Review: Open Fist Theatre Company’s ‘What Matters Now?/! (Another Political Pop-Up of the Theatrical Kind)’

March 28, 2019 | By Julie Riggott | Category: Theater and Dance

Open Fist Theatre Company's speakeasy / Photo by Darrett Sanders

You would not be unusual if the 24-hour news cycle over the past year made you want to hide your head in the sand. The craziness of the political and social climate in our nation can often get hard to bear. But Open Fist Theatre Company’s latest production at the Atwater Village Theatre, “What Matters Now?/! (Another Political Pop-Up of the Theatrical Kind),” is a welcome diversion, offering the chance to see multiple playwrights’ takes on the craziness in our country’s political and social news. Leave it to artists to try to put some perspective on things.

Not surprisingly, there are a lot of intense topics in the short plays presented here, including families separated at the border, reparations for slavery, the Israel/Palestine conflict, and sexual assault allegations against a Supreme Court Justice. Yet you’ll be entertained.

And you’ll definitely have plenty to talk about after the show. Open Fist has created the perfect place to do that. The audience sits in a speakeasy. You’ll welcome lounging in the comfortable sofas and chairs, complete with side tables, dim lamps and a bar. It’s a comfy setting ideal for any night of theater.

The ensemble is without a weak link. Before you know it, the actors have breezed through some fabulous nuggets of theater in 75 minutes, but your head is full of more questions — ones that we will all face together as a nation. As one of the actresses says in a monologue called “American Hamlet,” “What matters now is what has always defined us: our choices.”

—Julie Riggott, Culture Spot LA

The show has been extended through April 13 (with added performances Sunday, April 7, at 7 p.m., Friday, April 12, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 13, at 8 p.m.). See our original post for show times, location and other information.

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