The world premiere of this outrageous, boundary-pushing comedy will leave you gasping with shock and laughter
|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 www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.
Presenter / Producer: Echo Theater Company
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
Fri., Sat., Mon. 8:00 pm Sun. 4:00 pm
Tickets $20-$34, Mondays Pay-What-You-Want
Web Link for ticketing
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