Family ties ripple through ‘Effects’ at Renegade Theatre

Review by John K. Adams

Effects, a duo of stellar one-act plays at the Renegade Theatre, explores family ties, loss and “discovery after the fact” from complementary perspectives.

In the first play, “The Bluff,” three Jacks and a Jill share a poker game, memories and grief for the dead woman who was a lover to each of them.

It is only their mutual relationship with their lover that brings these four together. Over the course of their conversation each character comes to “know what they didn’t know” about this complex woman. A fuller picture of her forms for us too, as the characters selectively share their puzzle pieces. And curiously, through her and despite her, they coalesce into a family of sorts.

In “To Mom,” three siblings gather after their mother’s funeral to pack up her knick-knacks, and unpack their long suppressed emotions about her and each other.

The two sisters and brother take turns airing each unique experience of a mother, barely recognizable to the others. While groping toward closure, their memories, resentments and old wounds expose what pulls these siblings apart and binds them together; their vulnerability and armor; who was present and who makes excuses.

The writing and direction of each play reveals an amazing development of character and emotion with economy and style. When done right, one-acts are like polished jewels. These plays and their performers all shine.

Effects is staged through May 1st at the Renegade Theatre located at 1514 N. Gardner St. in Los Angeles.

Tickets are available  through

This review was originally published in the Tolucan Times on April 7th, 2016.

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