ENTANGLEMENT, by AJ Baker, directed by Louis Parnell. 3Girls Theatre Company @ Z-Below
Emma (Madeline HD Brown) and Luke (Louis Parnell) in AJ Baker’s ENTANGLEMENT
SF City Review by Gaetana Caldwell-Smith
Show runs in San Francisco through December 17.
3Girls Theatre company presents the World Premiere of AJ Baker’s delightful and thought-provoking newest play, ENTANGLEMENT. Using quantum mechanics or Stuart Bell’s “quantum entanglement”, which Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”, an aspect of the physical sciences concerning the actions of one body’s energy affecting another whether close, miles, or light-years distant, or when a butterfly flaps its wings on one part of the earth it causes an earthquake in another, ENTANGLEMENT is about relationships between theatre folk: a playwright, her play, and her director. AJ Baker says it sounds a lot like the language of love.
Seems playwright, Emma Howard (Madeline H. D. Brown), had had an unrequited love affair some decades past, with her much older director, Luke Pine (impish Louis Parnell, who also directed ENTANGLEMENT), when she was an actor, She has written a play about their relationship with names and details changed to protect the innocent. She has contacted Pine to direct. They meet in a bar; he first refuses, then finally relents. But the pressure’s on as the play must be staged in two weeks. Readings take place in the theatre (Scenic designer Jeff Wincek’s bar set easily and cleverly transforms into a bare stage), Emma wants the lead and reads with her actor husband, Rob Howard (dark, handsome, bearded Chad Deverman). After a while Pine manages to convince Emma that she’s too close to the subject and wants to replace her with his beautiful, flirty, sexy 23 year old daughter, Jeri (Heather Gordon), who openly comes on to Rob. We are treated to rehearsal scenes, arguments about the play where Luke insists on rewrites, to which Emma rejects, but appears helpless to win Luke over. His changes work. New pages are inserted, dialogue is gone over and over. Julian Green is an absolute delight in his roles as both a bartender, and Sam Taylor- stage manager/audio-lighting technician- and Jeri’s boyfriend. There are the usual mix-ups and misunderstandings pertinent to a theatre company’s readying a play for opening night. Director Parnell designed a sound-track of classic jazz (Miles Davis, for one) and pop standards, even “Stayin’ Alive” a disco fave to which Green moves Travolta-like when he thinks he’s alone in the theatre.
Entanglement is at the Z-Space Below, 450 Florida and runs till December 17. 8PM Thu, Fri, Sat; 2PM Sunday, 2 & 8PM Sunday,