The 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