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Ron Sossi and Odyssey Theatre Ensemble explore
states of consciousness with ‘Wakings!’ starting April 30
LOS ANGELES (REVISED April 29, 2022) — Sleep, awakeness, psychosis, enlightenment, coma. How thin is the veil that separates them? Odyssey Theatre Ensemble artistic director Ron Sossi explores some of the many states of human awareness with an evening of short “mind excursions” by Harold Pinter with Robert Coover and Hermann Hesse. Collectively titled Wakings!, the metaphysical adventure begins Saturday, April 30, with performances continuing through June 5.
A five-person ensemble of Odyssey favorites, including Ron Bottitta (Faith Healer, Hir, Theatre in the Dark, The Arsonists); Diana Cignoni (Faith Healer, White Marriage, Beckett 5); Kristina Ladegaard (The Serpent); Darrell Larson (The Dance of Death, director, The Unseen Hand); and C.J. O’Toole (Oedipus Machina, The Serpent), examines the manifestation of consciousness in Pinter’s Victoria Station and A Kind of Alaska; Coover’s Rip Awake; and Hesse’s Siddhartha.
“What takes us from sleep to waking?” asks Sossi. “What is the journey from normal to psychosis? What is the mystical thread that transforms a conventional state of awareness into spiritual ‘enlightenment’? Or are all of these conditions simply spontaneous? Whatever their causes Wakings! provides us an intriguing glimpse into a few of these varieties of human awareness.”
In the bizarrely comic Victoria Station, a taxi cab dispatcher (Bottitta) radios Driver 274 (O’Toole) with instructions to pick up a fare. But the driver seems to be in a fog. Is he conscious, or dreaming?
Rip Awake introduces us to a highly disgruntled Rip Van Winkle (Larson) who wants to go back up that mountain and get those little Dutch suckers who tricked him into losing 20 years of his life and missing the entire American Revolution.
A Kind of Alaska, loosely inspired by the book Awakenings by neurologist Oliver Sacks, sees Deborah (Cignoni) awaken from a 30-year coma with a mind that is still 16-years-old. As she confronts a body that seems to have aged without her prior knowledge or consent, her sister (Ladegaard) and doctor (Bottitta) try to ease her back to her current reality.
Finally, all five actors come together to explore the state of consciousness in the final stages of the Buddha’s awakening in an excerpt from “Siddhartha,” Herman Hesse’s timeless novel.
Wakings is presented by Odyssey Theatre Ensemble in association with Isabel and Harvey Kibel. The creative team includes set designer Song Yi Park, sound designer Christopher Moscatiello, lighting designer Josh La Cour and costume designer Mylette Nora. Beth Hogan and Josh La Cour produce.
Ron Sossi founded the Odyssey Theatre in 1969 to demonstrate that experiment-oriented theater could have populist appeal and be fiscally solvent while maintaining the highest artistic standards, and he has led the company as its artistic director for its entire 50-year history. In 2013, he was honored with the LA Weekly Career Achievement Award, and is the recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Margaret Harford Award for “demonstrating a continual willingness to experiment provocatively in the process of theater” as well as the LADCC’s Ron Link Award for “consistent quality of direction.” Recent Odyssey directing projects include The Serpent, Faith Healer, Steambath, The Dance of Death, Beckett5, My Sister, Oedipus Machina, Theatre in the Dark (LA Weekly nomination for Best Production of the Year), Way to Heaven (LA Weekly and LADCC nomination for Best Production of the Year), Adding Machine: A Musical, The Arsonists (LA Weekly nomination for Best Direction), Sliding Into Hades (LA Weekly Award for Best Production of the Year), Kafka Thing!, Far Away and The Threepenny Opera.
Performances of Wakings! take place Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from April 30 through June 5. Two additional performances are set for Wednesday, May 11 and Wednesday, May 25, each at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $32 to $37. There will be two “Tix for $10” performances, on Wednesday, May 11 and Friday, May 27. Post-performance discussions are scheduled on Wednesday, May 11 and Friday, May 20, and are included in ticket price. The last Friday of the month, May 27, is “Wine Night”: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show. Additional discounts are available at select performances for seniors, students and patrons under 30; call theater for details.
The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, including up-to-date Covid-19 safety protocols, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.
Details for Calendar Listings
Sleep, awakeness, psychosis, enlightenment, coma. How thin is the veil that separates them? The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble explores some of the many states of human awareness with an evening of short “mind excursions” by Harold Pinter with Robert Coover and Hermann Hesse. Collectively titled Wakings!, the ensemble examines the manifestation of consciousness in Pinter’s Victoria Station and A Kind of Alaska; Coover’s Rip Awake; and Hesse’s Siddhartha.
• Written by Robert Coover, Hermann Hesse and Harold Pinter
• Directed by Ron Sossi
• The Ensemble: Ron Bottitta, Diana Cignoni, Kristina Ladegaard, Darrell Larson, C.J. O’Toole
• Presented by Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Ron Sossi Artistic Director, in association with Isabel and Harvey Kibel
Performances: April 30 – June 5
• Wednesdays at 8 p.m.: May 11* and May 25 ONLY
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: May 6, May 13, May 20*, May 27**, June 3
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: April 30 (Opening), May 7, May 14, May 21, May 28, June 4
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: May 1, May 8, May 15, May 22, May 29, June 5
**Wine Night: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and after the show.
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90025
• Most performances: $32-$37
• Wednesday, May 11 and Friday, May 27: $10
Additional discounted tickets available at select performances for seniors, students and patrons under 30; call theater for details.
Go to odysseytheatre.com/plan-your-visit/covid-protocols to find up-to-date Covid-19 safety protocols.
(310) 477-2055 ext. 2 or www.OdysseyTheatre.com
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