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Weekend Review: “Headshots”

By Courtney Powell

Feb. 24, 2008 9:02 p.m.

“Headshots” gives new meaning to the word “head-cases.” The show follows 10 individuals with 10 very different pasts who enter into a photographer’s studio in Los Angeles with the hopes of getting their headshots taken. However before any of them can even strike a pose though, their life stories begin to spill out of them with fervor.

First there’s Donna, the sweetly naïve dancer whose too-tight tube top and belief that her headshots will put her “one step away from being famous” make you roll your eyes and shake your head with superiority.

There’s also the lovable, cherub-cheeked man named Clyde who tells the photographer that he’s worked for a carpenter for over 20 years and is just now realizing his desire to act.

It continues in this fashion, one character after another, each leaving the audience with a different emotion.

It’s hard not to feel hatred for Lisa, the spoiled brat who orders her boyfriend around like a disobedient dog.

The hatred flips to empathy when you meet the character Smokey Jay who swallows her tears as she tells the photographer that she used to be a famous jazz singer until she found her husband in bed with her drummer. The next character, Johnny Max, appears almost faultless at first glance until the audience discovers the dreams he’s given up in order to make the woman he loves happy.

The most memorable performance by far was of “The L,” the poet played by UCLA alum, Matthew Harris. The L’s recitation of his original poem, “Love’s Toothbrush,” had me laughing to the point of tears.

The fact that he accompanied himself on the bongo and ended the poem with the lines “Two girls,” drum beat, “One cup” should alone convince some to take the trip to Hollywood.

While it’s usually not enjoyable to have your emotions jump and dive so drastically in the span of one hour, at “Headshots” it just means that you’ve come to a good show.

Not only does it make you feel so strongly for these people you only meet for about five minutes, it makes you think ““ whether you want to or not.

The only similarity between these 10 very different characters is the desperation they have for someone to know the pain and struggles they’ve been through.

Do they hope that the photos will help them further a career or are they just searching for a witness to their lives?

Whatever the reason, these characters’ stories leave a lasting image.

““ Courtney Powell

E-mail Powell at [email protected]

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Courtney Powell
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