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Arts and Entertainment

Cocteau Hour: 'The Human Voice' at Elephant Space Theatre

Ho-Jung in The Human Voice. (Photo by Ed Krieger)
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The Human Voice, an English translation of Jean Cocteau's La Voix humaine, is currently playing at Elephant Space Theatre on Hollywood's Theatre Row. Cocteau's play turns the audience into voyeurs spying on a telephone break-up between lovers during the hello operator days in 1930s Paris. Ho-Jung performs this classic avant garde monologue loved by the likes of Roberto Rossellini, Francis Poulenc, and Robert Rimbaud.Ho-Jung gives an admirable performance as the mentally unstable woman of Human Voice. She gracefully infuses the nameless Parisian character with delicate femininity, naturally acting with her entire body and incorporating minute, subtle details to give an active, breathing memoir that is completely convincing. The entire monologue is written so that the audience can take in only one side of a telephone conversation, left to imagine what is being said by the other speaker. Ho-Jung has a knack for simple reality suspension and effortlessly makes the audience really believe that she is talking to a recently lost lover on an old landline phone.

Under the artful direction of Dan Bonnell, Human Voice is carefully presented with classic, muted, expressionist sensibilities. A small portion of dialogue is awkward, perhaps lost in translation from French to English, but this should be considered part of the charm of foreign language works. Good, tone-setting light design often goes unrecognized in the theatre, but Chris Wojciescyn's lighting for this drama is quite beautiful and does much to enhance the play.

The Human Voice is playing through April 24, 2011 at Elephant Space Theatre, located at 6322 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90038. Tickets are available online or via phone at 323-960-7863.