brother Levi (Nate Smith) and his friend Brody (Adrián González). So much male energy! It’s unwelcome, but the cottage is a family home for Stacy and Levi and he insists on remaining.

Amielynn Abellera, Stefanie Black, Kacie Rogers, Adrián González and Nate Smith in Arrowhead. Photo by Jeff Lorch.

The emotional sturm und drang always retains its comic edge. At one point, in between pumping breast milk for the six-month-old twins she has left with her panicked husband, Stacy asks, “Is everyone in this house playing sexual orientation musical chairs?”

The ensuing developments are hilarious and heartbreaking. Director Jenna Worsham beautifully takes the cast along a tightrope that playwright McMullen calls “my love letter to queerness.” Coryne and Smith are standouts in a cast that feels very much like a self-made family. Arrowhead is a fun, deeply engaging and eye-opening quest for truth above all.

IAMA’s Arrowhead runs at the Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., through March 4 Fridays through Sundays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased here.


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Laura Foti Cohen
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 Theatre West.

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