Bakersfield Mist

Soul Searching 'Bakersfield Mist' in Beverly Hills through July 28

Diane Cary and John Mawson in “Bakersfield Mist” through July 28 at Beverly Hills Playhouse. Review by Michael Edwards

Bakersfield Mist at Beverly Hills Playhouse is classic “conversation piece theater”—two people, one issue, and 72 minutes of engaging, soul searching conflict...Amir Korangy’s fascinating production of playwright Stephen Sachs play brilliantly explores the subject of “value in art” and the perspective from which a person values a thing or person. Is one’s perspective defined by one’s class upbringing, education or something else not easily defined? Maude, an unemployed bartender living in a trailer park, invites New York art expert Lionel Percy to her home to verify the authenticity of what she believes to be an original Jackson Pollock painting. Maude acquired the painting at a thrift store as a kind of joke, but has since come to learn the painting, if original, could be worth millions. As Lionel and Maude engage in the verifying process of the painting, they also engage in verifying each other: low class meets high class as two individuals from different worlds challenge one another’s perception of “authentic.” So much so, that at times the truth about whether the painting is a Pollock or not almost becomes irrelevant (no spoilers here). Diane Cary’s Maude is a thoroughly designed character. The work is centered and dynamic. She grounds the production with organic behavior and sincere heart...John Mawson does an excellent job of embodying the superior Lionel Percy while at the same time revealing the man’s humanity and desperation. With a brilliant set and light design—simple but detailed -Korangy keeps our attention beautifully, maintaining a wonderful sense of movement between the two characters. Bakersfield Mist is an engaging and well done piece of theatre.

Visible Ink and the Beverly Hills Playhouse have announced a new production of Stephen Sachs’s critically-acclaimed comedy/drama, Bakersfield Mist, set for a limited nine-performance run at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. Under the direction of Amir Korangy, the cast will feature Diane Cary and John Mawson. "It’s exhilarating in the extreme when a play strikes rich on every conceivable level. Such is the case with Stephen Sachs’ Bakersfield Mist. A wry two-hander that handles highbrow artistic issues while zinging in plenty of uproarious one-liners. A perfect marriage of emotion and ideas that is rare indeed,” Los Angeles Times.

Diane Cary recently played the lead in the West Coast premiere of Nicky Silver's Too Much Sun at the Odyssey Theatre. Other LA theatre credits include leading roles in the world premiere productions of Song for a Nisei Fisherman, Standing on My Knees, Pineapple White, Von Lutz, The Snake Can, Dinner at Home Between Deaths, and in the West Coast premieres of Love and Whispers and Win/Lose/Draw. Television credits include V: The Final Battle, Misfits of Science, Ugly Betty, Cold Case, The Starter Wife, Tales from the Crypt, Dark Skies, Defying Gravity, and L.A. Law. Feature credits include Kantemir, Heart Condition, Strawberry Road, and the Academy Award-nominated El Norte.

John Mawson is a British actor, writer, and producer based in LA. has appeared on stage in the UK including at the Edinburgh Festival, in London at The Old Vic, The Duchess, New Players Theatre, and in many UK tours. LA theatre credits include Rope, The Game's Afoot, The Vortex, and The Secret of Sherlock Holmes (also at the Duchess Theatre in London). UK theatre credits include Inherit the Wind, Undiscovered Country, The Tempest, The Comedy of Errors, Henry V, Twelfth Night, Present Laughter, The Seagull, and Uncle Vanya. Film credits include The Last Seven, 6 Years, 4 Months & 23 Days, Green Fever, Rehearsal, and The Master. On TV and the web: Casual, Outlander, Castle, Criminal Minds, Rake, The West Wing Reunion, and Masters of the House. www.johnmawson.com

Amir Korangy is a director, actor, and educator in the UK and US. He has been a visiting professor at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, E 15 Acting School, University of Essex, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, and The School of Science of Acting. Directing credits include The Homecoming, The Dumb Waiter, Betrayal, A Taste of Honey, Vanities, The Crucible, The American Clock, After the Fall, 'Tis Pity She's, The Miser, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Rimers of Eldritch, Fifth of July, A Lie of the Mind, Suddenly Last Summer, Night of the Iguana, Orpheus Descending, Awake and Sing, Paradise Lost, Top Girls, Skylight, Eastern Standard, and Our Country's Good, among many others. Screen acting credits include Breath of Life for Channel Four UK, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mom, Shameless, Grey's Anatomy, Dead to Me, and currently NBC's Superstore.

Diane Cary
John Mawson
Amir Korangy

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