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Arts and Entertainment

LAist Recommends: The Famine Plays

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The new weather systems have hit, possibly due to global warming, and our country is a desert. It's Mad Max in America. It's Firefly/Serenity minus spaceships and western clad. It is The Famine Plays by Richard Caliban.

Part of Theatre of NOTE's "apocalyptic season," this cyberpunk drama is not just about survival and finding water in the desert, but about violence, loneliness and denial. In what other world do people get beat to death as a man continually screams "Walt Whitman!"

"Such things don't happen to nice countries like ours," said Mrs. Klinger, an elderly but strong and mentally persistent character, as she helped her now insane husband walk across the desert. But such things do and can happen to our country, especially in our changing climate. "Bad time to be alive," another character said upon meeting a fellow desert traveler. Indeed, we would not want to live in the world created by Caliban and director Amanda McRaven.

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Famine runs 100-minutes without intermission, but goes extremely fast as it is built upon plays within plays (hence the plurality of them title). Scenes of the various miniatures are interwoven into the whole and last anywhere from 5 seconds to 10-minutes. As each mini-play collides into each other, the story turns from laughter (sometimes uncomfortably) to depressing and violent to intriguing and insightful. We recommend it to you because the experience of the play, those linear kinetic events, lead to one of the most perfect endings in theatre we have seen in a long time. It was satisfyingly beautiful.


The Famine Plays are probably not for children as there is nudity and extreme violence.

The Famine Plays
June 29 - August 4
Thursdays - Saturdays @ 8:00 p.m.

Theatre of NOTE
1517 N. Cahuenga (just north of Sunset)
Hollywood, CA 90028

Parking is $3.00 and can be found at the Arlight Cinemas. Make sure to get your ticket validated at the NOTE box office.

Photos by Peter Gref for the Theatre of NOTE. Top photo of Mandi Moss as Runner. Bottom photo of Judith Ann Levitt and John MacKane as Mr. & Mrs. Klinger.