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Bloodbound, a new play by Los Angeles theatre luminary Michael Kearns, reemerges at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, opening on Thursday, May 31, after a successful premiere engagement at Highways Performance Space. Kearns’ provocative play, running for seven performances only, continues at the 2nd Stage/Blank Theatre through June 13, with
Mark Bringelson directing, and Moon Mile Run, Kirk Frederick, and Benjamin Scuglia producing. Prior to the Highways run, Bloodbound had gained traction in two workshop productions at the Skylight Theatre Company where Kearns is an Artistic Associate. 


Bloodbound’s themes pit the freedom to love against overpowering odds: familial implosion, interminable and unjustified incarceration, distorted sexual childhood boundaries, and roller coaster rides of mental illnesses which haunt the Shaw family. 


To authentically dramatize the familial journey, two actors inhabit each brother role, the younger and the older versions, intercutting their often skewed memories. Kearns’ 75-minute one-act play tracks their lives as the misfit siblings determinedly cement their love in spite of the gnarled realities they cannot avoid confronting. By recreating their past — reliving critical, contradictory, and conflicting moments — the impending fear of their imminent deaths, whether in a hospital bed or a prison cell — quell as they tackle the ineluctable end with the ultimate taboo: erotically charged sensuality. 


The four-man ensemble features Gordon Thomson as Anthony Shaw, the incarcerated older brother. Canadian-born Thomson may be best known for his role as the villainous but dashing Adam Carrington on ABC’s Dynasty, from 1981 through 1989, a role that earned him a Golden Globe nomination in 1988. In addition to his extensive work in movies and television, Thomson has had an impressive, varied career in live theater spanning over five decades, ranging from Shakespeare and Chekov to Moliere and Maugham.


Dean Howell plays the role of Vincent, the younger of the two brothers, pointing to a number of theatrical collaborations he has shared with Kearns as director and Howell as lead actor: Clark Carlton’s Self-Help, Robert Chesley’s Jerker, and Kearns’ complications, which Howell retitled Nine Lives and transformed into an award-winning indie which he directed, featuring himself, Kearns, and Dennis Christopher in the cast. 


The brothers as boys are played by Mathew Dunlop and Josh Allen Goldman in the Hollywood Fringe Festival iteration.


In June of 2017, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell were among the city officials who cited Kearns with a Trailblazer Award, acknowledging more than four decades of accomplished art and activism, encompassing innumerable theatrical presentations and a number of organizations he founded. 


Kearns’ trailblazing reputation includes many firsts. He came out in the mid-Seventies, officially making him “Hollywood's first openly gay actor” with one foot in the mainstream industry and the other in the alternative art world. In 1991, he revealed his HIV-positive status on Entertainment Tonight, and a few years later, he was the first HIV-positive, single, gay man to adopt. 


His current affiliations confirm Kearns’ ties to the community, and involve issues beyond the bubble: Artistic Associate at Skylight Theatre, Artistic Director of QueerWise, founder of “Michael Kearns & Other Outies,” Artist-in-Residence at Housing Works, and the Administrator of STUDIOMKLA where he teaches small and private writing sessions. 



Bloodbound plays at the 2nd Stage/Blank Theatre,
6500 Santa Monica Blvd. at Wilcox,
Hollywood 90038,
as part of the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival.




Performance schedule:

Thursday, May 31, 10:00pm
Friday, June 1, 10:00pm
Saturday, June 2, 8:00pm
Sunday, June 3, 8:00pm
Tuesday, June 5, 8:00pm
Tuesday, June 12, 8:00pm
Wednesday, June 13, 10:00pm


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