Theatre Preview: CAL IN CAMO (VS. Theatre and Red Dog Squadron)

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by Joan Alperin on October 31, 2018

in Theater-Los Angeles


William Francis Hoffman’s multilayered play attempts to lay bare, (literally in the case of the character “Cal”) the issues surrounding postpartum depression, and people’s abilities to connect with one another. The production of this powerful work at VS. Theatre, directed by Amy K. Harmon, has just been extended to November 16, 2018.

An exhausted new mother (played by Grimm star Bree Turner) furiously tries to pump breast milk to no avail. Her emotional state is affecting her physically, and her body just won’t do what it’s supposed to do. She feels broken and alone, “something’s wrong with me…with my love.” Thus the journey begins, discovering if Cal’s mother felt the same way and if that’s the reason she had abandoned Cal and her brother during their childhood. Perhaps this inability to connect with her own child was built into her?

Hoffman presents an intriguing metaphor when explaining that he sometimes thinks of this play in images, picturing people with their arms full and holding on tight to what they already know has gotten them this far in life. All of the characters are reaching for something better. In the reaching, there is always the risk of dropping what you already have and losing it all.

Cal’s husband Tim (played by Brad Raider) comes from a “traditional,” nuclear family with lots of extended relatives. This is something Cal always thought that she wanted. Her parents are now gone, she has only one brother and no remaining relatives that she knows of. It’s the arrival of her brother Flynt (played by Tim Cummings) that causes Cal and Tim to realize that their past doesn’t have to define them; family is what they make it.

Cal in Camo explores whether or not wounds from the past irrevocably impact our capacity to connect. This story probes the nature of bonding in family relationships and beyond, and how, as humans, most of us have difficult revelations that eventually help us overcome the obstacles we must conquer.

Produced by James Roday (Co-Artistic Director for Red Dog Squadron; currently on ABC’s A Million Little Things), Johnny Clark (Artistic Director for VS.), Andi Chu, Gabrielle Doheny, and David Rock. Cal in Camo’s team of designers include Se Hyun Oh (Set), Chris Moscatiello (Sound), Derrick McDaniel (Lighting), and Gali Noy (Costumes).

photos by David Rodriguez

Cal in Camo
VS. Theatre and Red Dog Squadron
VS. Theatre, 5453 Pico Blvd in Los Angeles
Thurs-Sat at 8; Sun at 3
ends on November 9, 2018 EXTENDED to November 16, 2018
for tickets, visit Red Dog Squadron, or for more info, call 323.739.4411

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