May 23, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

“Arrival & Departure” at The Fountain Theatre

Beverly Cohn, Editor-at-LargeWith 28 years of producing, directing, and writing under his artistic belt, resulting in over 225 awards for the works presented at the Fountain Theatre, co-founded with Deborah Culver in 1990, it comes as no surprise that Stephen Sachs has once again created a compelling, visually stunning play. I say visually stunning as “Arrival & Departure” is inspired by Sir Noël Coward’s “Brief Encounter” and is a multi-media production that incorporates both film and live action, with the cast comprised of hearing and deaf actors.

Performed on a highly creative set designed by Matthew G. Hill, who maximizes the limited space by creating a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shop nestled in a New York City subway station, which easily morphs into the living room, bedroom or kitchen of Emily (Deanne Bray) and her husband Doug (Brian Robert Burns). How, might you ask, could this be accomplished without moving set pieces around? Well, here’s where the influence of the iconic film comes into play (no pun intended). Superbly envisioned by director Sachs, Nicholas E. Santiago’s video design masterfully creates the different settings – including train stations, speeding trains, and crowds of people frenetically rushing about the city streets, which Sachs emulates on stage with rapid, rushed movement patterns executed by the cast. I think you get the idea. You are watching a film representing the different settings which then segues into live action utilizing both oral and American Sign Language, (ASL) including open captioning to accommodate both deaf and hearing audiences. 

The story begins at home of Emily and Doug and their daughter Jule, (adorable Aurelia Myers) who is in the throes of 13-year-old angst. Her mom is surprised at her unhappiness with Jule’s friend, (Claire Elizabeth Beale). “I thought you were best friends?” “I don’t even like her.” This young lady has become smitten with a boy she met on the online Crush Zone and is desperately trying to convince her parents that she should be allowed to meet him. As if being desperate to date wasn’t enough, the poor kid has an experience that plunges her deeper into the decision that no one will ever love her. Emily, who is hard of hearing, has learned ASL. She wants to be a good wife and is trying to please her religious husband by agreeing to being baptized and devoting her life to Jesus Christ. Her “voice,” when she signs, is effectively spoken by Stasha Surdyke, who captures the nuances of Emily’s conflicted character. She is unhappy that her husband never learned ASL so that she can more comfortably communicate with him. Beneath the devoted wife/mother exterior, we sense a growing anxiety and Bray’s performance is truly riveting as she captures the conflicted multi-layers of her character.

The initial encounter begins at the 59th Street subway station when a speck flies into Emily’s eye. She needs a napkin and goes into Dunkin’ Donuts, run by Mya, a tough food service worker who does not brook fools easily. Jessica Jade Andres gives a wonderful performance as this no-nonsense New Yorker who is being wooed by transit cop Russell, an endearing character playfully brought to life by Shon Fuller. It is here that Emily meets Sam, magically played by Troy Kotsur, Bray’s real-life Deaf husband. Sam’s signed dialogue is voiced through Adam Burch, who also captures the deep emotions of his non-speaking counterpart. Sam, a filmmaker who teaches Deaf students the art of filmmaking, is gallant and removes the speck from this pretty young woman’s eye, thus inaugurating a slowly evolving warm, loving but sub rosa relationship. They begin to meet on Thursdays at Central Park, the setting crisply brought to life by the authentic video of the park being flashed in the background. He too, is married and has two sons but the attraction is too powerful for them to stop seeing each other. In one particularly endearing moment, Sam, with a delightfully active inner child, convinces Emily to remove her shoes and take a dip in the lake, which is so realistically presented that as an audience member you would love to join them. How does this liaison end? Will Emily’s family issues be resolved? Will the terribly insecure daughter develop any confidence? Will Emily’s husband learn ASL? What happens to Sam and his family? I’m not saying another word.

Once again, Sachs has scored a hit with this superb production which will make you laugh, and might even bring a little tear to your eye as you get a peek into the lives of ordinary people and how a chance encounter impacts on their families. It might even remind you of have a chance encounter of your own. The well-crafted script also illuminates the frustration of being stuck between the hearing and the hard-of- hearing worlds. In the end, this is an aching love story woven through the prism of the every day familial demands of two strangers, who through an unexpected meeting, fall in love.

“Arrival & Departure”

(Inspired by Noel Coward’s “Brief Encounter”)

The Fountain Theatre

5060 Fountain Avenue

Los Angeles CA 90029

(Fountain at Normandie)

Playwright and Director: Stephen Sachs

Scenic Design: Matthew G. Hill

Lighting Design: Donny Jackson

Costume Design: Michael Mullen

Sound Design and Original Music: Peter Bayne

Technical Director: Scott Tuomey

Run:

Mondays: 8 p.m.

Fridays and Saturdays: 8 p.m.

Sunday: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Closing: Sunday, September 30, 2018

Tickets $35-$40

Seniors: $30

Students: $20

323.663.1525 or www.FountainTheatre.com

Related Posts

8 Essential Things to Do After a Car Accident in Las Vegas

April 16, 2024

April 16, 2024

A car crash can be extremely traumatic for the people involved in it. Even if there is no major injury...

8 Essential Things to Do After a CarAccident in Las Vegas

April 8, 2024

April 8, 2024

A car crash can be extremely traumatic for the people involved in it. Even if there is no major injury...

Foreign Currency in International Business Expansion

January 2, 2024

January 2, 2024

Business has transformed into a whole different dimension. The interconnectedness across countries is increasing the feasibility of business expansions. It...

How to Select Quality Solar Panels and Installation in California

January 2, 2024

January 2, 2024

As solar energy becomes more affordable and popular, many homeowners in California are considering installing solar panels. However, not all...

Celebrating Christmas in Las Vegas: A Winter Wonderland of Fun and Festivity

November 15, 2023

November 15, 2023

As the festive season approaches, Las Vegas transforms into a glittering winter wonderland, offering a unique and magical Christmas experience....

Navigating Oxnard’s Public Transportation System: A Driver’s Guide

November 2, 2023

November 2, 2023

Whether you live in Oxnard or want to visit, it’s useful to know how to get around this coastal city....

15 Tips For Keeping Burglars Out Of Your Business

October 16, 2023

October 16, 2023

In the ever-evolving realm of business security, the persistent threat of burglary perpetually looms overhead like a dark cloud. The...

US Gambling Laws

July 12, 2023

July 12, 2023

Whilst casino gaming is a significant part of the American culture, US gambling laws are ever-changing. Prior to the Unlawful...

Reasonable Renting in The City of Angels

June 2, 2023

June 2, 2023

What would it be like to wake up in a bustling metropolis filled with endless possibilities, set against rows of...

BEST BITCOINS CASINO 2023: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

May 29, 2023

May 29, 2023

Bitcoins casino and cryptocurrency casinos are in full swing, and they will increase users exponentially in the coming years. However,...

Messi Drives Up Ticket Prices Up for this MLS Season.

May 4, 2023

May 4, 2023

Lionel Messi’s arrival in Major League Soccer (MLS) is already causing a stir, and the profound effect it is having...

Don’t Miss Your Last Chance to Experience CORTEO by Cirque du Soleil!

April 25, 2023

April 25, 2023

The Show’s Run At The Microsoft Theater Ends On April 30  Time is running out for fans of CORTEO by...

Enforcement of LA’s Home Sharing Ordinance for Short-Term Rentals Falls Significantly in 2022

April 4, 2023

April 4, 2023

Better Neighbors LA report highlights the inadequacies of enforcement measures for short-term rentals in Los Angeles, calling for increased regulation...

Tragic Fire Claims Lives of Elderly Couple and Their Cat in Mar Vista

February 9, 2023

February 9, 2023

Doris Bergman and Albert Sassoe Jr. victims in Wednesday morning fire By Sam Catanzaro An elderly couple and their cat...

4 Tips for Landing Your Dream Job

January 2, 2023

January 2, 2023

New graduates have fresh skill sets and they are driven by a desire to succeed. Hampering this desire, however, is...