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The Global Film Village: Del Shores’ Yellow Premiered Friday Night in West Hollywood

Del Shores’ Yellow in West Hollywood 

by Marla Lewin

This is Del Shores first new play in seven years! There is something so special about going to the opening night, and a World Premiere, because the living author/playwright/director/producer brings an emotional, engaging new play alive.  With of course the help of so many great artists actors and his other producers.  There is something so exciting when all of this comes together and the chemistry all works. It is magical.

So what does one wear to such a soiree? I know I should dress up.  We certainly did at the movie premiere of “Sordid Lives,” where Olivia Newton John showed up at the Santa Monica Pier in her limo, while we chowed down on spam, pigs in blankets, French fries,  macaroni and cheese, and spaghetti. That film went on to become a cult hit, and in it Beau Bridges looked very fine in his dress. I opted tonight for a yellow shirt, some sunflower pants with elephants from Thailand, and of course a black jacket, because with Del one should always expect to be attending someones funeral.

So we got to the theatre moments before curtain and the fellow asking me to move over is none other than “The Ezra Buzzington”(Zen Noir, Julia) and his date Donna who was the editor on Del’s TV show “Sordid Lives.” Ezra mentioned  that he met Del in Seattle when he was presenting, “Daddy’s Dying, Where’s the Will?”

Of course the play opens with an Anniversary, and coincidentally  it is mine also this week.  “19 years”, says Bobby, “and pretty soon we will be dead.  We will wonder why we were so stressed.”  Bobby reminds his wife that when he is gone, she will be set for life, a millionaire, and to always think of him when she sees a full moon.  As the story unfolds their two almost perfect children will see their lives change dramatically.  Del’s gift is melding humor with tragedy, exposing intolerance and the damage caused by family secrets and human frailties. His stories are always based on true stories, and real characters. He understands how to capture the truth of these situations and we share their pain. We all weep when experiencing such engaging characters.  This play is a true departure from  his earlier work. There is a deepening of his themes and characters. It is his most dramatic play to date.

What is Yellow?  It is cowardice, says Del after the show.  He knew this couple, and he understood not reveling a secret could have saved a marriage.  Still, the truth comes out, quite painfully. The play then explores the journey they must take as they explore whether the resulting wounds can ever be healed?.

What makes this production refreshing is that the playwright/director has created a world on stage, thanks in part to set designer Robert Steinberg.  The staging really fits the story, there is attention to every detail. The home feels lived  in and we have been in homes just like this many times. A comfortable place but with real people. We feel that we are ease dropping on these events. It is all brought together from the vision of the writer, producers and the performers on the stage.  This is theatre alchemy.

This being a Del Shores play we are watching a dysfunctional family who no matter how they fight they still love each other, through it all. Texan David Cowgill playing Bobby the father gives an endearing performance. Kate was played by the awesome Kristen McCullough the perfect combination of spunk, sexiness and mothering. Susan Leslie was “Jackie” in “Sordid Lives” here she plays Sister Timothea a  religious fanatic  of biblical proportions who drives her son out of her home and into their family. It is a fine ensemble cast with every member  delivering a knockout performance.

Evie Louise Thompson and brother at Yellow Premiere

 

Evie Louise Thompson, who plays the drama queen younger daughter spoke with us after the show with her younger brother.  They moved here from Texas, and she did Del’s acting class, they hit it off, and he cast her for this role.  She is thankful to have the opportunity, and loved working with the entire group. It is her first play, and she gives a stand-out performance. She has already done several tv roles and movies. Her brother assured us that she is much more subdued at home.

I met Jason Dottley, who has also produced many revivals of Del’s other plays, and starred in the national tour of  “A Sordid Affair, with Rue McClanahan, and Leslie Jordan.  He also starred in the international TV series “Sordid Lives, The Series” with Olivia Newton John. He also produced the tour of Shore’s “Southern Baptist Sissies”, along with actor producer Emerson Collins.  It seems Del has a family he works with, along with the families he writes stories about.

If you liked Del’s previous work you will not be disappointed in his latest effort. If you didn’t care for the sitcom feel of his characters you will be pleasantly surprised by this dramatic turn he has taken. This play doesn’t have the big laughs of his previous work. Instead he expands on the qualities of his characters while confronting the issues that they live with. Del demonstrates that he has plenty of surprises in store for us in the future.

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About MarlaLewinGFV

Lewin Marla
(Global Film Village)

Marla is a producer, playwright, screenwriter, publicist and now a journalist. She attends 12 to 20 film festivals per year. She has spoken on filmmaking at many festivals including Cannes and SXSW.

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