The superb acting alone is reason to watch “The Hairy Ape.”
“The Hairy Ape” is now playing at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble. It’s a perfect re-imagination of a play from the 1920s about the dehumanized working class and the capitalistic machine that feasts on them. It’s a must-watch production written by Eugene O’Neill and directed by Steven Berkoff. There are a number of reasons to watch this play, but here at the top five.
1) It’s “a rallying cry for the Bernie Sanders crowd” – Despite Sanders’ impending return to the United States Senate after almost causing one of the greatest upsets in the history of U.S. politics, people are still Feelin’ the Bern, which is why the return of “The Hairy Ape” couldn’t have come at a better time. Steven Berkoff, who’s had an illustrious film and theater career, directs this riveting play called “a rallying cry for the Bernie Sanders crowd” by L.A. Times theater critic Charles McNulty.
2) The Acting – From top to bottom, the cast (Hailé D’Alan, Benjamin Davies, Katy Davis, Joseph Gilbert, Jeremiah O’Brian, Andres Ramacho, Anthony Rutowicz, Paul Stanko, Dennis Gersten and Jennifer Taub) is such a perfect fit for this play that features memorable knockout performances. The superb acting alone is reason to watch.
3) The Odyssey Theatre – Whether it’s giving up-and-coming voices a stage or bringing back old classics, the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble does an excellent job picking its productions. This is no different, as “The Hairy Ape” is one of many classics brought back to this wonderful, charismatic theater. Everyone, from the office to the people in concessions to the folks in the box office, seems to be immersed in this theater. It’s contagious, and it’s definitely a place where you would want to become a regular.
4) The Turn-of-the-Century/Roaring ‘20s – The aesthetic of the time in which “The Hairy Ape” takes place is in full display in the look, sound and feel of this play. From the start of the play during the Industrial Revolution to the Roaring ‘20s, this play has all the quintessential charm of that period yet feels surprisingly modern in the way its presented.
5) Expressionism! – The emotion and distorted realities of post-World War I America come to life with the enthralling mannerisms of the expressionist movement. This play is fierce and attention-grabbing in an artful way, much like a lot of the art of the time in which it was written.
“The Hairy Ape” runs Thursdays through Saturdays (plus June 15) at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through July 17 at Odyssey Theatre (2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles 90025). For tickets and more information, call (310) 377-2055 or visit odysseytheatre.com.