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Theater in L.A.: New Solo Shows

Edmund L. Shaff as Winston Churchill | Photo by Carla Barnett
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We've already had a couple of occasions in recent months to ruminate on the prevalence of one-person theater performances in LA. But they just keep coming. If we'd wanted to, we could have seen a different solo show every single night last week (OK, maybe we did kind of want to, so let's say: if we'd had the time). In the end we managed to catch four of them. And while only one was anything like a must-see for those so inclined, they were all different enough from each other to stave off the sense that we were repeating ourselves.

When acclaimed British playwright and screenwriter (The Hours, The Reader) David Hare's Via Dolorosa opened on Broadway in 1999, the whole point of the show was that it starred David Hare. Hare isn't an actor, but his venture to Israel and the occupied territories motivated him to take the stage himself to relate his experiences and reenact his encounters with all the characters he met there rather than write a conventional play based on them. Now that Via Dolorosa is being performed in Southern California for the first time, though, Hare isn't here. Instead, the part of "The Author" in the production at Burbank's Missing Piece Theater is played by veteran actor David Bryan Jackson, who starts off the play, as Hare, talking about how strange and unusual it is for him to be in front of an audience. This sounds like it shouldn't work. But it does work very, very well.