During World War Two a young Kurt Vonnegut served in the United States Army. At the Battle of the Bulge he was captured by German soldiers and imprisoned in Dresden where he miraculously survived massive Allied bombings. But despite that truly amazing slice of Kurt Vonnegut’s life what brought him to fame was his story telling. Now Scott Rognlien has adapted five of Vonnegut’s short stories to create a narrative comedy entitled Vonnegut USA, which is premiering now through November 20th on stage at the Atwater Village Theatre.
Well known for presenting touching stories about small town Middle America Rognlien’s adaptation of Vonnegut captures the essence of Vonnegut in Vonnegut USA.
There are five distinct stories woven together, each with its own message but all with abundant wit and real world humor. One stand out performance comes from Keith Blaney who nails it as a cigar-smoking aficionado of “girlie” magazines. But then the entire cast was simply outstanding.
The stories are “Poor Little Rich Town,” “Lovers Anonymous,” “Bomar,” “Hundred Dollar Kisses” and “Shout About it from the Housetops.” All are rich and captivating with abundant humor, but I personally found “Lovers Anonymous” to be particularly enjoyable. Way back a very long time ago I and pretty much every other male in our suburban Chicago High School was madly in love or perhaps just lust with one extremely popular girl. Well over a half-century later we still talk about Diane and have to some extent formed our own “Lovers Anonymous.” Sure the details are different but the concept remains and is very well presented.
Vonnegut USA is intriguing, fun and often funny, brilliantly structured and presented. If you don’t enjoy this show you may want to check your pulse. So get yourself over to the Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90039 and immerse yourself in about an hour and a half of pure joy.
The show runs now through November 20th 2016 by which time we will know who our next President will be so this could be our last good laugh for a while. Show times are Fridays and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday Matinees at 2:00 p.m. You can make reservations and buy tickets Here.
Photos by Maia Peter
Top photo: (L-R) Rob Smith, Carryl Lynn and Matt Taylor
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.