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Give This Play a Hand

(c) Hollywood

September 18, 2019

By Todd Gaebe

I know we are called “Hollywood Revealed” but when it comes to “Handjob” by Erik Patterson I can’t reveal too much–and trust me that’s OK. It would be very easy to ruin this play for you the reader. It would very be easy to tell you what this play is about. The ironic thing, is that this play tells you exactly what it wants you to think it is about but the actual point of this production is for you and the people you watch it with to figure that out for yourselves. This production challenges you to see through the smokescreens no matter how important they seem. The fact that it was able stimulate conversations long after it ended is a testament to its success.

Steven Culp and Michael Rishawn
Photo (c) Darrett Sanders

“Handjob” surely holds the mirror up to nature and boy do we all end up seeing something different. The ensemble represents most, if not all of, the different movements taking place right now including MeToo, BlackLivesMatter, and LGBTQ Rights just to name a few. Each point of view is made very clear as each character battles to have their voice heard. Each argument is well crafted and justified. No one’s point is wrong but this play will make you question if this is the right time to make it.

A moment of clarity is gifted to us by the smallest voice in the cast (Gloria Ines) who absolutely nails her time to shine despite it only being one line. Her poignant observation is a stark contrast to the well thought out arguments laid out by the rest. Director Chris Fields has done an exceptional job helping his actors tackle some very dangerous subject matter.

Ryan Nealy and Stephen Guarino are an incredible duo who are able to deliver two vastly different yet still compelling characters. Their saga steals the show which is not a bad thing, it exposes and deepens the conversation that needs to be had. So observe carefully and discuss intensely but ultimately sit back relax and enjoy “Handjob”.

When: Through Oct. 21: Fridays @ 8 p.m. /
Saturdays @ 8 p.m. / Sundays @ 4 p.m. / Mondays @ 8 p.m.

Where: Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casistas Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Tickets: $20 – $34

Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Info: (310) 307-3753,

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