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Fefu and Her Friends at Odyssey Theatre

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María Irene Fornés' groundbreaking comedy-drama continues Odyssey's 'Circa '69!' 50th Anniversary Season.

LOS ANGELES - eTradeWire -- "Life is theater. Theater is life." Odyssey Theatre Ensemble continues its "Circa '69!" season of significant and adventurous plays that premiered around the time of the Odyssey's 1969 inception with the signature work of early feminist giant of the avant-garde María Irene Fornés. Denise Blasor directs Fefu and Her Friends for an Aug. 3 opening, with performances continuing through Sept. 29.

In this splendidly surreal comedy-drama, a group of eight women gathers at the country home of the brilliant and eccentric Fefu to plan an event for their do-gooding educational work. As multiple conflicts unfold between the old friends, they struggle to define who they are and what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated world.

In a format that was groundbreaking for its time, the play is divided into three parts. The first part takes place in the living room of the house with the full audience. The second part is set in four different areas of the house: the lawn, the study, the bedroom and the kitchen. Fornés deconstructed the familiar stage, removing the fourth wall, and scenes are played in multiple locations simultaneously. The audience is divided into groups to watch each scene, then they rotate to the next set as the scene is repeated, until each group has seen all four scenes. The play concludes in the living room with the full audience.

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"This is a play about female empowerment and about all aspects of femininity," says Blasor. "With only a small number of audience members present for each scene, they become part of the characters' most intimate reflections about their relationships to men, to each other, to Eve and 'original sin.' It's about the volumes of sadness that we, as women, carry, and how, sometimes, we are the enemies to ourselves instead of being sisters. It's a play about awakening and not surrendering. It's set in 1935, a wonderfully historic era full of jazz, art, poetry and politics."

Cuban American playwright María Irene Fornés, the winner of nine Obie Awards including the award for sustained achievement, has been called "the most important American playwright you've never heard of," and "influential beyond measure." She is considered by many to be the mother of U.S. Latinx Theatre. Playwright Paula Vogel said, "In the work of every American playwright at the end of the 20th century, there are only two stages: before she has read María Irene Fornés and after."

Performances of Fefu and Her Friends take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from Aug. 3 through Sept. 29. Additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Wednesday, Sept. 11; Thursday, Sept. 19, and Wednesday, Sept. 25; all at 8 p.m. There will be three preview performances, on Wednesday, July 31; Thursday, Aug. 1, and Friday, Aug.2, also at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $32 to $37. Tickets to previews are $10; in addition, there will be three "Tix for $10" performances, on Friday, Aug. 9; Sunday, Sept. 1; and Thursday, Sept. 19. Post-performance discussions are scheduled on Friday, Aug. 16; Friday, Sept. 13; and Sunday, Sept 15, and are included in ticket price. Friday, Aug. 16 is "Wine Night": enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show. Friday, Sept. 13 is "College Night" and includes a pre-performance student reception with themed catering as well as a post-performance discussion: $10 with valid student ID (use promo code COLLEGE). Additional discounts are available at select performances for seniors, students and patrons under 30; call theater for details.

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The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com (http://www.odysseytheatre.com/).

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Source: Odyssey Theatre
Filed Under: Arts

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