He Who Gets Slapped (Hudson BackStage; 99 seats; $ 15 top) L.A. Diversified Theatre Company and L.A. Cultural Affairs in association with the Hudson Group present a drama in two acts by Leonid Andreyev, adapted and directed by Dan Shor. Original music composition and performance, Christine Blasor Wilson; additional music, Nelson Marquez; choreography, Julie Arenal, Deborah Greenfield , William Marquez; sets and costumes, Denise Blasor; lighting, Aurora Barelas; sound, Kirk Bruner, Chris Stendahl; artistic consultant, Geno Silva; fight direction, Randy Kovitz; original paintings, Lorraine Blasor. Opened Aug. 3, 1996; reviewed Aug. 17; runs through Sept. 8. Running time: 2 hours, 15 min. Cast: Bud Cort (He), Valente Rodriguez (Jackson), Alina Cenal (Tilly), Newton Kaneshiro (Polly), William Marquez (Papa), Ivonne Coll (Count Mancini), Erica Ortega (Consuelo), Mauricio Mendoza (Bezano), Denise Blasor (Zinida), Vance Valencia (Baron), Gloria Charles (Gentlewoman). He Who Gets Slapped," written in 1915 by the Russian writer Leonid Andreyev, brims with ideas and inventive staging by director Dan Shor, and an impressive performance by Bud Cort. The simple story unfolds at such a snail's pace, however, that patience is asked of every viewer. In 1922, "He Who Gets Slapped" ran for 300 performances at New York's Garrick and Fulton Theatre before being made into a silent film in 1924 with Lon Chaney and Norma Shearer in the leads. Andreyev, a celebrated poet, novelist and playwright, wrote the work with the Russian revolution approaching betrayal was everywhere; naivete had no place. The story involves a mysterious intellectual (Cort) who visits a small circus troupe wanting to be a clown. Clowns in Eastern European circuses were the star performers, and the troupe already has a premier clown, Jackson (Valente Rodriguez). The fawning stranger, not wanting to give his name, has no particular talent other than pontificating and then getting slapped, which not only brings mirth to the group, but, when he's signed on, to the circus's audiences. It's as if the man absorbs the world's anger. Calling himself "He" for short, the man falls for innocent, fresh-faced Consuelo (Erica Ortega), the Bareback Tango Queen.Director Shor peppers the narrative with circus act vignettes, which, if they were funnier or astounding, would work as intended rather than stopping the story in its tracks. The best pieces involve a clown pair named Tilly (Alina Cenal) and Polly (Newton Kaneshiro) who parody the other people. Cort, perhaps because of his unique take on odd individuals, is able to take the betrayal, deep alienation and mythical yearnings of He, and confer emotional sense. Only the drawn-out and predictable ending feels odd and ill-suited in the light of today's world. Aurora Barelas' lighting design and Kirk Bruner and Chris Stendahl's sound design efficiently assist the cast of 11 in creating a circus world on a minimalist stage.

He Who Gets Slapped (Hudson BackStage; 99 seats; $ 15 top) L.A. Diversified Theatre Company and L.A. Cultural Affairs in association with the Hudson Group present a drama in two acts by Leonid Andreyev, adapted and directed by Dan Shor. Original music composition and performance, Christine Blasor Wilson; additional music, Nelson Marquez; choreography, Julie Arenal, Deborah Greenfield , William Marquez; sets and costumes, Denise Blasor; lighting, Aurora Barelas; sound, Kirk Bruner, Chris Stendahl; artistic consultant, Geno Silva; fight direction, Randy Kovitz; original paintings, Lorraine Blasor. Opened Aug. 3, 1996; reviewed Aug. 17; runs through Sept. 8. Running time: 2 hours, 15 min. Cast: Bud Cort (He), Valente Rodriguez (Jackson), Alina Cenal (Tilly), Newton Kaneshiro (Polly), William Marquez (Papa), Ivonne Coll (Count Mancini), Erica Ortega (Consuelo), Mauricio Mendoza (Bezano), Denise Blasor (Zinida), Vance Valencia (Baron), Gloria Charles (Gentlewoman). He Who Gets Slapped,” written in 1915 by the Russian writer Leonid Andreyev, brims with ideas and inventive staging by director Dan Shor, and an impressive performance by Bud Cort. The simple story unfolds at such a snail’s pace, however, that patience is asked of every viewer. In 1922, “He Who Gets Slapped” ran for 300 performances at New York’s Garrick and Fulton Theatre before being made into a silent film in 1924 with Lon Chaney and Norma Shearer in the leads. Andreyev, a celebrated poet, novelist and playwright, wrote the work with the Russian revolution approaching betrayal was everywhere; naivete had no place. The story involves a mysterious intellectual (Cort) who visits a small circus troupe wanting to be a clown. Clowns in Eastern European circuses were the star performers, and the troupe already has a premier clown, Jackson (Valente Rodriguez). The fawning stranger, not wanting to give his name, has no particular talent other than pontificating and then getting slapped, which not only brings mirth to the group, but, when he’s signed on, to the circus’s audiences. It’s as if the man absorbs the world’s anger. Calling himself “He” for short, the man falls for innocent, fresh-faced Consuelo (Erica Ortega), the Bareback Tango Queen.Director Shor peppers the narrative with circus act vignettes, which, if they were funnier or astounding, would work as intended rather than stopping the story in its tracks. The best pieces involve a clown pair named Tilly (Alina Cenal) and Polly (Newton Kaneshiro) who parody the other people. Cort, perhaps because of his unique take on odd individuals, is able to take the betrayal, deep alienation and mythical yearnings of He, and confer emotional sense. Only the drawn-out and predictable ending feels odd and ill-suited in the light of today’s world. Aurora Barelas’ lighting design and Kirk Bruner and Chris Stendahl’s sound design efficiently assist the cast of 11 in creating a circus world on a minimalist stage.

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