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World premiere ‘Cult of Love,’ final installment in Leslye Headland’s
‘Seven Deadly Plays’ cycle, concludes 10th anniversary IAMA season
LOS ANGELES (April 19, 2018) — IAMA concludes its 10th anniversary season with the final installment of Leslye Headland’s viciously funny “Seven Deadly Plays” cycle: a black comedy that explores the sin of “pride.” Annie Tippe directs the world premiere of Cult of Love, a powerful look at one family’s feverish clash over who is right — and who is crazy. Previews begin May 18, with the press opening scheduled for Thursday, May 24. Performances will continue through June 24 at Atwater Village Theatre.
In Cult of Love, the Dahl family has gathered to celebrate Christmas in their rural Connecticut home. Raised as strict Christians and overachievers, the four adult children (along with their partners) have grown into varying degrees of belief and success. Their initially joyful reunion quickly reveals an American family riddled with competition, xenophobia and mental illness.
“I wrote this play seven years after the first six in the series, so it’s very different from the others,” explains Headland. “The play tackles being raised in a religious home and how that affects us in adulthood. Pride is the sin that most people don’t think they have, but are most guilty of. Anyone convinced that they know the ‘answer,’ that they are right and everyone else is wrong, is guilty of pride.”
According to Tippe, Cult of Love is an intimate portrait of a closely-knit family forced to confront their differences as the children grow apart from their parents, their religion and one another.
“When difficult conversations and conflict are avoided in the name of love, resentments are left to fester,” she says. “This play offers a hard look at how love unattended can become toxic. Yet it’s obvious that Leslye loves these characters deeply. Their interactions are as incredibly funny and joyful as they are harrowing.”
Each of the “deadly” plays reframes an ancient sin in the context of contemporary culture. The first six, all produced and premiered by IAMA, include Cinephilia(“lust”), in which two cinephiles cling to their obsessions with film and sex as a way to validate their relationship; Bachelorette (“gluttony”), a wicked black comedy about female friendship and growing up in an age of excess; Surfer Girl (“sloth”), one woman’s haunting recount of her transient voyager lifestyle, from one idolized couch to the next; Assistance (“greed”), a biting, high-octane satire about our attraction to power and what we’re willing to sacrifice to stay in its orbit; Reverb (“wrath”), in which history threatens to repeat itself as troubled lovers purge mutual pain by inflicting it on each other; and The Accidental Blonde (“envy”), a disturbingly humorous look at jealousy, work and success in the cyber-stalking generation. A film adaptation of Bachelorette, written and directed by Headland, starred Kirsten Dunst and Rebel Wilson and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Headland’s other film credits include writing/directing Sleeping with Other People and penning the remake of About Last Night. TV credits include pilots for HBO, Netflix and NBC, Terriers, Blunt Talk, SMILF and the upcoming reboot of Heathers. She is currently in production for the Netflix series Russian Doll, which she co-created with Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler.
Tippe is a Brooklyn-based director and creator of new work. Directing credits include Dave Malloy’s Ghost Quartet (The Bushwick Starr, etc), Bess Wohl’s Continuity(Goodman Theatre), Anne Washburn’s When the Tanks Break (Drama League), Washeteria (Soho Rep), MUSEUM: Lecture and Aaron/Marie (both co-directed w. Rachel Chavkin), Far Away (Harvard University), Cowboy Bob (Yale Institute for Music Theatre; Ars Nova; Polyphone Festival) and I Heard Sex Noises (Ars Nova), and she is set to direct the premiere of Dave Malloy’s new musical, Octet, as part of Signature Theatre’s just announced 2018-19 season. Annie is the creator/director of the web series Basic Witch. She was Ars Nova’s 2016 “Director-in-Residence,” a Drama League Directing Fellow and a member of the Williamstown Directing Corps.
The Cult of Love acting ensemble includes Tom Amandes, Laila Ayad, Christian Durso, Tina Huang, John Lavelle, Graham Sibley, Melissa Stephens, Sarah Utterback, Keliher Walsh and Christine Woods. Set design is by Jeffrey McLaughlin; lighting design is by Josh Epstein; sound design is by Christopher Moscatiello; costume design is by Melissa Trn; props are by Michael O’Hara; and the musical director is Anthony Lucca. The stage manager is Sarah Dawn Lowry, and Amy Rosoff Davis and Tom DeTrinis produce for IAMA Theatre Company.
“Producing the first six of Leslye’s ‘Seven Deadly Plays’ helped define IAMA’s voice,” proclaim company co-artistic directors Stefanie Black, Christian Durso and Katie Lowes. “We are thrilled to complete the series that started IAMA by sharing the seventh powerful play with our Los Angeles audience in honor of our tenth anniversary season.”
Designated by Playbill as “one of 20 regional houses every theater lover must know,” IAMA Theatre Company is a Los Angeles-based ensemble of artists committed to invigorating live performance for a streaming generation. Through cutting-edge, cool and hyper-modern stories, IAMA is invested in the immediacy of production and strives to bring audiences out of their personal space and into a shared experience. Plays generated at IAMA have traveled to off-Broadway, Second Stage and the Roundabout Underground, and have been performed regionally and internationally. IAMA members have been featured in numerous critically acclaimed TV shows and films as well as in a vast array of theater and live performances all over the country. In 2014, IAMA earned the Ovation Award for Outstanding Play in an Intimate Theatre for its Los Angeles premiere of The Recommendation. In 2017, TV producer and creator Shonda Rhimes announced that she would become IAMA’s first-ever “Patron of the Arts” with a generous endowment from the Rhimes Family Foundation.
Cult of Love opens on Thursday, May 24 at 8 p.m., with performances thereafter taking place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. through June 24. Three preview performances take place May 18 through May 20 on the same schedule. All tickets are $35, except May 24 (opening night) for which tickets are $40 and include a post performance reception, and previews, which are $20. Atwater Village Theatre is located at3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. Parking is free in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater. For reservations and information, call 323-380-8843 or go to www.iamatheatre.com.
Details for Calendar Listings
‘Cult of Love’
World premiere of Cult of Love — IAMA concludes its 10th anniversary with the final installment in Leslye Headland’s “Seven Deadly Plays” cycle — a black comedy that explores the final sin of “pride” through one family’s feverish clash over who is right and who is crazy. The Dahl family gathers to celebrate Christmas in their rural Connecticut home. Raised as strict Christians and overachievers, the four adult children (along with their partners) have grown into varying degrees of belief and success. Their initially joyful reunion quickly reveals an American family riddled with competition, xenophobia and mental illness.
• Written by Leslye Headland
• Directed by Annie Tippe
• The Ensemble: Tom Amandes, Laila Ayad, Christian Durso, Tina Huang, John Lavelle, Graham Sibley, Melissa Stephens, Sarah Utterback, Keliher Walsh, Christine Woods
• Presented by IAMA Theatre Company
Previews: May 18, May 19 and May 20
Performances: May 24 – June 24
• Thursday at 8 p.m.: May 24 ONLY (Opening Night)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: May 18 (preview), May 25; June 1, June 8, June 15, June 22
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: May 19 (preview), May 26, June 2, June 9, June 16, June 23
• Sundays at 7 p.m.: May 20 (preview), May 27; June 3, June 10, June 17, June 24
IAMA Theatre Company
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
• General Admission (except previews and opening night): $35
• May 24 (opening night): $40 (includes post-performance reception)
• Previews: $20
FREE in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater.