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The world premiere of this outrageous, boundary-pushing comedy will leave you gasping with shock and laughter


September 2019

When a gay writer hires a man to work as a "shirtless cleaner," homophobia, racism and issues of consent bubble to the surface in the world premiere of Handjob, an outrageous comedy by Erik Patterson. Chris Fields directs the Echo Theater Company production, set to open on Sept. 7 for a seven-week run through Oct. 21. Three "pay what you want" previews take place on Sept. 4, Sept. 5 and Sept. 6.

Patterson's comedy explores the deepest sensitivities in our culture — with unexpected and darkly hilarious consequences. The playwright previously collaborated with Fields on the world premiere of One of the Nice Ones, which the Los Angeles Times called "deliciously uncouth… elicits torrents of laughter from the gobsmacked audience." Handjob is guaranteed to leave the audience similarly "gobsmacked" and most likely gasping for breath — due to both shock and laughter. The hilarity is recommended for mature audiences due to graphic adult content, including male nudity.

"This play is constantly changing underneath you, which is enormous fun," says Fields. "But its serious center is the lead character's craving for intimacy. As he searches desperately for connection, he fails in such appalling ways that it makes us laugh. But we also understand his pain even as we're laughing at it."

Patterson wanted to write an aggressively queer piece of theater that pushes boundaries — while questioning just where the boundaries should be.

"The play poses difficult questions," he says. "In art and life, how far is too far? What taboos still exist? How can we make a moment of intimacy even more bare, to find the emotional nakedness beneath the literal nudity? What's the artist's responsibility when it comes to representation?"

The heart of Handjob, Patterson explains, is a character who struggles with these questions, but keeps getting it wrong. "His blind spots lead him to create even more complications as he tries to fix the mess he's made of his life. Ultimately, the play is about how important it is to keep asking these tough questions, and to keep trying to get it right."

The dream cast includes Steven Culp, best known for TV shows like Desperate Housewives, Bosch, The Last Ship and JAG, who also boasts an impressive theater resume including productions at South Coast Rep, L.A. Theatre Works and off-Broadway Tamarra Graham, seen at the Geffen in Everyday Heroes and in Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble's Pure Confidence Stephen Guarino, whom TV audiences will recognize from I'm Dying Up Here. Eastsiders and Dr Ken, and New York audiences will know from off-Broadway productions of Around the World in 80 Days, Carrin Beginning and Boom: The Next Generation Ryan Nealy  who starred in The Woodpecker at Mutineer Theatre Co. and Blood Brothers at the Whitefire and Michael Rishawn, an MFA candidate at UCSD who has appeared off-Broadway in productions of Old Masters at the Flea/BATS, 24-Hour Plays at the New School and History Boys at the Gallery Players.

Handjob opens on Saturday, Sept. 7, with performances continuing on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 4 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m. through Oct. 21. Three preview performances are set for Wednesday, Sept. 4 Thursday, Sept. 5 and Friday, Sept.6, each at 8 p.m. Tickets are $34 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Monday night performances are $20 in advance, and Pay-What-You-Want at the door (subject to availability). Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call (310) 307-3753 or go to

Presenter / Producer: Echo Theater Company

Listed Categories
Theater > Theatrical Comedy

Event Phone: 310-307-3753

Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90039

LA - Hollywood / Westside

Performance Dates: 9/4/2019 - 10/21/2019
Wednesday, 09/04/2019
Thursday, 09/05/2019
Friday, 09/06/2019
Saturday, 09/07/2019
Sunday, 09/08/2019
Monday, 09/09/2019
Friday, 09/13/2019
Saturday, 09/14/2019
Sunday, 09/15/2019
Monday, 09/16/2019
Friday, 09/20/2019
Saturday, 09/21/2019
Sunday, 09/22/2019
Monday, 09/23/2019
Friday, 09/27/2019
Saturday, 09/28/2019
Sunday, 09/29/2019
Monday, 09/30/2019
Friday, 10/04/2019
Saturday, 10/05/2019
Sunday, 10/06/2019
Monday, 10/07/2019
Friday, 10/11/2019
Saturday, 10/12/2019
Sunday, 10/13/2019
Monday, 10/14/2019
Friday, 10/18/2019
Saturday, 10/19/2019
Sunday, 10/20/2019
Monday, 10/21/2019

Performance Times
Fri., Sat., Mon. 8:00 pm Sun. 4:00 pm

Ticket Information:
Tickets $20-$34, Mondays Pay-What-You-Want

Web Link for ticketing

Event Information

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