I loves me some darkness. Regular readers of this blog no doubt recognize that. On the other hand, for every shadow there is light. Indeed without light shadow becomes impossible. Hence a relatively "feel good" work such as Cold Tangerines at the 2016 Hollywood Fringe bothers me not at all. Quite the opposite!
Little Candle Productions adapted this play about author Shawna (Lynn Downey Braswell) past various insecurities and neuroses into achieving her dream of authorship. Self-knowledge remains a desperately beloved theme in my eyes. What too often ruins it ends up being ham-fisted "pat" answers. Not so this work. Yeah, we laugh rather than weep, but since when is that some kind of bad thing? Both work. Either one can be appropriate. This one's tone is just right for humor, often done with plenty of panache by a very skilled cast of performers.
Other than Braswell, the rest of the cast plays Shawna as well, at least parts of her, memories of her, fragments of her personality. I cannot say how much Maria McCann, Amanda Miller and Melissa Blue Ward make this play work. As written (this is not a criticism) the words themselves could be end up dull as dishwater or a particularly saccharine birthday card. But instead we get into the genuine humor of all the neurotic epics played out inside the mind of a seemingly "ordinary" life. Note the quotation marks. The implied premise here--one I applaud with all the power of my soul--remains that no such thing exists. Our value and our uniqueness may be questioned, alas nearly always is (and when you look at those who never question it, that might not be a bad thing), but remains a truth we should embrace every singe day.
Cold Tangerines plays at the Lounge 6201 Santa Monica Boulevard (one bock east of Vine) Saturday June 18 2016, 4:00 PM and Saturday June 25 2016, 8:00 PM.