World premiere ‘Cult of Love,’ final installment in Leslye Headland’s ‘Seven Deadly Plays’ cycle, concludes 10th anniversary IAMA season
LOS ANGELES (April 18, 2018) — IAMA concludes its 10th anniversary season with the final installment of Leslye Headland’s viciously funny “Seven Deadly Plays” cycle: a black comedy that explores the sin of “pride.” Annie Tippe directs the world premiere of Cult of Love, a powerful look at one family's feverish clash over who is right — and who is crazy. Previews begin May 18, with the press opening scheduled for Thursday, May 24. Performances will continue through June 24 at Atwater Village Theatre.
In Cult of Love, the Dahl family has gathered to celebrate Christmas in their rural Connecticut home. Raised as strict Christians and overachievers, the four adult children (along with their partners) have grown into varying degrees of belief and success. Their initially joyful reunion quickly reveals an American family riddled with competition, xenophobia and mental illness.
“I wrote this play seven years after the first six in the series, so it’s very different from the others,” explains Headland. “The play tackles being raised in a religious home and how that affects us in adulthood. Pride is the sin that most people don’t think they have, but are most guilty of. Anyone convinced that they know the ‘answer,’ that they are right and everyone else is wrong, is guilty of pride.”
According to Tippe, Cult of Love is an intimate portrait of a closely-knit family forced to confront their differences as the children grow apart from their parents, their religion and one another.
“When difficult conversations and conflict are avoided in the name of love, resentments are left to fester,” she says. “This play offers a hard look at how love unattended can become toxic. Yet it’s obvious that Leslye loves these characters deeply. Their interaction is as incredibly funny and joyful as it is harrowing.”
Each of the “deadly” plays reframes an ancient sin in the context of contemporary culture. The first six, all produced and premiered by IAMA, include Cinephilia (“lust”), in which two cinephiles cling to their obsessions with film and sex as a way to validate their relationship; Bachelorette (“gluttony”), a wicked black comedy about female friendship and growing up in an age of excess; Surfer Girl (“sloth”), one woman's haunting recount of her transient voyager lifestyle, from one idolized couch to the next; Assistance (“greed”), a biting, high-octane satire about our attraction to power and what we’re willing to sacrifice to stay in its orbit; Reverb (“wrath”), in which history threatens to repeat itself as troubled lovers purge mutual pain by inflicting it on each other; and The Accidental Blonde (“envy”), a disturbingly humorous look at jealousy, work and success in the cyber-stalking generation. A film adaptation of Bachelorette, written and directed by Headland, starred Kirsten Dunst and Rebel Wilson and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival
The Cult of Love acting ensemble includes Tom Amandes, Laila Ayad, Christian Durso, Tina Huang, John Lavelle, Graham Sibley, Melissa Stephens, Sarah Utterback, Keliher Walsh and Christine Woods. Set design is by Jeffrey McLaughlin; lighting design is by Josh Epstein; sound design is by Christopher Moscatiello; costume design is by Melissa Trn; props are by Michael O’Hara; and the musical director is Anthony Lucca. The stage manager is Sarah Dawn Lowry, and Amy Rosoff Davis and Tom DeTrinis produce for IAMA Theatre Company.
Cult of Love opens on Thursday, May 24 at 8 p.m., with performances thereafter taking place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. through June 24. Three preview performances take place May 18 through May 20 on the same schedule. All tickets are $35, except May 24 (opening night) for which tickets are $40 and include a post performance reception, and previews, which are $20. Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. Parking is free in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater. For reservations and information, call 323-380-8843or go to www.iamatheatre.com