If you loved the 2004 movie Sideways as much as I did based on the book by Rex Pickett, you are sure to love this adapted play from the original book with its different twists and turns that are downright hysterical, but also touching at the same time.
The story follows two men – Miles and Jack- in the Santa Ynez wine country before one gets married. Their journey includes a blowout trip of wine tasting and women before they must face their uncertain futures. Miles, the wine expert, is still hurt from a recent divorce and is trying to heal as well as is hoping to get his novel published. His way with words is poetic and moving. However, Miles is the exact opposite of Jack, who is a good looking rugged philanderer who is about to marry a rich woman he isn’t even sure he wants. Jack attempts to have one last lusty encounter before he settles down and gets married in wine country.
Previously adapted as a major motion picture, Sideways garnered numerous nominations and awards, including an Academy Award win, two Golden Globe Awards, four NY Film Critics Circle Awards, a SAG Award, six IFP Independent Spirit Awards, and is one of the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Top Ten Films of 2004.
The writer Rex Pickett of Sideways had his own personal storm while drafting the story as he was escaping a failing marriage, an ailing mom, and a stalled writing career, by going up to wine country from LA and Santa Barbara about once every three weeks during the weekdays to golf. Eventually the writer was staying at the same hotel, playing the same golf course, and eating at the same restaurant, while bringing friends and dates up to the area from LA. Friends suggested he turn his experiences into a screenplay, but Rex said it didn’t work, so he turned to prose, then a short story about the character Miles, and eventually finished the novel, which was rejected by many in the publishing industry. Later, the unpublished novel found its way to the desk of Payne, who was looking for his next film after Election.
“I hate the dispiriting nature of development – i.e. screenwriting, but the stage is a fresh vehicle for audiences to experience he original story. This team at the Ruskin was so passionate about theater, so certain that ‘Sideways’ based on my novel — not the film — would lend itself to the stage, that this time the development process became truly rewarding.” – Rex Pickett
The acting by John Colella (Miles) and Jonathan Bray (Jack) as well as the leading ladies – Julia McIlvaine (Maya) and Cloe Kromwell (Terra) in the play is exceptional. You will not only be moved to gutteral laughter in this tiny up-close personal theater, but even heartfelt tears as you follow the characters’ journeys of friendship and love while savoring wine. The actor Hamilton Matthews (Brad and Ensemble) is hysterical too as he shakes things up as a red neck hillbilly that Miles and Jack befriends drinking one night who then takes them “hunting.”
Come for laughs and pinot noir since there is a free wine tasting before the show and during intermission. Click this link for the wine tasting schedule for each performance. Don’t leave sideways from the wine, just sideways from laughter.
Fridays & Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through July 22, 2012
3000 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405
TICKETS: Tickets are $25 ($20 for students, seniors, and guild members) Please click here to purchase tickets or call (310) 397-3244. Free parking is available at the theater.
More about the Playwright and Director:
REX PICKETT (Playwright) is the author of the novel Sideways and its sequel Vertical. He has written and directed two feature films, California Without End, From Hollywood to Deadwood, and numerous screenplays. In 2000 the film of his short script, My Mother Dreams the Satan’s Disciples in New York (directed by Barbara Schock), won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. In 2004, the Alexander Payne-directed movie Sideways, based upon Rex’s novel, was released to worldwide critical acclaim, winning over 350 awards from various critics and awards organizations, including 5 New York Film Critics Circle awards, 5 L.A. Film Critics awards, 6 IFP Independent Spirit Awards, 2 Golden Globes, and theOscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. It is enshrined with a plaque on the wall of the Writers Guild of America Theater as one of the 101 Greatest Screenplays in the history of motion pictures. Rex is currently writing a pilot for HBO and a script for Barbara Schock called On Tour with Max.
AMELIA MULKEY (Director) is a director in theater and film. She cut her teeth in filmmaking by working as a producing director’s assistant for several television shows including Saving Grace, Army Wives, and Lie to Me. Since then, Amelia has produced and directed several short films including Unicorn Girl, which screened at several festivals last year. She graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Art History and Theatre from Loyola Marymount University. Amelia has worked on several stage productions at San Francisco’s New Conservatory Theatre, and has been tapped numerous times to direct CAFÉ PLAYS, the popular Ruskin Group Theatre event which sells out monthly. Other stage credits include When the Speak of Rita, Bash,The Laramie Project, Denty Crisis, and Lend Me a Tenor. Most recently, she directed a critically acclaimed production of Arthur Miller’s A Memory of Two Monday’s at Ruskin Group Theatre, which received a Backstage Critic’s Pick, an Ovation Recommendation, and 6 nominations including “Best Director” from The LA Stage Alliance. Amelia is currently in development for a new series, about the San Francisco burlesque scene.