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Ewan Chung, Emily Kuroda and Peggy Ahn in Nic Cha Kim’s RE:verse. Photo by Nic Cha Kim.

“After 10 years, Lodestone Theatre Ensemble is calling it quits. No, this isn’t another sad tale of an arts group crunched by the imploding economy. L.A.’s maverick Asian American stage company simply decided that it’s time to go.”We felt we had hit our stride,” says co-artistic director Philip W. Chung. “We had done all that we could with this incarnation.”… Lodestone’s final season is designed to showcase its desire to tell unconventional stories in unconventional ways (its motto is “plays without rules”) and an affinity for life’s dark sides, tempered by a sense of humor. “We’ve always done whatever we wanted,” says Chung. That’s meant shunning staples of Asian American theater — generational struggles, cultural identity crises — and pursuing “new plays by new writers, plays with more edge that might even be seen as twisted.” From “Lodestone Theater Ensemble is going out on its own terms” by Karen Wada, Los Angeles Times, 05/03/09. Click here for full article.

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Feodor Chin and Peggy Ahn in Tim Lounibos’ BE HAPPY. Photo by Nic Cha Kim.

Tim Lounibos, co-founder, who wrote BE HAPPY one of the 4 one-acts comprising TEN TO LIFE, the first show of the final season: “I’ve been with Lodestone from the start and spent the past one and a half years in a dark claustrophobic room with my fellow Lodestone colleagues, creating a perversely compelling show to kick off our final year. TEN TO LIFE is part Twilight Zone, part Outer Limits, part Hitchcock and, hopefully, 100% entertaining-exactly what Lodestone should be.”

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Feodor Chin, Janet Song and Ewan Chung in Annette Lee’s HACIENDA HEIGHTS.

I saw the show last Saturday and all I can tell you, without giving away too much, is that it lived up to its bizarre, entertaining, perversely compelling  and twisted expectations.  My unnatural opinion – to stay in the spirit of TEN TO LIFE – is that watching Annette Lee’s HACIENDA HEIGHTS made me feel like an organ being transplanted into a body that never quite accepted me: the whole wasn’t greater than the sum of its inventive yet odd parts. Tim Lounibos’ first creation,  BE HAPPY, is a house of dangerous mirrors reflecting the most vulnerable aspects of ourselves and constantly keeping us on the edge of our restraint seat thanks also to the wonderful chemistry between Feodor Chin and Peggy Ahn. I already knew that Judy Soo Hoo was one of the Brothers Grimm’s most talented cousins. Phantasmagoria is the word that came to my inquisitive mind as I struggled to describe her RED DRESS. When I looked up the eccentric noun on http://www.thefreedictionary.com, its definition perfectly described what I had witnessed: “A fantastic sequence of haphazardly associative imagery, as seen in dreams or fever.” I’m only sorry I didn’t get all of the explosive finale because of a certain magic wand used by actress Emily Kuroda with such authority that, on that night, it drowned out her voice.

I know, I know, it’s only three stories and I said TEN TO LIFE consists of 4-one acts. In Nic Cha Kim’s RE:verse, Jully Lee (I always look forward to see her perform,) Ewan Chung and Feodor Chin show off their range and hit many notes, from ardent to discordant,  in quite a few interesting and compromising positions. I really can’t say anything more about it. And certainly not anything wrong. My hands are tied. I shouldn’t say that. I don’t want my hands tied. You see, I’m afraid the author will go after me if I say something wrong about RE:verse. If he greets you in the lobby, don’t be fooled by his gentle nature… and please, I urge you, don’t tell anyone that I said on the blogosphere of 112.8 millions and counting, that Nic Cha Kim is…. unrepentantly WICKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jully Lee and Feodor Chin  in Nic Cha Kim’s RE:verse. Photo by Nic Cha Kim.

The cast includes Peggy Ahn, Feodor Chin, Ewan Chung, Elpidio Ebuen, Emily Kuroda, Jully Lee, Janet Song, Carin Chea, Vincent Gabucan, Junko Goda and Joon Lee. The show is directed by Alberto Isaac.

Through June 7th. For show times, admission prices and directions to the GTC Burbank, go to http://www.lodestonetheatre.org.

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