The Katselas Theatre Company world premieres in tandem two one-man shows, “The Yellow House” and “Special Delivery,” written and performed respectively by Burke Byrnes and Harry Hart-Browne. The directors of each piece have different issues to overcome: Michael Kearns in focusing and energizing the rambling Byrnes and Mark Bringelson in calming down the multiple personalities the talented Hart-Browne brings on stage.
In “The Yellow House,” Byrnes does not so much act out but simply tell the troubled story of his childhood. To make ends meet, his parents would take in boarders in the spare rooms of their yellow house. Byrnes’ father, a policeman, would never hesitate in bringing out the strap to discipline the misbehaving boy. One evening when Byrnes’ parents had to go away for the evening, they asked Ben, one of their boarders, to watch over Byrnes and his younger sister Betty. Not at all surprisingly as the tale unfolds, the evening ends in Ben raping Betty. When the parents come home, Byrnes is told never to mention what happened that night to anyone. Not until Byrnes, as an adult, is being interviewed for a child advocate position and asked if he was involved with any form of abuse does he totally remember the tragic night. This one-act doesn’t satisfactorily conclude; it just ends. This reviewer would have liked to see what director Kearns, noted for his intense one-man performances, would have done in this storyteller’s role.
In “Special Delivery,” Hart-Browne begins as a body-less spirit in outer space surrounded by fairies and elves. Given the opportunity to live in a physical shape on earth, he takes it. Led by his inner child named Pip, Hart-Browne fractures into multiple personalities talking to each other — more dialogue than monologue. Various personalities energetically delight and entertain, but at times frantically melt into each other indistinctively.
—Gil Kaan, Culture Spot LA
The Skylight Theatre, 1816 N. Vermont Ave., LA 90027
“The Yellow House” – Friday performances at 8 p.m. through March 23.
“Special Delivery” – Sunday performances @ 7 p.m. through March 25.
For reservations, call (702) KTC-TKTS or visit www.ktctickets.com.