LA Theater Review: A MEMORY OF TWO MONDAYS (Ruskin Theatre in Santa Monica)

by Tony Frankel on August 18, 2011

in Theater-Los Angeles

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THANKS FOR THE MEMORY

Occasionally, I attend theater with no intention of reviewing a show, but afterwards my spirit is so refreshed by an uplifting and inspiring experience that an urgent plea for your attendance is my only priority. It was at the Ruskin Theatre that my need for ensemble acting of the highest order was more than satiated. Arthur Miller’s 1955 work, A Memory of Two Mondays, does not come close to being his best work, yet it wholly satisfies in that he has created a bevy of marvelously well-drawn characters who work at a New York automobile parts warehouse during the Great Depression.

A MEMORY OF TWO MONDAYS – Arthur Miller – Ruskin Theatre in Santa MonicaThe packed house was rapt as each actor manifested old-school techniques that would have made Lee Strasberg proud: sense memory, listening, and imagination all make the short list of the ingredients employed by these brilliant performers. No doubt, director Amelia Mulkey has an astounding eye for casting, but the way she staged her ensemble only helped them to relate to each other better. I can’t rave enough, and every second that you read this review may be that time you needed to get seats to the final performances.

A MEMORY OF TWO MONDAYS – Arthur Miller – Ruskin Theatre in Santa MonicaEvery actor deserves mention, but one represents the magic goings on because he only had minutes to create a lasting impression. Not since Beatrice Straight’s five minute and forty second Academy Award-winning turn in Network have I witnessed such a memorable portrayal by an actor in such a short amount of time: Hamilton Matthews, whose character is known simply as “Mechanic,” has so much internal machinery clanking around in his psyche that it was difficult to focus on anything but his performance and the glorious idiosyncrasies that his character possessed.

Bravo to Mr. Matthews and thank you to all at the Ruskin.

tonyfrankel @ stageandcinema.com

photos by Agnes Magyari

A Memory of Two Mondays
scheduled to end on August 28
for tickets, visit http://www.ruskingrouptheatre.com or call 310.397.3244

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