Screw L.A., C’est la Vie Drama Group, at the Breadline Theatre. The best stories about Hollywood tend to come out of Hollywood, not the theater–works like Sunset Boulevard, written by insiders. But that fact doesn’t deter outraged playwrights from excoriating La-La Land as the source of our culture’s spiritual and aesthetic failings.
The real problem with Brian LaDuca’s self-directed psychodrama, however, is that it isn’t about Hollywood at all; it’s just another one-note take on the “mad at dad” theatrical motif. A young wannabe writer, Tate Langdon (played with painful stiffness by Nick Ferrin), hates his father for pushing him to make Hollywood his ultimate goal and for running off to LA with a woman who’s not Tate’s mom. (Kristen Braitkrus as the kooky but loving mother gives the only grounded, nuanced performance in this whole cliched, contrived mess.)
The program calls the show “a groundbreaking theatre/film hybrid.” On a planet devoid of both theater and film, that might be true. But in Chicago, where incorporating video onstage has been done to death–and done much better than it is here–the claim reeks of ill-informed showboating hubris of exactly the sort LaDuca seems to believe exists only in Hollywood, and never in the hallowed realms of small, plucky theater companies that are all about the art, man.