Monthly Archive for: ‘November, 2016’

Entanglement entertaining but needs work at Z Space Below

Emma (Madeline HD Brown) and Luke (Louis Parnell) in AJ Baker's ENTANGLEMENT

Emma (Madeline HD Brown) and Luke (Louis Parnell) in AJ Baker’s ENTANGLEMENT

ENTANGLEMENT: Comedy by AJ Baker. Directed by Louis Parnell. 3Girls Theatre Company, Z Space Below, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco, CA Tickets at Entanglement entertaining but needs work at Z Space Below Rating: ★★★☆☆

November 18- December 17, 2016

Five years ago theatre icon Lee Brady and two other playwrights (AJ Baker and Suze Allen) started the 3Girls Theatre Company that now numbers nine members specifically to “get women’s plays on the stage where they belong.” Initially they had staged readings of selected plays and eventually set up a New Works Festival contest selecting best of those submitted for production. The present play Entanglement was the 2015 winner that had multiple readings during the process of re-writing before receiving a full production. Oddly they elected to bring on board a male director, the multi-talented Lou Parnell.

That decision follows the story line of play within a play where a woman author Emma Howard (Madeline H. D. Brown) is to play the female role of Kat and contacts her former husband Luke Pine (Louis Parnell) to direct the play that is also entitled  Entanglement to be presented as part of San Francisco Fringe Festival. This seems odd since Luke and Emma have been separated for about 20 years without any communication between them. Luke accepts the job and brings along his 24 year old daughter Jeri (Heather Gordon) as co-director. The play within the play has two characters, wife Kat and husband Doug. Emma insists that her husband Rob (Chad Deverman) a grade school administrator play the role of Doug.

The stage is set for conflict to erupt and it does but not before Baker brings along the underwritten but necessary fourth character for the dual role as a bartender and backstage technician (Julian Green). As with any stage production there are different interpretations of dialog and motivation and the script changes before the play reaches the stage. Those changes are suggested by Luke who brings the rewrites to the rehearsals. Those rewrites and the rehearsals do not sit well with Emma who eventually capitulates but not before antagonizing all.

A further complication occurs when some of the action follows the actual life of Emma and Luke when they were a couple with an apparent, yet cogent, throw-away line, “This is not a memoir. It is a play!”

In actuality author Baker is suggesting a theory of “Quantum love” using the science of Quantum mechanics that Wikipedia states: “Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance.”  Emma has written the play to express her feelings to Luke of how their former relationship has consequences that bridge time and distance and its effect on other people. She has hijacked Shakespeare’s device in Hamlet of the play replacing unspoken words as well expressing betrayal.

The multiple scenes do not flow although Jeff Wincek’s fine utilitarian set allows full use of the entire stage and an off-stage left theatre entrance. Director Parnell has the unenviable task of balancing the histrionics of the character Emma with underplaying of Rod by Deverman. Heather Gordon’s is remarkable in her role.

The play runs 90 minutes without and intermission with an ending that seems too pat considering the conflict within the story. There are some inconsistencies in the time line suggesting, as in the play within the play needs re-writing.

CAST: Featuring: Madeline H.D. Brown, Louis Parnell, Chad Deverman, Heather Gordon & Julian Green.

CREATIVE CRW: Stage Manager, Tanya Telson; Assistant to the Director, Zach Kopciak; Set Design, Jeff Wincek; Technical Direction/Lighting Design, Brendan Lee; Costume Design, Robin Bradford; Props, Spiraleena Mason; Fight Choreography, Mike Martinez; Production Manager, Spiraleena Mason;   Graphic Design, Deb Harrison, Pogostick Studio; Publicist, Steve Indig.

Kedar K Adour, MD

Courtesy of

Photo Credit (all photos): Mario Parnell Photography

Emma (Madeline HD Brown) and Luke (Louis Parnell) in AJ Baker’s ENTANGLEMENT

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