The Delightful Chaos of “The Reunion”

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[The Reunion, co-written and -directed by Darcy Halsey and Danny Parker, with the SpyAnts Theatre Company, The Howard Fine Theater, Hollywood.]

The term “full disclosure” is used when a reviewer has a personal connection someone related to a review, and in the case of Darcy Halsey, the co-director, -writer and a performer in the ingeniously crafted The Reunion at the Howard Fine Studio in Hollywood, I am happy to oblige. Halsey was one of five remarkable performers in Simon Levy’s Fountain Theatre production of What I Heard About Iraq, a show I was proud┬áto serve on as Media Consultant.

Halsey’s multiple characters and dialects were impressive enough during the five-month run of Iraq but with The Reunion, she, her partner in writing and directing crime Danny Parker and the SpyAnts Theatre Company have constructed an audience walk-through show that takes us to the ten-year reunion, ostensibly, of the Woodrow Wilson High Warriors, Class of ‘84. Halsey and Parker have exhaustively put together 57 scenes, totalling five hours and 25 actors. As with the former long-running hit Tamara, the audience chooses which characters to follow. The temptation to dart from a patio to a courtyard to an open door of a bathroom is great during the two- hour running time.

Among the revelations that the audience members may experience or hear about from fellow attendees: The born-again Christian girl who had her breasts photographed, photocopied and pasted up all over school. The doting husband who is reminded by a classmate of their homosexual fling. The football jock who may or may not have accidentally hit a teammate with his truck, crippling him for life. The reunon guest who blackmails a teacher into keeping silent about his attending The Reunion…with his mistress.

Full disclosure cannot be invoked in either this summary or one visit. Alas, The Reunion, subtitled Everything Changes, Everyone Stays the Same, which ran last year, must close August 4. Marvelously mind-boggling in its complexity, with lots of sordid revelations and hijinks, The Reunion deserves a long-term home. Halsey and Parker and their brilliant, scurrying SpyAnts, show not only great story sense from those three months of improvised scenes before script completion, but prove to be a large ensemble that is thoroughly talented, through and through. Go Warriors!

[Critical Moment: Hilarious, outlandish, complex, intricately crafted and a large yet very polished ensemble in a terrifically fun walk-through theatre experience.]

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