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John O’Keefe’s surreal sit-com ‘All Night Long’
gets Southern CA premiere at Open Fist
LOS ANGELES (Aug.13, 2018) — The thin line between waking and dreaming, the conscious and subconscious, is exposed in an outrageously funny, surreal sit-com about 18 hours in the life of an all-American nuclear family. Jan Munroe directs the Southern California premiere of All Night Long by John O’Keefe, opening Sept. 14 in an Open Fist Theatre Company production at Atwater Village Theatre.
Luis Buñuel and André Breton meet The Jetsons in O’Keefe’s award-winning, dark yet whimsical exploration of family relationships. Apocalyptic images, astral projection, thought transference and powerful symbols from the subconscious combine with humorous elements of everyday reality. As the mother in the play says, “Don’t explain it, you might run out of ways to look at it.”
“John seduces us with recognizable tropes from 1950s sitcoms and then — quick as a wink — pulls us down the rabbit hole into an alternate universe with rapid-fire fluctuations between high brow and low brow, mythology and cartoon, atomic futurism and base primitivism, “ says Open Fist artistic director Martha Demson. “All Night Long is a topsy-turvy roller coaster of a ride that will leave audiences laughing and breathless, unsure whether they want to reenter their own lives, or run around to the front and ride again.”
“What John does in the theater is a lot like what Robert Rauschenberg does in painting,” suggests Munroe. “For anybody attracted to something different, anyone who understands surface tension and color combinations vs. a picture that is recognizable, this kind of work is exciting and enlightening and a breath of fresh air. And quite brilliant.”
All Night Long premiered at the Magic Theatre in 1980, where it received the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for “Best New Play of the Year,” beating out Sam Shepard’s True West. Jerome Weeks of the Dallas Morning News called All Night Long “an exuberant, satirical…cosmic…underground comic book version of Finnegan’s Wake and Father Knows Best.” Hall Gelb of San Francisco City Arts wrote, “O’Keefe looks past the satire to the realities and possibilities of family relationship, as well as to alternative levels of being.”
For the Open Fist production, Phillip William Brock and Alina Phelan star as parents Jack and Jill, with John Patrick Daly and Caroline Klidonas as teenagers Eddy and Tammy. Cat Davis plays younger sister Terry— a “test-tube” daughter. Made up of left-over formula from the space program, Terry is still not quite “done.” She appears sometimes as a 12-year old child, sometimes as a beam of light, retreating to her compartment in the wall to continue brewing between apparitions.
In addition to directing, Munroe designs the set. The creative team also includes lighting designer Ellen Monocroussos, sound designer Tim Labor, costume designer Kharen Zeunert, prop master Bruce Dickinson and graphic designer Liam Carl. The production stage manager is Jennifer Palumbo, the production manager is Amanda Weier and Martha Demson produces for Open Fist Theatre Company.
John O’Keefe is an American playwright, director and solo performer. Based in the Bay Area, he has also been active in Los Angeles theater for decades. In L.A., he has been the recipient of numerous LA Weekly, Applause and Drama-Logue awards — most recently, an LADCC award for Times Like These starring Laurie O’Brien and Norbert Weisser, a Padua Playwrights production that premiered at 2100 Square Feet, then transferred to the Odyssey Theatre. Among his many Northern California awards are the Bessie Award for Shimmer, which was also made into a motion picture by American Playhouse, and a Bay Area Critic’s Circle Award for the premiere production of All Night Long at the Magic. Born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1940, O’Keefe was raised in Catholic orphanages and state juvenile homes throughout the American Midwest. He began singing in church choirs at the age of five and pursued his musical interests, subsequently receiving a vocal scholarship at the University of Iowa, where he earned a BA degree in Philosophy and an MFA in Theater. He has performed his solo work in Europe and the U.S. including the Second Stage in New York, Lincoln Center and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. He participated in the Mark Taper Forum’s New Plays Series and the Director’s Workshop at Lincoln Center. He was writer in residence at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. O’Keefe became involved with Laboratory Theater as a writer and performer with the Center for New Performing Arts. He continued his experimental work with the Iowa Theatre Lab. He was co-founder of the Blake Street Hawkeyes, a performance lab ensemble based in Berkeley, California. His award-winning play, Don’t You Ever Call Me Anything But Mother starring Tina Preston was produced last season at Open Fist and will be seen this fall at Zombie Joes Underground.
Jan Munroe has been involved with the creation of new performance since his studies with Marcel Marceau and Etienne Decroux in Paris. In Los Angeles, he was a founding member of The Mystic Knights of the Oingo-Boingo and the L.A. Mime Company (1972-74). He moved to the Bay Area, where he founded The Theatah of the Apres-Garde — and where he first encountered John O’Keefe. Returning to L.A. in 1979, he acted in local productions while continuing to create under the moniker of The Theatah of the Apres-Garde, concentrating on the shared area between theater, movement and the visual arts that became known as “performance art.” Original work from that period includes: Alligator Tails (published West Coast Plays, 1985; L.A. Weekly Award for Creation and Performance), Nothing Human Disgusts Me (L.A. Weekly Best Solo Show, 1992), Little Monsters (for five performers and 27 TVs) and Woodworks (seven dancers and a percussion ensemble). He is a recipient of two NEA theater fellowships, a California Arts Council New Genre fellowship, a Rockefeller Playwrights fellowship, 11 L.A. Weekly and Drama-Logue Awards and an Ovation Award for Waiting for Godot (“Best Ensemble”) at the Mark Taper Forum. He has originated roles in premieres by Thomas Babe (Demon Wine, LATC); the Modern Artists Company’s Platoʼs Symposium; Austin Pendletonʼs Booth; Bart DeLorenzoʼs Hard Times; and Michael Sargent’s Black Leather, as well as appearing in other plays, TV and movies. Last season, he directed O’Keefe’s Don’t You Ever Call Me Anything But Mother with Tina Preston for Open Fist.
Open Fist Theatre Company is a collective, self-producing artistic enterprise with all facets of its operation run by its artist members. The company’s name combines the notion that an open spirit, embracing all people and all ideas, is essential, with the idea that determination, signified by a fist, is necessary if the theater is to remain a vital voice for social change and awareness.
All Night Long runs Sept. 14 through Oct. 21 with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. except Saturday, Oct. 6, which will be dark, and the closing performance on Sunday, Oct. 21, which will be a 4 p.m.. Three preview performances take place on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.; and Thursday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 with advance purchase, $30 at the door, except previews which are Pay-What-You-Want.
Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call (323) 882-6912 or go to www.openfist.org.
Details for Calendar Listings
‘All Night Long’
Southern California premiere of All Night Long — The thin line between waking and dreaming, the conscious and subconscious, is exposed in playwright John O’Keefe’s outrageously funny, surreal sit-com about 18 hours in the life of an all-American nuclear family.
• Written John O’Keefe
• Directed by Jan Munroe
• Starring Phillip William Brock, John Patrick Daly, Cat Davis, Caroline Klidonas, Alina Phelan
• Presented by Open Fist Theatre Company, Martha Demson, artistic director
Previews: Sept. 8 – 13
Performances: Sept. 14 – Oct. 21
• Thursdays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 13 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 14 (opening), Sept. 21, Sept. 28, Oct. 5, Oct. 12, Oct. 19
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 8 (preview), Sept. 15, Sept. 22, Sept. 29; Oct. 13, Oct. 20 (dark Oct. 6)
• Sundays at 7 p.m.: Sept. 9 (preview), Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7, Oct. 14,
• Sunday at 4 p.m.: Oct. 21 ONLY (closing night)
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(FREE parking in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater)
(323) 882-6912 or www.openfist.org
• Join us on facebook: www.facebook.com/openfisttheatre/
• Follow us on twitter: @OpenFistTheatre
• General Admission: $25 with advance purchase, $30 at the door
• Previews: Pay-What-You-Want