Liana is a psychologist, perhaps, in session with a rather mysterious woman. The woman leaves and Liana is immediately joined by Ben yet another mysterious character. There is clearly both passion and tension between them and as the story unfolds we learn that they have been together since the French Revolution. And so begins one of the most unique theatrical offerings I have ever seen presented.
One of the driving forces it appears is the notion that time is not particularly relevant, maybe not even real but rather a mere convenience of mankind. At one point we are even treated to a projection of Albert Einstein’s thoughts on time; that time is but an illusion. So it is not difficult to accept at least the possibility that two people could in fact be friends for over 200 years or that that Ben could actually keep his friend Liana looking young, beautiful and sexy for every one of those years and perhaps beyond.
But Liana discovers an amazing secret, that her client is actually the daughter of Zeus. She is about to return to the winter and dwell with Hades, or as I interpreted it that they removed themselves from what we call mortal life and went to hell. All of this it seems was the ultimate test for a reason to save humanity. In the performance several arguments against humanity emerge; the hundreds, perhaps thousands routinely beheaded during the French Revolution is but one. Were this set in more contemporary times we could even ponder the more than 3 million killed during the Vietnam War, or the thousands slaughter by terror groups such as ISIS. It all is very much the same argument.
Yet there is a true element of love that emerges as Liana reaches out and helps resolve one painful conflict of another person. Are you confused yet?
Yes it is like that. This is not the easiest play on Earth. It requires a strong and open mind and it will not appeal to everyone. But it is very well presented by a solid and highly capable cast. There is even some very much-needed comic relief that comes from the rather bizarre behavior of Hades, but I will not spoil that for you. I repeat that Liana and Ben is often the very essence of esoteric. Yet at its worst one leaves the theatre thinking and that alone recommends the show.
If you are open to a unique experience you will very much enjoy Liana and Ben currently at the Circle X Theatre, 3269 Casitas Avenue, Atwater Village, California. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 p.m. now through March 26th 2017. Ticketing is available here.
Leave the kids at home.
Photos by Jeff Galfer
Top photo: Kimberly Alexander and Jonathan Median