The Pain and the Itch

Jul 27, 2009

painitch1The Furious Theatre Company and the Theatre at Boston Court, both of Pasadena, opened their first joint venture last weekend. The Pain and the Itch, written by Bruce Norris, originated at Chicago’s Steppenwolf  Theatre and moved on to Playwright’s Horizon before its west coast premiere here. Furious Theater’s director Dámaso Rodriguez calls the comedy “an equal opportunity offender.”

In its sixth season as artists in residence at the Pasadena Playhouse, the Furious Theatre Company threw a pre-show cocktail party at the Gilmore Brown library inside the Playhouse on Sunday, July 26. Attended by 70 Furious supporters, the party featured a short talk by the artistic directors about the histories of their companies and their collaboration.

On to The Pain and the Itch, an indictment of the sins of the fathers (and mothers, and uncles and Russians). The plot switches between a holiday gathering and an evening two months later. In the holiday scenes, the family lays bare its complaints and pains, strafing dialogue like salt into raw lacerations. As they itch, of course it gets worse.  The central character is a 4-year-old girl (double-cast with Ava Feldman and Olivia Aaron) who has an actual raw laceration, which is oddly neglected by her liberal, self-involved family. Grandma is especially hilarious as played by Jennifer Rhodes, whom you might know best as Gram on the TV series Charmed. Kevin Vavasseur is the stoic visitor, Mr. Habib, and the resident Furious actors Vonessa Martin, Brad Price and Katie Davies are convincing in turns as predators and prey. In two acts, the play takes everyone to task: George Bush, lawyers, plastic surgeons, working women, free-range parents, racists, classists, the police, liars. You, me, us.

The point being, go to the theatre. Be a better person. Not necessarily in that order.

— Sandy Gillis

The Pain and the Itch
July 25-August 23
Tickets $27-$32 (student rush seats available)
Theatre at Boston Court
70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena

2 Responses for “The Pain and the Itch”

  1. Sandy Gillis says:

    I saw the play. It’s compelling, smart, funny and pointed. The depth of talent in the Furious ensemble of actors is second to none. Katie Davies’ comic riffs alone as the Russian girlfriend make the experience worth seeking out. Add to that the edgy script by Bruce Norris in the hands of actors like Vonessa Martin and Brad Price and the evening is its own reward. Thanks for posting your thoughts.
    Paul Vandeventer

  2. Sandy Gillis says:

    Amen, brother! Those Furious Theatre folk are a talented bunch! We’re lucky to have ’em in Pasadena!



Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena