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Arts and Entertainment

New Theater Company Premieres September 11 Play at the Odyssey

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Liz Rebert and Paul Kampf in Breadline's '11, September' | Photo: Alice Fox

Liz Rebert and Paul Kampf in Breadline's '11, September' | Photo: Alice Fox
--by Lyle Zimskind for LAistBreadline Productions, a new theater company in these parts that presented more than 20 original plays in a previous Chicago incarnation, is now introducing itself to Los Angeles audiences with the world premiere staging of 11, September at the Odyssey Theatre on Sepulveda Boulevard.

Written by and co-starring company artistic director Paul Kampf, 11, September mostly takes place in the New York apartment of a young waitress who hooks up with one of her café customers, an out-of-town professor participating in a conference to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. Whether by fate, design or coincidence, then, the pair’s respective disclosures reveal that their lives are more tightly, and tragically, entwined than their evidently random initial encounter had indicated.

During its decade of activity in Chicago, and before that in downstate Illinois, Breadline became known for producing new work with distinctly, though not overbearingly, social and political resonance. “The theater,” suggests Kampf, “is one of the last places where you can bring together a group of people who really agree or disagree with what they’re seeing, but won’t remain indifferent to it. And our company gives you a night in the theater that, whether you love it or dislike it, will make you think about your place in this world.”

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Before moving to LA, where Breadline has also expanded to encompass an active film development/production entity as well as a performance training institute, the company had a core group of 10-12 actors and artists whom it worked with consistently, which Kampf hopes to replicate here as well. “You don’t really think of LA as a theater town when you’re in Chicago. But what’s surprised me in the best possible way is just how much theater does go on in LA. It’s tremendously vibrant—all these unique, great productions. The Chicago theater community is kind of closed, and you’re expected to earn your stripes in some way before you get embraced. Out here, people are really open, forthright in offering advice on designers and everything, in a ‘Welcome to the community’ kind of way.”

Running through the first weekend of February, 11, September has earned respectful reviews from the mainstream press and laid the foundation for Breadline’s next projects in its new hometown. Adds Kampf: “It is our intent to find like-minded individuals to help us create a permanent home for our theater production that will serve as the center for all our artistic endeavors. If [this show] piques your interest and you’d like to get to know more about Breadline and being a part of our future, let’s get a cup of coffee and see where that takes us!”

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