Photos Courtesy of Ed Krieger
Family strife, the marriage of a kept man, a business deal gone bad, foreshadowing of the Second World War, an unrequited love triangle bereft of one of its lines, and murder/suicide: these are all just a few of the subjects addressed in Theatre 40’s latest production, The Manor.
A fictional account centering around one of Los Angeles’ most historically venerated families, playwright Katherine Bates takes us on a journey from mirth to misery in deference to the Doheny family as portrayed by the MacAlister family in the dramatized version in a tale of family strife.
Said legacy, a near living, breathing entity in unto itself, encompasses a heritage so texturally yet inadvertently woven into the tapestry that surrounds some of the most intriguing L.A. lore it is the stuff of historian-based and ghost hunter intrigue alike. (But more on that later!)
Set in the same house as the purported bygone events, The Greystone Manor in Beverly Hills serves as something of an nth character. And the experience itself is like no other. Imagine, if you will, (or if you won’t, it really doesn’t matter because I am going to describe it to you thusly) that you are the stagehands in a superlatively elaborate play, a dramedy that transpires on the great canvas of life rather than any wood and grease paint theatre.
Then, instead of changing sets by will and sleight of hand, you do so via your own two feet bringing scene changes to yourself or you to them, rather than observing black t-shirt clad continuity-breakers as they invade any given living room/bed room/vomitorium thereby almost breaking the fourth wall!