There's a safer feeling for the future of the arts when up-and-coming artists with great commitment do this kind of work. Fledgling playwright Brian Crano has created a remarkable time-hopping and highly kinetic theatrical journey, bravely chronicling the prolonged death of his mother and the struggles faced by a young man coming to grips with his sexuality. These issues are explored in a series of arresting narrative premises, delivered mostly by the writer himself with courageous abandon. Without a defined beginning or end, the work becomes a modern urban La Ronde, as five socially and sexually intertwined friends ruminate about survival in a confusing era to be young.
In the magical hands of director Kristin Hanggi, this deeply personal production is at once huge and intimate—and sexy at all turns. Rob Fritz's simple set is made up of stacks of movable and sufficiently prophetic blank canvases, and accented with precise skill by Jay Bolton's stark lighting and Jason H. Thompson's bold video projections, which reflect the turmoil swirling inside of the leading character's mind. The cohesive and intensely gifted cast makes the last ingredient fall right into place.
Beyond these dynamic elements, ultimately once again the play's the thing. Some sections of Crano's musings are intricately beautiful, some fly sharply to the point, but some are also rambling, and others are painfully overwritten. As much as this effort is to be appreciated and admired, particularly for how handsomely it has been brought to fruition by this imaginative creative team, Crano still needs to find his own voice. It will be exciting to see his third play, one where he no longer needs to find a way to nonchalantly throw in lines about his substantial literary and cultural knowledge, such as, "He's different…like Monet and Miro." But, considering that almost every raw young writer with something to shout about suffers the dreaded First Play Curse, thrilled to finally have the opportunity to say everything about life he or she ever wanted to say, the 13th premise here is that this presentation marks the debut of a remarkable playwriting talent.
"12th Premise," presented by Chaotic Entertainment at the Lillian Theatre, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood. Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 7 p.m. Mar. 10-Apr. 10. $25. (800) 595-4849.