A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

Sometimes you have to journey to the end of the world to find yourself. Michael Arabian directs writer/performer John Cox in “The Money Fi$h,” an unforgettable true story of one man’s harrowing journey to a better life. The play gets its world premiere Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Hudson Theatres in Hollywood.

A natural raconteur with a baby face that belies the depth of his experience, Cox relates the gripping tale of his search for fortune and adventure. His yearning to belong propels him from boot camp to the Bering Sea; along the way, he must pass brutal tests and conquer his greatest fears. We learn that hell isn’t hot. Hell is freezing cold, wet — and stinks like fish.

“What intrigues me about this piece is its authenticity,” Arabian said in a release. “John doesn’t earn his living as an actor. He’s a longshoreman working the docks of Long Beach and San Pedro, and he has an incredible story. This is the kind of work I love to direct.”

Cox grew up in Pontiac, Michigan, before moving to Los Angeles at the age of 13. He joined the military after graduating from high school and qualified as an Army Airborne Ranger in 1991. After his service was done, John traveled to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where he worked as a commercial fisherman in the Bering Sea for three years, earning an Able-Bodied Seaman’s license along the way. He moved back to L.A. to pursue his education and soon discovered a passion for acting. He studied with Larry Moss, who inspired him to write his own story — a process that has taken him over five years to complete — and he graduated from the South Coast Repertory Acting Intensive Program. John has been a member of the I.L.W.U. (longshoreman’s union) for 15 years, working at the ports of L.A./Long Beach, where his main job is driving cranes.

Culture Spot LA readers can win a pair of tickets to the show on Friday, Oct. 2, at 8 p.m. Email editor@culturespotla.com with “Money Fish” in the subject line.

“The Money Fi$h” opens on Thursday, Oct. 1 with additional performances on Friday, Oct. 2, and Saturday, Oct. 3, all at 8 p.m. Subsequent performances will take place on Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Nov. 22. All tickets are $20. The Hudson Theatres are located at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., LA 90038. For information and to purchase tickets, call (323) 960-7780 or visit themoneyfishplay.com.