‘Emmitt & Ava’ A Tale of Love, Loss and Acceptance


Photo by Ed Krieger

“Emmitt & Ava” is a play written and directed by two-time Ovation winner Dominic Hoffman. The story is about two families, unacquainted with one another, who suddenly find themselves forced to communicate on the most intimate of terms.

When the play opens we meet an upper middle class white couple, Emma (Stephanie Schulz) and her husband, Wyatt (Tom Schanley). They have just returned home from their daughter’s funeral and are grieving their loss. The last thing they expect is a visit from a stranger that will change their lives forever.

Their visitor is a black man named Eban (Tucker Smallwood), who informs them that their daughter, Ava, was in a relationship with his son, Emmitt, who was driving  the car that took both their lives. The couple is shocked that their daughter never told them about her boyfriend, her black boyfriend. Eban, on the other hand, wants to know why the couple didn’t attend his son’s funeral, despite the fact that they didn’t know him. What follows is a ninety minute conversation about race, prejudice and coming to terms with what kind of person you truly are.

The play starts out very compelling. It’s funny, poignant and definitely makes you think, but then the dialogue becomes repetitious and things start to get bogged down. Luckily, Emmit’s brother, Evan (Harry Fowler), arrives halfway through and heats things back up.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to save the play. Despite the excellent acting, It suffers from over kill. It’s as if playwright Hoffman didn’t trust his audience to get the point he was trying to make in the first hour.

“Emmitt & Ava” is playing Thursday through Sunday at 8pm through June 18th at the Edgemare Center for the Arts located at 2437 Main Street #B, Santa Monica CA 90405 To purchase tickets go to brownpapertickets.com/event/2907900. Tickets ar $20-$35.

Joan Alperin

About Joan Alperin

Joan was born in Brooklyn and spent many years working as an actress in New York City. Even though she traveled extensively, Joan couldn't imagine living anywhere else.. Well one day, she met someone at a party who regaled her with stories about living in L. A. specifically Topanga Canyon. A few weeks later she found herself on an airplane bound for Los Angeles. Joan immediately fell in love with the town and has been living here for the last twenty years and yes, she even made it to Topanga Canyon, where she now resides, surrounded by nature, deer, owls and all kinds of extraordinary alien creatures.. Joan continued acting, but for the last several years (besides reviewing plays and film) she has been writing screenplays. Joan was married to a filmmaker who created the cult classic films, (way before she knew him) Faces of Death. As a result of his huge following, they created a funny movie review show entitled Two Jews on Film, where Joan and her husband, John would review movies and rate them with bagels You can see their reviews by going to youtube.com/twojewsonfilm. Although it's now only one Jew - Joan is occasionally joined by her beautiful Pekingnese and Japanese Chin.
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