Chronicling 15-year-old Red McCray’s unhappy move to a new town and school is his most intimate friend – his cell phone, personified on stage by Thomas Piper (N.Y.C. productions of Richard 3 at La MAMA ETC and We Killed Kurt Cobain at Ensemble Studio Theatre). As our narrator gets sucked into a breakneck journey from pockets to purses, it offers a fresh and unique perspective on human interaction and relationships. Soundscape designer and foley artist Adam Smith joins Piper on stage to expand and enhance the unusual world of the play. The rest of the creative team includes set designer Pete Hickock, lighting designer Kelley Finn, projections designer Nick Santiagoand costume designer Kate Bergh.
“It’s a fast-paced, high-tech story that handles serious, adult themes in an unconventional way,” says Richards. “There are a lot of moving parts — sound, lights, projections — that fit together to tell this story.”
Audience members might recognize the play’s title from their high school days — a mnemonic, or memory aid, for the order of operations needed to solve an algebraic equation (parentheses, exponents, multiply, divide, add, subtract).
Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, which features adult content and is recommended for mature audiences ages 16 and up, premiered off-Broadway in 2015 in a One Year Lease Theatre Company production at 59E59 Theaters. The New York Times called it “an elegantly constructed examination of contemporary isolation and the illusory nature of electronic connection.” The production traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it was honored with a Stage Edinburgh Award.
Kevin Armento’s other work includes Good Men Wanted (Arena Stage, optioned by Seaview Productions), Playing Hot (Pipeline Theatre), killers (Tom Noonan’s Paradise Factory) and Companion Piece (Pleasance Theatre, London). He is an artist-in-residence at Ars Nova and an alum of their Play Group, a former artist-in-residence at the Drama League, and was recently awarded grants from the Jerome Foundation and Brooklyn Arts Council. Kevin’s plays have been developed by Seattle Repertory Theatre, Ars Nova, Space on Ryder Farm, Abingdon Theatre, Dixon Place, The New Ohio and Cape Cod Theatre Project. Other writing has been featured in Glamour, Yahoo, Culturebot and The Huffington Post, and his spec script Comfortably Numb was optioned by CBSTVS.
Peter Richards’ directing credits include a site-specific production of Chekhov’s The Seagull on a farm in Maine, a staging of Julius Caesar that employed local residents as a Greek chorus, and critically acclaimed productions of the Pulitzer-nominated drama Dying City by Christopher Shinn; the Obie-winning play The Aliens by Annie Baker; and 400 Parts Per Million with Blessed Unrest at The Interart Theatre in NYC. Among his theatrical avant-garde projects are numerous shows with Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant (an ensemble of which he is a founding member), presented in New York at the Ohio Theater and the Bushwick Starr. His directorial work in Los Angeles includes a production of Macbeth at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. Richards also directs educational theater projects at Bates College in Maine. He holds an MFA degree in Acting from the Institute of Advanced Theater Training at Harvard and is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.
Performances of Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally take place Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., Sept. 16 through Oct. 8, with additional matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 (Press Opening) and Saturday, Sept. 23. There will be one preview performance on Friday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. All tickets are $20(reserved seating) except the preview, for which tickets are $10.
The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call 323-960-4429 or go to www.plays411.com/PEMDAS.
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‘Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally’
West Coast premiere of Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally — This funny, sad, lyrical and highly original coming of age story from emerging playwright Kevin Armento features an unconventional narrator — the cell phone belonging to a troubled teen. As Red’s phone gets sucked into a breakneck journey from pockets to purses, it offers a fresh and unique perspective on human interaction and relationships. “Critic’s Pick… An elegantly constructed examination of contemporary isolation and the illusory nature of electronic connection.” — The New York Times
• Written by Kevin Armento
• Directed by Peter Richards
• Soundscape by Adam Smith
• Starring Thomas Piper and Adam Smith
• Produced by Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners
• Presented by Working Barn Productions
Preview: Sept. 15
Performances: Sept. 16 – Oct. 8
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 15 (preview), Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 6
• Saturdays at 2 p.m.: Sept. 16 (Press Opening) and Sept. 23 ONLY
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: Sept. 17, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 8
A visiting production at the
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90025
323-960-4429 or www.plays411.com/PEMDAS
• All performances $20
• Preview: $10
Adult content: recommended for mature audiences, ages 16 and up.