The Pittsburgh Public Theater and Ted Pappas kept theater goers of Pittsburgh brimming with excitement at the world premier of Ed Dixon’s L’Hotel, a comedy that touches on the after life of 7 misplaced souls, seemingly stuck in a Paris hotel, which turns out to be a cemetery.
The roller coaster of banter between the well-accomplished and maladjusted roommates takes the audience on a humorous, yet introspective journey.
Although for the guests of L’Hotel, this may or may not be the end.
The Guests of L’Hotel
Victor Hugo, poet and arguably France’s most prolific writer. Best known for Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Played by Sam Tsoutsouvas, he gives life to the cantankerous writer, living through the angst and anger that spilled out of Hugo’s being. Lacing sentences with a gluttonous and eloquently verbose vocabulary, he smites all that cross his path, but ultimately regrets his existence. Despite his accomplishments, he gives in to the folly and fodder of his counterparts. Tsoutsouvas delivers a masterful performance.
Oscar Wilde, an Irish Playwright and Poet, best known for his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Played by Brent Harris, Wilde commands the stage with his outwardly flamboyant personality, speech, and thought process. A natural enemy of Victor Hugo, the two exchange viper-like insults, chipping away at each one’s literary accomplishments.
Harris grips the stage with an electrically emotional performance, as Wilde struggles most with the loss of his lover and largest supporter, Lord Alfred Douglas, better known as ‘Bosie’.
Wilde’s role is the most protagonistic and pragmatic, as he toils through himself, searching for solace and not relenting on his path of discovery. A brilliantly articulate embodiment of character familiarity by Harris. One for the ages.
Isadora Duncan, an American dancer that removed herself from American culture at the age of 22, and was exiled from the US for her pro-soviet views. Not only was her dance career famous, but so was her death. She met her maker by way of scarf, after it became entangled in a wheel during a drive through the country side in Nice, France.
Kati Brazda does a phenomenal job at displaying Duncan’s overtly exaggerated essence, and her need to relive the glory days, as if she hasn’t finished something more grand in her life. She is fundamentally flawed in her thinking, but completely comfortable within her wheelhouse of anarchy.
Gioachino Rossini, an Italian composer, one of the most popular in history. Played by Tony Triano, Rossini waddles through his existence at L’Hotel in complete denial of death, bad words, or negativity. A virtual pin cushion for the rest of the crew, Triano executes a picture perfect depiction of a man who sees the negativity in the world, but chooses a half-full glass. Lucid when provoked, he retires idiocy only by choice and between meals.
Jim Morrison, an American singer, poet, and front man of super group, The Doors. Played by Daniel Hartley, the reprise of Morrison is spot on. A wanderer, rebel, and perhaps the best lover in the world (according to him). Morrison spreads a morose sense of entitlement and hopelessness wrapped up in a destructive sense of cool. A sense that perhaps led to his demise in the natural world.
Wrought with the haunting imagery of being exposed as a fraud, he continues down a hellbent journey of drinking, smoking, and sexual misadventures, wondering if his success was even success at all. Hartley delivers Morrison in a big way. Unfiltered and relevant.
Sarah Bernhardt, a French stage actress who was simply known as “The Most Famous Actress The World Has Ever Known”. Played by Deanna Lorette, Bernhardt’s hubris and flair for the dramatic are seamlessly extracted by Lorette, showing a hardened actress tripping over the glory days of her wealth and adoring fans.
Hungry for the spotlight, but destitute in spirit, she lusts for attention. Her earthly ascent into mega-stardom has been halted by death. Obviously annoyed by the unpleasant turn of events, she’ll stop at nothing to get out of this God-forsaken place called anonymity.
The Waiter. A servant to the stars. Habitually late, even in death. Played by Evan Zes, the waiter is naturally understated throughout the play, but wields the most power, showing vulnerability through his flaws and finding a cathartic release through the acceptance of his true self. Much like Wilde, they are destined for self-enlightenment and ultimate deliverance.
Zes brings life and humor to his character, gently wooing the audience with an outwardly introverted sense of humor and sarcasm.
Overall, L’Hotel is a well crafted and executed play. It delivers a plethora of wit, charm, and depth that should not be missed.
L’Hotel runs until December 14th. Visit PPT.ORG for ticket information.
And remember, the “H” is silent.