Tolucan Times - November 19, 2003

Marley's Ghost

By Pat Taylor

An interactive performance art piece, so innovative, unique, and brilliant, I fear I can barely do it justice in my raving accolades! This is a phenomenal experience you must see yourself to believe! Presented by Circle X, a group dedicated to offering provocative and bold new plays, and ingeniously written by Jeff Goode, we are taken on an unforgettable holiday journey, (an exceptional playwright, you may remember his X-rated hit show in 1996, The Eight: Reindeer Monologues). This is the story before the unfolding of the classic holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol. An involving, eerie, entertaining look at the unpleasant life of Jacob Marley, and how he came to haunt Ebenezer Scrooge. Now, get this! This fable is enacted on the grounds of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where the bodies of Rudolph Valentino, Bugsy Siegal, Tyrone Power, and a host of other celebrities eternally rest in peace. Audience members bond, as “fellow passengers to the grave,” as we briskly stroll through the cemetery, stopping often to view connecting vignettes in the moonlight, (adding to the soggy magic, it was pouring with rain the night we went). The entire outdoor scenes are lit by open flame and battery operated elements, eerie live music, and all Foley work is done in our view. Chilling! We are later ushered into a mausoleum, and treated to the indoors portion of the tale, then outdoors again for the closing acts. Like no other show I’ve seen, the production values in every area are exemplary! The story, actors, creative visuals, sounds and sights are indescribable. A bit like A Christmas Carol meets The Twilight Zone, we are swept up in the bizarre magic. Under the imaginative monumental direction of Matthew Bretz, 15 actors play over 30 roles, with flawless, character driven skill. In the challenging lead role of Marley, Keythe Parley is purely perfect! Delightful in his despicable portrayal, we loved disliking him! Also enjoyed stand out performances by Johanna McKay, the compelling “Giant Spirit,” Kevin Fabian as the wacky “Diminutive Giant,” and Bob Clendenin, as the hateful Scrooge. Too many actors to comment on everyone, but let it be stated that all were terrific! “Fab” eye popping costumes by Cynthia Hertog, complicated production design by Gary Smoot, moody lighting by Geoff Korf, and haunting sound by Paul Hepker, round out the wonder of it all!

Running through Dec. 20th at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. (audience enters at Gower gate) For info call 323 461- 6069. This is a trip...Take it!