×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

He Who Gets Slapped

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.

He Who Gets Slapped

More Film

  • Richard E. Grant, Bo Burnham Clean

    Richard E. Grant, 'Roma' Among Early Winners at 2019 Indie Spirit Awards

    Richard E. Grant, Bo Burnham and “Roma” were among the early winners at the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards, held Saturday on the beach in Santa Monica, Ca. More Reviews Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’ TV Review: 'Whiskey Cavalier' Grant took the best supporting male prize for his role in “Can [...]

  • 2019 Indie Spirit Awards Winners List

    2019 Indie Spirit Awards Winners: Complete List (Updating Live)

    The 2019 Independent Spirit Awards are taking place on a beach in Santa Monica, Calif., with “We the Animals” topping nominations with five. “Eighth Grade,” “First Reformed,” and “You Were Never Really Here” are up for four each. More Reviews Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’ TV Review: 'Whiskey Cavalier' The Spirit Awards [...]

  • Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

    Hated It! How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Gripe About the Oscars

    Watching the Academy Awards telecast, then grousing about it the next day, has become a hipster parlor game — it’s what the Complete Oscar Experience now is. The complaints are legion, and we all know what they are, because we’ve all made them. The show was too long. The host bombed. His or her opening [...]

  • Boots Riley arrives at the 34th

    Boots Riley: Spike Lee Yelled at Me After 'BlacKkKlansman' Criticism, But We're Good Now

    “Sorry to Bother You” director and musician Boots Riley, who wrote a scathing criticism of Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” for its positive representation of law enforcement, said that he and the “Do the Right Thing” auteur are good now. But it took some time (and drama) to get there. More Reviews Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated [...]

  • Dr. Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali, right)

    Read Variety's 1957 Review of 'Green Book' Pianist Don Shirley

    “Green Book” viewers who are not totally versed in the ways of ’50s and ’60s jazz may come away from the heavily Oscar-nominated movie wondering just how well known and respected the film’s central musical figure, Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali), really was in his heyday. The answer: revered enough to have picked up [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Steven Spielberg Remembers 'Friend and Early Mentor' Stanley Donen

    As news of the death of prolific director Stanley Donen spread Saturday, the industry was quick to remember the helmer of so many classic musicals. More Reviews Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’ TV Review: 'Whiskey Cavalier' Donen directed such hits as “Singin’ in the Rain,” co-directed with and starring Gene Kelly; [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content