Los Angeles Theater Review: POOL (NO WATER) (Monkey Wrench Collective in Hollywood)

Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: POOL (NO WATER)  (Monkey Wrench Collective in Hollywood)

by Tom Chaits on June 13, 2012

in Theater-Los Angeles

TO MAKE pool (no water) FLOAT

If you’ve been wondering whatever happened to all those experimental communal collective consciousness theater pieces that made New York’s famed La MaMa legendary back in the early 70’s, wonder no more. The art form is alive and well and swimming into The Complex’s Flight Theatre in a quirky yet absorbing production of Mark (Shopping and Fucking) Ravenhill’s pool (no water).

On one hand, the plot is fairly straight forward. When one member of a tight knit group of Bohemian artists hits the big time, the rest of the clan is left to wallow in their pity and envy from afar. In an effort to reunite and heal the group, the newly proclaimed impresario invites them all to party at her flashy new digs. The resulting skinny-dipping shindig leads to a tragic accident, foreshadowed by the title, and the group scrambles as they attempt to cash in on the unfortunate turn of events.

JM Jr's Los Angeles review of pool (no water) at The Complex

On the other hand, the execution of the plot is not so straight forward. Told in a series of meandering musings, the cast weaves around the stage in a highly choreographed intermingling of thoughts and deeds which becomes a pulsing amoebic mass that takes on a life of its own. The result is very often mesmerizing. However, after 85 intermissionless minutes, I barely had time to figure out what to make of it all, and then it’s over, which left me a bit perplexed and not quite able to discern whether I actually liked the play or not. One thing is for sure; it was definitely not your average, every-day, run-of-the-mill production.

JM Jr's Los Angeles review of pool (no water) at The Complex

Under the direction of Dave Barton, with choreography by Angela Lopez and Lee Samuel Tanng, it’s the cast of 11 that inevitably sells the show. Simply billed as “ensemble” they take to the stage with such commitment and conviction that it’s next to impossible not to take their ramblings seriously. In the hands of lesser performers, the show could have easily been an absurd disaster. But since they believe it, you do too.

If you have any qualms about adult language and nudity you’ll want to pass this one by. The profanity flies freely and the performers shed all of  their clothing for an extended period of time. Believe me, in such an intimate arena (the theater seats 49) you really get to know them all up close and personal.

photos by Jazmin Monet Estopin

pool (no water)
Monkey Wrench Collective
The Complex in Hollywood
ends on June 17, 2012
for tickets, call ­800.838.3006 or visit Monkey Wrench or Brown Paper Tickets

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