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Theater Reviews: Full Disclosure and second

Scene from Filament Theatre's production, second.
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- by Lyle Zimskind

Two plays that just opened in LA are being performed not in typical theater spaces, but rather in fully furnished private homes on quiet streets in unassuming neighborhoods. The Filament Theatre Co. is presenting the west coast premiere of a drama called second in three different rooms of a large house in Echo Park (with spectacular views in two directions from the bedroom, by the way). Full Disclosure, a new work developed by the Chalk Repertory Theatre, is currently playing at a smaller house (but check out the nice-sized swimming pool and putting green in the backyard) near Lake Balboa, way deep in the heart of the San Fernando Valley.

Actually, the production of Full Disclosure is going to be moving around to different houses in various parts of town, including Pacific Palisades and Studio City, during its run over the next month. What all of these homes will have in common, though, is that each one of them is genuinely up for sale. So this interactive one-woman show about a real estate agent displaying the property to a group of prospective buyers (i.e., the audience) at an open house is more than just a performance piece—it's a potential life-changer if you're interested.

Before the play even starts, our hostess Sunny Clark (Amy Ellenberger) welcomes us in and encourages us to look around the place, answering any questions we may throw her way about the house's previous owners, the market right now, the school district, the hardwood floors. Once refreshments have been served, the perfectly named Sunny has everyone take a seat on a chair or sofa in the living room, and her casual chit-chat segues first into a canned sales pitch and ultimately, of course, into the story she can’t help telling.

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Each member of the audience at second, quite by contrast, gets to choose which room in the house they want to watch the play from: the living room, the dining room or the bedroom. All three of these are equipped with two TV monitors and a loudspeaker and staffed by a crew member with a handheld camcorder. Once the play starts, then, no matter which room you may have chosen to sit in, you can watch what’s going on in all three at the same time. Also unlike in Full Disclosure, the events in second are not set in the house itself, but in various locations in New York City on Christmas Eve.