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There Used to Be Fireflies

Dana Matthow, in association with Jeff Murray and Nicolette Chaffey, presents a play in one act written by Charlie Adler and Garin Wolf. Directed by Chuck Swenson. Set, Wolf, Adler; lighting, Evan A. Bartoletti; original music and sound, David Eccles. Opened Oct. 15, 1996; reviewed Oct. 16; runs indefinitely. Running time: 1 hour, 30 min. Cast: Charlie Adler. Amythical Hollywood revitalization project called the Millennium Complex is the great villain in Charlie Adler's multi-character probing into the lives of Hollywood denizens whose daily existences are forever disrupted by this upheaval of urbanization. Adler and co-writer Garin Wolf have created a colorful assortment of personalities but fail to develop them much past the anguish of being forced to move on with their lives. Director Chuck Swenson's brisk pacing through 26 scenes never establishes any real feeling of concern for the people or a true sense of tragedy over their fate. Adler, who has solid credits as an animation voiceover artist ("Cool World," "Aladdin," "The Little Mermaid," etc.), effectively establishes his 11 characters with minimal wardrobe adjustment. Utilizing his well-honed vocal skills, some of his more memorable people include: Will, a gentle homeless person with an undying love for an Angelyne-like billboard figure called Andromeda; Jack, the ruthless, get-it-done-at-all-cost project coordinator; Maurice, the comically verbose radio personality who opposes the project; Dawn, a pregnant skinhead; Sophie, a nursing-home-bound Holocaust survivor; and Vinnie, a crippled Vietnam vet. The characters are given intriguing intros by Adler, but the overall impact of the piece might have been more telling with a smaller population and enhanced plot development. This is especially true of the underdeveloped Omar, a doughnut maker; and Clifford, an aging actor whose career was ruined by the McCarthy era blacklistings. Omar offers a poignantly sad soliloquy on his 17-year-long unrequited love for a woman he has seen only from the window of his doughnut shop, which the project is closing. Clifford is a beautiful study of a monumentally dignified artist who refuses to give up his cottage to the project because he simply does not want to leave. One is left with the feeling that if we could have gotten to know these people better, the impact of the dehumanizing nature of the project would have been greater. The production does deserve high marks for its scenic and sound designs. Wolf and Adler have created an evocatively moody and impressionist atmosphere in which Adler's characters roam. And the sound of David Eccles is brilliant, always creating exactly the correct mood for the ever-evolving onstage action. Julio Martinez

Dana Matthow, in association with Jeff Murray and Nicolette Chaffey, presents a play in one act written by Charlie Adler and Garin Wolf. Directed by Chuck Swenson. Set, Wolf, Adler; lighting, Evan A. Bartoletti; original music and sound, David Eccles. Opened Oct. 15, 1996; reviewed Oct. 16; runs indefinitely. Running time: 1 hour, 30 min. Cast: Charlie Adler. Amythical Hollywood revitalization project called the Millennium Complex is the great villain in Charlie Adler’s multi-character probing into the lives of Hollywood denizens whose daily existences are forever disrupted by this upheaval of urbanization. Adler and co-writer Garin Wolf have created a colorful assortment of personalities but fail to develop them much past the anguish of being forced to move on with their lives. Director Chuck Swenson’s brisk pacing through 26 scenes never establishes any real feeling of concern for the people or a true sense of tragedy over their fate. Adler, who has solid credits as an animation voiceover artist (“Cool World,” “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid,” etc.), effectively establishes his 11 characters with minimal wardrobe adjustment. Utilizing his well-honed vocal skills, some of his more memorable people include: Will, a gentle homeless person with an undying love for an Angelyne-like billboard figure called Andromeda; Jack, the ruthless, get-it-done-at-all-cost project coordinator; Maurice, the comically verbose radio personality who opposes the project; Dawn, a pregnant skinhead; Sophie, a nursing-home-bound Holocaust survivor; and Vinnie, a crippled Vietnam vet. The characters are given intriguing intros by Adler, but the overall impact of the piece might have been more telling with a smaller population and enhanced plot development. This is especially true of the underdeveloped Omar, a doughnut maker; and Clifford, an aging actor whose career was ruined by the McCarthy era blacklistings. Omar offers a poignantly sad soliloquy on his 17-year-long unrequited love for a woman he has seen only from the window of his doughnut shop, which the project is closing. Clifford is a beautiful study of a monumentally dignified artist who refuses to give up his cottage to the project because he simply does not want to leave. One is left with the feeling that if we could have gotten to know these people better, the impact of the dehumanizing nature of the project would have been greater. The production does deserve high marks for its scenic and sound designs. Wolf and Adler have created an evocatively moody and impressionist atmosphere in which Adler’s characters roam. And the sound of David Eccles is brilliant, always creating exactly the correct mood for the ever-evolving onstage action. Julio Martinez

There Used to Be Fireflies

(Theatre/Theater; 99 seats; $ 24 top)

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