Okay so maybe that isn’t totally accurate because elephants unemployed or otherwise have not swarmed Burbank, but the love story written by acclaimed playwright Wendy Graf and entitled Unemployed Elephants has indeed launched at Burbank’s Victory Theatre and it fun with a powerful message or two.
It begins innocently enough when Jane, portrayed splendidly by Brea Bee and Alex played with great skill by Marshall McCabe meet by chance and soon discover that they are heading to the same rather unusual destination, Myanmar. Their chance meeting is anything but instant love. Jane is undeniable a very pretty woman and Alex is a handsome man but there are many road blocks along their path.
Most significantly Jane was only very recently — literally — left standing alone at the altar. Clearly Jane is in no mood for another relationship anytime soon. Alex, on the other hand finds himself drawn to Jane and begins working hard to tear down her resistance. This dynamic is replete with abundant humor brilliantly executed.
But as time moves on affection does grow between the disparate couple. Jane slowly begins to move beyond her recent heartbreak, but slowing things down is a persistent mystery surrounding Alex. Is he really a producer for Animal Planet in search of a possible show about Myanmar’s unemployed elephants?
Turns out he confesses that is not true but rather he is a man in pursuit of his long missing sister. That too eventually is revealed as false. So then who exactly is Alex? Jane is beginning to have positive feelings about Alex but his apparent inability to truthfully reveal exactly why he has chosen Myanmar to visit keeps getting in the way of their relationship. After all Myanmar is a country steeped in very dark tragedy despite its abundant outward beauty.
Indeed as the story progresses another story well beyond that of Alex and Jane maybe falling in love emerges. This story is torn from today’s headlines and is focused on the apparent ethnic cleansing of Myanmar’s Muslin minority. Not everyone sees the same set of circumstances in exactly the same light, of course, but there is little doubt about some very unpleasant realities haunting Myanmar formally known as Burma.
The play, Unemployed Elephants does little if anything to suggest a solution to the problem but does make it very clear that significant issues do exist with that Southeast Asian nation.
In the end Unemployed Elephants is a fascinating often hilarious love story mixed in with a dose of powerful global politics. Such a mix, love and chaos, is absolutely not mutually exclusive and is well blended in this show.
Unemployed Elephants is now playing at The Little Victory Theatre, 3324 West Victory Boulevard, Burbank, California 91505 through April 21st, 2018. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday’s at 4:00 p.m. Reservations and ticketing are available by calling 818-841-5422 or online here.
And one final note about a Star I met at the theatre. She is a true and beautiful Star, very friendly and loving with an unforgettable smile. That is all I am saying for now but with any luck you too may meet the Star of the Victory Theatre and most likely not on stage.
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More fun, reviews and even art available here.
Photos by Tim Sullens
Top photo Marshall McCabe and Brea Bee
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.