Reviews

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Stripped to its barest theme, Bloodbound is a play of brotherly love, both sacred and profane. Young Vincent (Josh Allen Goldman) and his older brother Young Anthony (Matthew Dunlop) grew up in a fatherless home with an overbearing and no boundaries Mommie. Anthony was always getting in trouble with the law and spending time behind bars. Finally, after killing a man with a baseball bat, he is sentenced to life imprisonment. Playwright Vincent (Dean Howell) struggles with trying to come to grips with his and his brother’s tortured past relationship and their current one. He struggles to write a play about it to exorcise his and Anthony’s demons. Anthony Shaw (Gordon Thomson) is looking for redemption, from the ghost of his victim, from his victim’s brother, from his brother, from God. It’s a mesmerizing piece of poetic writing that grips you from beginning to end, involving you emotionally in the lives of these young men and the older men they have become. Mark Bringelson has done a masterful job of directing his quartet of actors and with the barest of staging, created unforgettable tableaux. All four actors are marvelous, each fitting into the other as perfectly as Lego pieces. Lose one and the whole structure collapses. Not here under the guidance of Kearns and Bringelson.

Stripped to its barest theme, Bloodbound is a play of brotherly love, both sacred and profane. Young Vincent (Josh Allen Goldman) and his older brother Young Anthony (Matthew Dunlop) grew up in a fatherless home with an overbearing and no boundaries Mommie. Anthony was always getting in trouble with the law and spending time behind bars. Finally, after killing a man with a baseball bat, he is sentenced to life imprisonment. Playwright Vincent (Dean Howell) struggles with trying to come to grips with his and his brother’s tortured past relationship and their current one. He struggles to write a play about it to exorcise his and Anthony’s demons. Anthony Shaw (Gordon Thomson) is looking for redemption, from the ghost of his victim, from his victim’s brother, from his brother, from God. It’s a mesmerizing piece of poetic writing that grips you from beginning to end, involving you emotionally in the lives of these young men and the older men they have become. Mark Bringelson has done a masterful job of directing his quartet of actors and with the barest of staging, created unforgettable tableaux. All four actors are marvelous, each fitting into the other as perfectly as Lego pieces. Lose one and the whole structure collapses. Not here under the guidance of Kearns and Bringelson.

 

June 15, 2018:

Reviewed by Rob Stevens

BLOODBOUND:
Intense, Intimate, Dark, Sensual.
Highly Recommended.

 

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move, reviewed June 1, 2018

 

Dark and sensual, Los Angeles artist-activist Michael Kearns’ 75 minute, one-act, memory play, Bloodbound, currently showing at The Blank/2nd Stage Theatre, is an epithet to ‘brotherly’ love.  Deeply poetic, forbidden, distorted, it tracks the lives of two brothers, Anthony and Vincent, linked by crossed childhood sexual boundaries, familial implosion, mental illness and incarceration.

 

Bloodbound is an unlikely love story that pits the freedom to love against overpowering odds through the internal and external conflicts of brothers who are divided by a cavernous distance they cannot wrap their own understanding around.  Anthony and Vincent are seemingly fastened only by ‘blood’ and yet, harbor an inexplicable desire to cohere themselves emotionally, mentally and physically.  To love.

 

Kearns has developed a uniquely descriptive, empathetic story. Bloodbound is a profound, committed journey. The writing intense and intimate, distinctly characterized by a precise use of language and device… two actors inhabiting each brother role, the younger and the older versions, intercutting their often skewed memories.

 

Creatively directed by Mark Bringleson. Gorgeous performances by Mathew Dunlop, Josh Allen Goldman, Dean Howell and Gordon Thomson. Beautiful stage craft with lighting by Brandon Baruch and sound design by Christoper Moscatiello.

 

Highly Recommended

 

WHAT I LIKED

The writing is intense and intimate, distinctly characterized by a precise use of language and device. Beautiful stage craft, lighting and sound design.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

Nothing.

MY OVERALL IMPRESSION

Highly Recommended.

Kearns has developed a uniquely descriptive, empathetic story.
Bloodbound is a profound, committed journey

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MUST SEE!! FRINGE AT ITS BEST!! TALENT ALL AROUND! SMART!

 

WHAT I LIKED

Everything. 4 Great Actors Mathew Dunlop, Josh Allen Goldman, Dean Howell and Gordon Thomson each take the ball and pass it around the stage effortlessly. Sexy, Smart, Sophisticated Talent.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

More audience! Get out and see it!

MY OVERALL IMPRESSION

This is a Night Out at The Theater. Superbly written. Brilliant Direction and Incredible Performance by all 4 actors. 99 Seat Theater in Los Angeles is a alive and well and thriving in a play called “BLOODBOUND” It’s quite an extraordinary story and as usual playwright Kearns makes you twist and turn in your seat, you will love the ride. Each actor delivers his words as if it was truly their story, all brought together on a small stage by Bringelson’s smart and inventive direction. It is a reminder we do have great theater in Los Angeles. I’ve seen it twice. BRAVO!!!

Steve Tyler, June 2, 2018

"Michael Kearns is quite rightfully considered one of the city's great playwrights, and indeed the godfather of LGBT theater.  No one writes a play like him."

Paul Birchall, Stage Raw

"Dear Michael,

     ’Bloodbound’ is remarkable. I feel enormously privileged to have seen this transcendent work: about love and loss, giving and receiving, the wounds of childhood, the unaccountable land of memory, the power of touch, the need for touch, the blood and the ties that bind — that fetter and wrap, compel and engage, shackle and connect, with blood, with words, with tears. The utter strangeness of this business of being human, the horror and wonder of it. To hurt and to soar. To live and to be mortal and die. To love, and grieve, and love beyond death. The power of art, of theatre, to tell these truths, these stories. 

     I floated home in my car, windows open, heart open, the sunset sky of pastel blues and pinks spread around me, in glory. First-rate cast and production, doing justice to your script.”

— Michelle Gubbay, after the ‘Bloodbound’ opening at Highways

 

     Not all agree with my friend Michelle who wrote those gorgeous words within hours of seeing the play.

     More than ever, I feel bound to the theatre, to my brother, to my daughter. And I feel bound to those of you who believe in me in spite of — or, in some cases, perhaps because of — my unorthodox ways. 

     I feel bound to this art. 

     My dear friend, Caroline Kava asked me (immediately after seeing the play),"How did you learn to do that? Write like that?"

     I had to think. We were on the freeway, driving back to Los Feliz. "When I was a kid, I remember going to the library and finding plays — O'Neill, Williams, Inge — and devouring them. I went to see ‘Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ the day it opened in St. Louis even though I was underage. 

     “The teachers, the mentors, even some lovers along the way, instilled mandates like discipline and stamina."

     Then there was a long pause. Still on the freeway, I finally had the answer: 

     "Work," I said to Caroline. "I learned to work."

     I hope that you'll come see my work.

— Michael Kearns, Playwright

Michael Kearns’ Bloodbound: …as a new contribution from an important LGBT luminary, it is worthy of attention…What comes through at Highways is the unmistakable voice of a playwright who has something important to say Bloodbound feels like his most honest play to date, a work that is all the more intimate for being so public.  He makes us into confidants, not spectators, and makes the experience into something that feels almost sacred... Kearns’ material has always been edgy and provocative. His candid self-expression brings power to the play.”

— John Paul King, LA Blade