Inside The Ford

Three L.A. County-based theater companies without permanent facilities have again been selected through a competitive process to present at [Inside] the Ford. The 2010-11 season opens on October 30 with the world premiere of HYPERBOLE: origins, created by L.A.'s designer-based Rogue Artists Ensemble (Gogol Project, The Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch). On January 22, the Neo Ensemble Theatre (The White House Murder Case, Fortinbras), a company dedicated to the celebration of humor within the human condition, will present the Los Angeles premiere of the whimsically quirky Free by Barbara Lindsay. Closing out the season, Vs. Theatre Company (On an Average Day, Blackbird) will present the Los Angeles premiere of Tony-nominated Neil LaBute's shocking and darkly funny two character drama, The Mercy Seat.

The play series at [Inside] the Ford have been resounding critical and popular successes. "A big plus for the decade came from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, whose funding of various companies at [Inside] the Ford has given us some of the richest programming of the seasons," wrote Steven Leigh Morris in his LA Weekly "The Best of L.A. Theater in the '00s" column last December.

"The Arts Commission is proud to make possible exciting theater in a gorgeous space that both theater companies and patrons can afford," says Arts Commission executive director Laura Zucker.

With HYPERBOLE: origins, the award-winning Rogue Artists Ensemble creates a celebratory theatrical event that examines ancient and modern stories of origin. In this world premiere Hyper-theatrical show, myths and science collide with masks, puppets, music and cutting-edge technology to create an exhilarating experience. SEE the amazing Origin Machine and experience the fantastic Origin-torium! Witness a performance drawing from myth, science, humanity, and faith set to an eclectic soundtrack from around the world, including contributions from Josiah Wolf, The Very Best, Deerhoof, Oh No Ono, Max Tundra, The Ditty Bops and more. It's the birth of the universe - live on stage. (Rogue Artists Ensemble, October 30-December 12)

Barbara Lindsay's Free is full of humor, wonder, and a sense of extended possibility. Without the aid of mechanical devices, we can't defy gravity; we can only slip the bonds of earth in our imaginations. But no one seems to have told this to Marshall "Free" Gunther. Free is a floater. He has to work at keeping himself tethered to the ground. When Free decides he would rather be an apprentice motel maid than defy gravity for indifferent audiences, he finds that the gift he doesn't want has touched more lives than he realized. (Neo Ensemble Theatre, Los Angeles premiere, January 22-February 27)

Neil LaBute's The Mercy Seat is a scathing, trenchant, and caustically funny examination of opportunism and betrayal in the face of national tragedy. On September 12, 2001, Ben Harcourt finds himself in the downtown apartment of his boss and lover. His endlessly ringing cell phone haunts their conversation as Ben and Abby explore the choices now available to them that did not exist just a day ago. Will Ben let his family know he's alive? (Vs. Theatre Company, Los Angeles premiere, March 19-April 24)

[Inside] the Ford is located in the Ford Theatres complex at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood, CA 90068, just off the 101 Hollywood Freeway across from the Hollywood Bowl and south of Universal Studios. On-site, non-stacked parking is free. A season subscription for all three plays is $45. Single tickets to HYPERBOLE:origins, FREE, and The Mercy Seat are priced at $20 with a special price of $12 for full-time students with ID and senior citizens. For information and to purchase tickets go to the Ford Theatres Web site at or call 323-461-3673.