Running Time: 85 to 90 minutes
Cast (m / f): 6-7 / 2
(i.e., 6 – 7 male actors playing 13 roles [4 primary male actors,
2-3 actors playing multiple characters]; 2 female actors playing 4 roles [1 primary female actor, 1 actor playing multiple characters])
Scenic Time and Place: 1946 (more or less), the Big City
“A SHADOWED CROSS” takes the main characters from Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” and sets them loose in the film noir world. It is a comic homage in which a moral yet immoral private detective must maintain his personal code of honor and discover the Truth despite the perils and pleasures of a femme fatale, international art smugglers, hostile cops, a lascivious librarian, the ghost of his ex-partner and perhaps most dangerous of all – his brother, a well-intentioned monk.
The play is meant to be a comedic drama, but it absolutely is not a spoof as there is a real emotional underpinning for the characters, and likewise, the same themes that are explored in Karamazov also exist beneath the funhouse mirrors of this play.
Furthermore while the source materials are both from the cinema and literature, the play itself is highly theatrical, replete with non-naturalistic conventions, heightened language and even includes a serious yet absurd duel with sabers.
Knowing the original images that I’m distorting certainly adds to the fun, but it is no way necessary for an audience to have such knowledge to understand or enjoy the events of the play.
Most recently, “A Shadowed Cross” was chosen by the Aloha Performing Arts Company (Kainaliu, Hawaii – the Big Island) to be part of its 17th annual play reading festival (“OPF XVII”) on August 20, 2010. The reading was directed by David A. Payne.
Prior to that, under the auspices of the Dramatists Guild’s Friday Night Footlights West, a reading was directed by the author on March 27, 2009 at the Academy of New Musical Theater in North Hollywood, CA
with the following cast: David Bardeen, Rafeal Clements, Mike Dayem, Jeanette Driver, Karl Herlinger, Taras Los, Jennifer Riker, Armando Vasquez and Adam J. Smith (in the role of John Kara).
An earlier version of the play, also directed by the author in cooperation with the Yale Connection, was read at “In the Act” Studios at 10820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA. on Nov. 21, 2003 with Jon Ecklund, Bridget Flanery, Bruce Katzman, Randy Kovitz, Nina Landey, Louis Plante, Brian Pope, Brian Robinson, Graham Shiels in the cast.
Banner image above: View of Downtown Los Angeles at Night – © Julius Galacki