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Another Effing Family Drama

theatre · sharp cocktail · Ages 16+ · world premiere · United States

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TONY L June 25, 2011
If Eugene O’Neill’s Long Days Journey Into Night was written and directed in the style of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, you will have Catherine Pelonero’s Another Effing Family Drama, which is reason alone to catch it at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in Los Angeles. Directed by Dan Berkowitz, Another Effing Family Drama more than tosses a nod to the Absurdist’s – it sticks its tongue straight out at any “kitchen sink” variety family story, be it comedy or drama. Within the first two minutes of the play, Pelonero holds up every known cliché of the family drama genre and strips them of all their power. What we have left is a basic story of an over-achieving daughter June (played by Eva Minemar) returning to her childhood home to confront her ... full review
JESSICA FARLEY certified reviewer June 12, 2011
This play made me laugh. You have to be a bit of a theatre or lit geek to really get it, but if you do it is very worthwhile. The dialogue is extremely clever and the actors look like they are having a ridiculous amount fun. I've seen a lot of family dramas and while I could never punch Eugene O'Neill in the face, Another Effing Family Drama is spot on with satire and quite enjoyable. ... full review
ENRIQUE ACOSTA certified reviewer June 13, 2011
Oh dear. I really wanted to like this one. I could go on about comic theory and why something is or isn't funny but in the end comedy is a very subjective art. But, the fact is they never got more than a light chuckle out of me. It was fun to see references to shows I saw in other fringes or watching them lampoon certain cliches of the form but it wasn't enough to really do anything for me. The cast was committed and driven but in the end I think it came down to the script. That's not to say it was all bad. There were a few things that actually worked. The "What's in the box" scene, played dead pan and utterly serious. The "I'm going to take up the trumpet" monologue, with a surprising depth of pathos. And finally the last, and surp... full review
ANN RYERSON certified reviewer June 12, 2011
The show is smart. I laughed a lot. A relief by comparison to most shows I see.... full review
TONY FRANKEL stage and cinema/bitter lemons certified reviewer June 20, 2011
Playwright Catherine Pelonero had the idea to spoof the kitchen sink variety of family dramas, but instead of concocting a compelling story in which her stock characters are blatantly aware of their dysfunctions, she merely presents a repetitive drone of a piece that is silly and sophomoric - instead of funny and enlightening. Even if you are familiar with the plays that she pokes fun at, the thinly drawn characters merely comment on their situation - making for poor satire (the joke where a delivery man actually delivers a kitchen sink falls flat because the sink serves no other purpose; it's a set-up with no punch line). This structure leaves the actors no other recourse than to flounder in an attempt to flesh out characters; the most s... full review
JEN HUSZCZA lafpi certified reviewer June 20, 2011
Another Effing Family Drama is part parody of kitchen sink melodramas (a kitchen sink is even brought on at one point) and part circus in a dysfunctional space. The play centers on a family named Effing and their neighbor, Eleanor, whose daughter June has come home to dredge up the past and find closure. However, June has walked into the wrong play as the Effings take over her drama. The Effings defy all logic and sanity. They know they’re in a play. They know the plot points and character maps they have to follow, but these theatrical rule-breakers are great fun to watch. There’s an American bounciness to the play, and I enjoyed watching Mr. Absurd Self-awareness dance with Miss Angsty Need For Revelation. For more of my Fringe piec... full review
WILLARD MANUS press certified reviewer June 27, 2011
The Hollywood Fringe Festival, now in its second year in L.A., is the proper place for offbeat and irreverent work -- a case in point being Another Effing Family Drama, the new one-act play by Catherine Pelonero, author of such previously successful works as Family Names and Awesome Ghosts of Ontario, both published by Samuel French. The inspiration for Another Effing Family drama, Pelonero confides in a program note, grew out of her boredom with realistic family dramas. Pelonero pokes gleeful fun at this all-too-familiar theatrical genre in which "somebody full of hurt and resentment" goes home to have it out with another family member, usually a parent, in the desperate hope of finding "closure." That's exactly what happens in Effi... full review

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