Friday, March 13, 2009

LA Times Review of Bohemian Cowboy good!

Raymond deserves the spotlight once again in my blog with this beautiful review of Bohemian Cowboy in the Los Angeles Times. See link to LA Times on my blog list. Scroll down through several reviews of Culture Monster to find it!

Review: 'Bohemian Cowboy' at Elephant Lab Theater
2:00 PM, March 12, 2009
A cenotaph is a monument erected to a person whose remains are elsewhere. In his one-man show, “Bohemian Cowboy” at the Elephant Lab Theater, Raymond King Shurtz constructs a theatrical cenotaph to his father, Raymond Dean Shurtz, that is as loving as it is unstintingly candid.

In this case, a cenotaph must suffice as memorial. In November 2005, the elder Shurtz parked beside the road and wandered off into the Valley of Fire, a tractless desert some 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. He is presumed dead, but his remains have never been found. “Cowboy” charts Shurtz’s father’s final footsteps, and Shurtz’s own faltering journey toward acceptance.

Shurtz repeatedly refers to his father as a “disappearing specialist.” Cowboy, carpenter and gifted singer, Shurtz’s dad was also a hard-drinking roustabout whose best advice to his son was “Always have a good sleeping bag and a jacket” –- advice that, in the end, did not avail him. And although cancer and dwindling mental powers reduced his stories to a repetitive circularity in his final days, Shurtz was also a born storyteller who could spin a yarn with the best of them.

Like father like son. Tormented by a tale interrupted, the storyteller son, also a talented singer/guitarist, weaves a campfire ghost story with a Bergman-esque overlay. At times, Shurtz relies on specific reminiscences of Proustian exactitude. Most frequently, he ventures into a fantastic dreamscape, accompanied by such traveling companions as Jesus and Hamlet, who have their own lessons to impart.

Matt Maenpaa’s stark set and lighting and Mauricio Yazigi’s original music and sound evoke an Old West that exists only in memory. Under the sensitive direction of Kurt Brungardt, Shurtz’s drama functions as both intensely personal family legacy and surreal picaresque.

-- F. Kathleen Foley

“Bohemian Cowboy,” Elephant Lab Theater, 6324 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays. Ends March 21. (No performances March 13-14.) $15. (323) 960-7744. Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.


Nelishia said...

I am so happy for him.
All this pain and hard work is paying off.


Lori said...

That is so wonderful!! Congratulations to Raymond!!

Anonymous said...

I am happy for you & for him, G.
I am a fan of campfire ghost stories :-). Seems your son is sparking an inspiration bonfire. I am sure it took a lot of hard work and a lot of inner journeying.

Carlene Noggle said...

i am so happy that your son's play is geting such good reviews!!! I know this makes you so proud and happy fr him too!


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