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Yellow Flesh / Alabaster Rose
It's unlike almost anything in LA. It's honest. It's raw. It doesn't try to be safe. There's no means to an end here; no three picture deals, no agenda to court the entertainment industry.
this is the first attempt to bridge the gap. to make you understand. the first act, if you will. the beauty of this play is the notable lack of a safety net involved. no deus ex machina, no well-placed musical numbers. this is a specific voice bifurcated into specific voices. this is about family and love and abuse and healing and how sometimes they don't tie up neatly into a sixty-minute time slot. it's funny. it's sad. it's both. it's human. this is a play in which the family is the main character, the past informs their actions, and we are invited to put a quarter in the slot as the present unfolds.
Yellow Flesh/Alabaster Rose began when playwright Erik Patterson originally wanted to write a play "that had seven lap dances". That concept didn't click, but when Theatre of NOTE member Rebecca Gray mentioned the upcoming submissions for the company's Noteworthy New Play Workshop, Erik submitted the first 60 pages of what would be Yellow Flesh. The play was accepted and workshopped at NOTE as part of the 2002 Noteworthy Series. That workshop was my introduction to the play. It made me want to write what you're reading. No, really. It's that good.
the first petal opens on Valentine's Day--
"I wrote what I was afraid of," Erik explains, and it's that unerring attention to uncomfortable detail that informs every character in the piece. Like Elliott, played by Christopher Neiman. He is Act One. He is Yellow, or Yellow is his. He thinks himself a coward. He tries to heal his scars with sex. He is damaged, but not a victim. He is the first male protagonist Erik's penned. He is reunited with his sister through a lapdance...
this is not a play for the faint of heart. there are no camera pans from the bed to the candle. no slow dissolves. even the seating has been designed so not only will the audience be confronting what is occurring right in front of them, but they will be forced to face each other in the half-pipe of an ocean wave. in the exact moment the play is in.
Sixty percent of the play was written in coffee shops, forty percent was written in strip clubs. The stripper scenes were written in the coffee shops. Becky, played by Jennifer Ann Evans, is a stripper. Becky is a mother. Becky is Elliot's sister. Becky is trying to redefine her role in many different worlds. Mother, sister, lover, all tangled together. All propelled forward when she is reunited with her brother.
the second petal opens-
it's an incredibly brave way to confront issues of sexual abuse. Miguel Montalvo, who has made this play his directing debut, calls it "a play about incest that is not about incest". And the ripples are felt down the family tree as the play unfolds. And while Elliott and Becky seek salvation through the physical, sex is not an option for their sister, Little B...
sometimes we simply know love by becoming what we love. Little B loves Bjork. so. Little B IS Bjork. Little B, played by Alina Phelan, clings to her Bjorkness like a security blanket. just a bit off-white. like alabaster.
finding identity by trying on different roles. the third petal opens-
If the first half of the play is about searching for love through sex, the second half is about finding love through family. It's not about theatre of cruelty, it's about the intimacy that leads to healing. Every member of the audience will create their own catharsis. Even the set design by Laura Hyman is predicated on placing the viewers at varying heights, creating a very individual interpretation of the production.
Family healing that branches through generations from the three siblings to Becky's daughter, named for a grandmother she never knew...
Rose is a 15 year old Goth girl. Rose is every 15 year old Goth girl. Rose is uniquely Becky's daughter. Rose is dealing with her mom's open sexuality. Rose likes Nine Inch Nails. Rose is...
played by get underground poet Rachel Kann, who praises Erik Patterson's work when she states, "Speaking as a poet, it's a rare blessing to find a writer whose work is so powerful that you are as driven to speak his words as speak your own". Rachel admits that because of the intense connection she felt with the character, the process was often an emotional rollercoaster. And she'll tell give you a laundry list of reasons why you should see the play: It's unlike almost anything in LA. It's honest. It's raw. It doesn't try to be safe. There's no means to an end here; no three picture deals, no agenda to court the entertainment industry.
Erik Patterson wrote what he was afraid of, and trusted it to the Theatre of NOTE to realize that vision.
Yellow Flesh/Alabaster Rose opens February 14th at Theatre of NOTE, 1517 Cahuenga Blvd in Hollywood. It runs Thursday through Saturday at 8 PM through March 29th. Tickets are $15.00. Reservations can be made at 323.856.8611, or log on to theatreofnote.com for more information.