Multi-talented playwright Alessandro Camon poses intriguing questions in this, his latest fascinating foray into questions of life, death, and what happens in between. Celebrated as an author for both stage and screen, Camon has received multiple awards for his writing and will soon enter the ranks of director. With a degree in Philosophy from the University of Padua (Italy) and an M.A. in film from UCLA, Camon has also published several books and articles on film and culture – in both English and Italian. Directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky, Camon’s SCINTILLA is currently being produced at the Road Theatre in North Hollywood.
Krishna Smitha, Taylor Gilbert, David Gianopoulos, Kris Frost, and Carlos LaCamara – Photo by Peggy McCartha
Michael (Kris Frost) and his girlfriend Nora (Krishna Smitha) are on their way to visit Michael’s mother in California wine country. Widowed mom Marianne (Taylor Gilbert) is a reclusive and undeniably unusual woman, an artist with – as it turns out – lots and lots and secrets. But there is more to this tale. A wildfire is raging in the area – a wildfire which is coming closer and closer to Marianne’s rural home. And yet Marianne refuses to leave even though evacuation orders may be imminent. Upon Michael and Nora’s arrival, they find that Marianne is not alone. In her rustic cabin are Stanley (David Gianopoulos) a Viet Nam vet and former lover, and Roberto (Carlos Lacamara), a homeless former firefighter who just happens to pop up bruised and bloody. Soon the wine-loving residents of Marianne’s household must come to grips with their history of trauma and loss, compounded by crises happening all around them moment by moment.
Carlos LaCamara and Taylor Gilbert – Photo by Peggy McCartha
Director Tobolowsky does a superb job of building up the tension in almost imperceptible stages as the talented cast begin to face things they have chosen to ignore for far too long. What caused the schism between mother and son which seems to fester and grow with time? What role has Michael’s father played in the drama? What secrets has Stanley buried under his apparent conspiracy theories? Where does Nora fit into the family dynamic? Why has Roberto been beaten? And, finally, the biggest question of all? What is Marianne hiding?
David Gianopoulos, Krishna Smitha, and Taylor Gilbert – Photo by Peggy McCartha
SCINTILLA is a well-crafted play which gives the uber-talented cast opportunities to shine. To add to the excellent presentation, the production crew does a superb job of setting the stage with set design by Stephen Gifford, sound design by Christopher Moscatiello, lighting design by Derrick McDaniel, and costume design by Jenna Bergstraesser, Projection designer Ben Rock does an memorable job of adding movement, excitement, and lots of heat to the happenings, as does Mark Jackson for his SCINTILLA artwork. SCINTILLA is highly recommended, and it will certainly open up some very powerful and absorbing considerations.
Kris Frost, Taylor Gilbert, David Gianopoulos, and Krishna Smitha – Photo by Peggy McCartha
SCINTILLA runs through June 4, 2023, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Road Theatre Company performs at the NoHo Senior Arts Colony, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA. Tickets are $39 (students and seniors $15; Sunday performances Pay-What-You-Can; special group rates for 8+). For information and reservations, call 818-761-8838 or go online.