...which is not a musical revue performed by polar bears.
The play is set partly in Cambodia, and partly in the mind of a boy named Max and in the pain of his father. One of the leads, Darrell Kunitomi (a friend of mine), who was raised in Echo Park and lives here still, describes the father's role as "one of the best parts for an Asian actor ever."
According to pre-premiere material:
Song of Extinction is the story of Max Forrestal, a musically gifted high school student who is going to fail biology if he doesn't complete a 20-page paper on extinction by Tuesday. But Max's mother is dying of cancer, and school is the last thing on his mind. His biologist father (Kunitomi), obsessed with saving a rare, threatened Bolivian insect, is incapable of dealing with his wife's impending death, or his son's distress. Max's teacher wants to offer him guidance; but helping his student pushes Khim Phan into a magical journey of his own - from the Cambodian fields of his youth into the undiscovered country beyond.
Cynthia Citron of CurtainUp described the after-curtain reaction to Song of Extinction:
After the actors had taken their bows and left the stage, the audience continued to sit in stunned silence. Nobody moved. Nobody spoke. It takes a pretty powerful play to generate that kind of response. A silence so profound as to be understood as an overwhelming tribute to an extraordinary production.
After Sunday, it's over, but far from extinct, I am sure.
It's at the Ford Theatre on Cahuenga. For ticket info, click.
Meanwhile, Darrell also is a flyfisherman of some accomplishment, and he writes beautifully about the no-kill sport for the L.A. Times.
Because I IMAGINE that my friend the stand-up comic has an evolved sense of humor, I take Chris Kuhn into fire-devastated Azusa Canyon.
Despite the sobering presence of burned-out cabins, itís easy to forget that two seasons ago the flow among some pools of the West Fork of the San Gabriel River completely ceased, that the Curve Fire raced the length of the North Fork to Crystal Lake and beyond. But it turns out that the North Fork is not a joke: On a 75-degree day around Christmas, knee-deep in water rushing past scorched granite, we pull out small rainbow trout.
Photo: Darrell Kunitomi and Lori Yeghiayan
By Jay Lawton/L.A. Times