Skylight Theatre Company, Rogue Machine, and York Theatre Royal present Donald Freed‘s new play – Tomorrow. Owned by the Beverly Hills Playhouse, the intimate 99-seat Skylight Theatre sits in the acclaimed artistic Los Feliz area, a bordering Hollywood district of Los Angeles.
Tomorrow’s premise captures the invigorating passion of a young actress who is desperately seeking help from 100-year-old American theatre legend Abigail Booth. Laura Keating (Jenn Robbins) has been offered the role of Lady Macbeth on Broadway opposite Liam Neeson – which may be the spark to catapult her career. Laura hopes Abigail will coach her, and tell her honestly if she is capable…
For those of us not familiar with theater, Lady Macbeth is a character in Shakespeare’s Macbeth (c.1603–1607). She is the wife to the play’s protagonist, Macbeth, a Scottish nobleman. After provoking him into committing homicide, she becomes Queen of Scotland, but later suffers pains of guilt for her part in the crime. She dies off-stage in the last act, an apparent suicide.
Tomorrow’s main character, Abigail Booth (Salome Jens) transforms a fictional creation into a real well performed character. An older woman full of wisdom and theater experience illuminates her character with strength and at times adds a light- hearted motherly touch. Along with these characters, James Booth (Geoffrey Forward), Abigail booth’s nephew, plays the Shakespeare teacher’s assistant. He refrains from the other characters, using his task-list as an excuse to limit his hermetical yet interesting role.
The play takes place in the year 2000 inside an old studio house along Beachwood Canyon (West Hollywood, Calif.) with the radio announcing the Supreme Court’s decision to award George Bush the presidency. James Booth prepares morning tea as he waits for his aunt (Abigail) to arrive for Laura’s first appointment. Laura, a studio actress classically trained in theatre, ignores James as she anxiously awaits the theater legend, losing herself in the pictures and accolades on the walls. Reciting a few lines from Shakespeare, she surprises him with her acting depth though the audience isn’t sure what to believe. Does she have the inner power to achieve greatness? She has the vaulting ambition—but does she have the talent? Can Abigail Booth transform Laura Kidding into new Lady Macbeth?
As the play unfolds, the trio of actors work on perfecting Laura’s Lady Macbeth role, they strengthen their lines with increasing excitement. The acts are well defined using a variety of effects with light and sound which sets a dark and deeper tone to the actor’s lines. When you and I say “tomorrow,” it just means the day after today. But when these characters say that word, knowingly, with all its implications and layers, it means “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” and every word thereafter (as quoted from Shakespeare’s Macbeth). The story ends with the sudden death of Abigail, unveiling a life changing family secret and igniting Laura’s character in revealing her truest self. The final product is a much stronger, self-confident actress who becomes worthy of Abigail’s legacy.
Referencing Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Tomorrow adopts the theme of politics and its relationship with art. We live in a politically ambitious world where power can be achieved by court decision or murder. Here, the same emotions that fill an actor when playing a role can also ride political decisions based on the thirst for power. The play introduces another theme regarding the struggle for substance in life and the freedom that comes with acknowledging one’s true self. The actor who “struts and frets his hour” today or a playwright who tells “a tale full of sound and fury” today will ultimately fade away tomorrow…
Damian Cruden, the artistic director of the York Theatre Royal, is one of the UK’s rising-star directors; his production of The Railway Children garnered The Olivier Prize in 2011. Cruden directs Tomorrow with understated elegance and a focus on the characters’ inner lives, effectively drawing out of Freed’s complex, multilayer plays, the implications so they resonate with actors and audiences alike.
The Skylight Theater Complex
1816 ½ North Vermont
Los Angeles, CA 90027
HOURS: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. through April 21, 2013
TICKETS: Please click here to purchase tickets.