Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review: Man Covets Bird and Delivers Magic at 24th Street Theatre

Andrew Huber and Leeav Sofer. Photos by Cooper Bates

You can tell when a theatre company cares about its audience, especially when that audience is largely made up of young people. It doesn’t talk down to them and it doesn’t assume they will only understand the obvious. Instead, its directors take the time to seek out work that is worthy of engagement, provokes thought, and gives more to the world than it takes. It serves both the child and the child in the adult. And that’s what 24th Street Theatre has done with Man Covets Bird, the follow-up to their wildly successful award-winning production of Walking the Tightrope. 

Common denominators are evident: gentleness, simplicity, a creative spark that delights at every turn, and breathtaking moments both beautiful and poignant. I adored this production as much for its physical elements – story, music, movement, characters – as I did for the many thoughts about life that resonate within its lines: that growing up means change, love comes in all forms, risk can win you great joy, and life in the end is what you make of it. This is a wonderful, beautiful accomplishment by director Debbie Devine and company. 

Written by leading children’s playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer, Devine has taken the one-man play with music and staged it for two men (Andrew Huber as Man and Leeav Sofer as Bird) incorporating an original score by Sofer using his clarinet as the voice of the bird. That decision alone adds a profound sensitivity to the piece. 

Huber retains a lovable sense of innocence on his adventure from boy to man to seeker of truth in a world that unfolds like an undiscovered country. Animated projections spring to life on the walls of the theater, subtly and delightfully adding dimension to the simple playing area. With Sofer taking on double duty as both composer and actor, there is always a sense of the space being filled with possibility, even in the deliberate silences. The two actors connect intimately and deeply, and because of their open-hearted commitment, we go along with them not quite knowing what to expect but realizing that by the end of the 75-minute journey we will have been part of something extraordinary.

Share this production with those you love. It is a wonderful gift for the soul. 






MAN COVETS BIRD
Directed by Debbie Devine
Starring Andrew Huber and Leeav Sofer
Music Direction and Original Music by Leeav Sofer
Video Design:  Matthew G. Hill
Lighting Design:  Dan Weingarten
Sound Design:  Cricket Myers
Costume Design: Michael Mullen

September 19 - November 22, 2015
24th Street Theatre
1117 W 24th St
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Tickets: (213) 745-6516 or www.24thstreet.org
Secure parking is available for $5 in the lot on the southwest corner of 24th and Hoover
Man Covets Bird is best enjoyed by adults and kids 7 and up.

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