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Theater review: '3 Truths' from Cornerstone Theater Company

June 10, 2010 |  9:30 pm
400.3truths-15 Early on in Naomi Iizuka's "3 Truths," presented at California Plaza's outdoor Watercourt, a character comments that Los Angeles' many diverse communities each has "100,000 stories."

And during the course of this nearly three-hour evening, it seems as if Iizuka aims  to recount every single one.

Iizuka's intricate drama is the culminating play in Cornerstone Theater Company's Justice Cycle, a series that began in 2007 and has touched on such complex issues as illegal immigration, reproductive rights and environmental responsibility.  (The cycle's "Touch the Water," set on the banks of the Los Angeles river, was one of the most memorable experiences of the 2009 season.)

In "Truths," Iizuka's assignment was to concoct a "bridge play" uniting the multifarious subjects and themes of the entire cycle.  To that end, she samples freely from previous productions, with a heaping measure of Greek tragedy ("Agamemnon," "The Eumenides") thrown into the mix.

The result occasionally sprawls into incoherence. In contrast to the action-packed first act, the second-act characters "lecture" from behind podiums, augmenting the play's innate didacticism. And a subplot about immigration rights seems shoehorned into the piece at the last moment.

As is typical with Cornerstone productions, the enormous cast is comprised mostly of amateurs.  However, director Michael John Garcés keeps the pacing crisp and the performances consistently professional -- a logistical feat that deserves high praise.  The night air can bite and concrete seats are unforgiving in this outdoor setting, so cushions and sweaters are recommended.

"3 Truths," California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles.  This Friday-Saturday only, 8 p.m.  No reservations; first come, first serve. www.cornerstonetheater.org.  Running time:  2 hours, 45 minutes.

-- F. Kathleen Foley

Photo: Andres Munar (left) and Carlos Gomez. Photo credit: Gary Leonard.

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