Vagrant (Digital -> Digical -> Dilogical -> Dialogical)
It’s refreshing to see some Los Angeles theatre that has you leave debating what you just witnessed and experienced. Vagrant is not candy on a stick, rather a full-bodied glass of wine. Eerily scored (Twilight Zone meets Sin City), the anachronistic noir of South Los Angeles brings Larkin (Patrick Burleigh), an LAPD officer, into a dilapidated digital repair shop sketchy of its own existence. The shop’s front man, Meyer (Christopher Allport), is a man living the past as NYC bridge-and-tunnel kid who attempts to mask his erred family life with Patty (Niamh McCormally), Meyer’s wife, a creature void of emotion one moment, grounded to life the next.
The trio performs Guy Zimmerman’s work, a sonata form tragedy with a sweet and sour recapitulation giving no pleasing-to-the-mind cadence. Meditating on that last atonal chord is the audience’s only liberation of the past hour and a half (and hopefully more than that).
Writer and director, Guy Zimmerman (also artistic director of the Padua Playwrights) came to Los Angeles in the early 1990s and found himself curiously involved in tragedy after tragedy:
It's difficult to imagine anything less LA than the tragic mind-set. Even more than most Americans, we Angelinos see nothing wrong with the aspiration to feel happy all the time. We surely rank among the most fervent adherents of the American credo that happiness is a thing and you can have it.
For the characters of the play, the Vagrant who used stand outside the digital repair shop (Meyer pronounces it digical, maybe dilogical) is part of what got in the way of happiness. Now gone, he still can't' find it and talks of his lost daughter - Pauline. Memories collide and repeat themselves in different forms in Vagrant, but a truth comes out of this tragedy:
We respond [to the effects of tragedy] because something within us enjoys not being lied to. And this enjoyment may taste even sweeter when we live in LA, crucible of self-protective deceptions.
Vagrant continues through March 4 at the solar powered performance space - The Electric Lodge in Venice.
Block quotes come from "LA Tragedy" by Guy Zimmerman, printed in the November 2003 issue of LA STAGE.