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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

L.A. premiere of "Those Whom the Gods Love"

 In Downtown LA, where artists have brought a cultural redevelopment to the historic buildings, nestled in the arts district, the theater company, KIDS TERRIBLES, set out to do something a little different to shake up their audience.  In the L.A. premiere of Those Whom the Gods Love written and directed by Olivia Lilley, we, the audience, are asked to meet at a newly opened restaurant called Eat.Drink.Americano, with the promise that a guide will escort us to an unknown location.  This “dude” shows up (and that’s all we’ll tell you) – he functions as a comic foil to the production itself.  A few of us were unsure if he, in fact, was the guide due to his off-beat style and humor.  But don’t hesitate or you’ll miss a show well worth your time.

The show is fun, fresh, and fearless in its sexual freedom!  Audience members described it as “saucy”, “naughty”, “hilarious”, and “edgy”.  One woman laughed as she said, “these characters are seriously messed up!”

The play perfectly ties to its Los Angeles setting with its ironic subject matter of how L.A. shapes American culture, and how three individuals, Lulu, Darren, and Sonia, fall prey to its promised fantasies, in a comedic yet tragic way.  The scene transitions reference the music of the late Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears, and the Smashing Pumpkins – all artists who comment on their own traumatic experiences as ‘celebrity’. With the NY Post recently publishing that "LA is the future", and "New York better watch out", it’s no wonder that all of the actors, producers, and director on this project hail from the Big Apple.

The characters’ journeys are epic in their drama and the stakes are high for them even if their lives seem small to the audience – which is where the humor comes in.  The writer and director, Olivia Lilley, has created a quick-witted script that shows up in the naive Sonia, the worm-like Darren, and the fiery Lulu.  Tyler Ham Pong plays Darren, and convincingly portrays a manipulative, self-absorbed neurotic.  Elise Cantu plays Sonia, whose big brown eyes brim with innocence and courage when she arrives at Darren’s doorstep to meet her internet boyfriend.  Christina Myers plays Lulu, and shines as brightly in her performance as the star Lulu longs to be.  The audience is eager to discover what Lulu and Darren are hiding up their sleeves in order to bed Sonia first.  In their battle to win Sonia's affections, Darren and Lulu stop at nothing in this sordid love triangle that transcends sexual orientation and identity. (

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