“King Kong” parody by Hollins student, staged last year at Studio Roanoke, a big smash with L.A. critics
Co-worker and fellow stage person Dwayne Yancey tipped me off to this L.A. Times review of Hollins Playwright Lab student Adam Hahn’s “Kong: A Goddamn Thirty-Foot Gorilla,” which has opened at Skypilot Theatre Company in Los Angeles. The play was performed as a staged reading in Summer 2011 at now-defunct Studio Roanoke as part of its Guerilla Playhouse series. (Full disclosure: yours truly portrayed villain Carl Denham in that version.) —MikeA
Skypilot Theatre Company’s “Kong: A Goddamn Thirty-Foot Gorilla” sets its satirical aircraft targeting system on a rather sizable object. Managing it on a small stage with an even smaller budget is all part of the fun in Adam Hahn’s affectionate new parody of the iconic 1933 big screen version of “King Kong.”
Director Jaime Robledo deserves enormous (sorry) credit for turning an essentially high-concept comedy sketch into an often hilarious full-length high-camp romp. Applying the same kind of visual ingenuity that distinguished Robledo’s long-running “Watson” at Sacred Fools Theater, his staging evokes shifting 3-D perspectives through trompe l’œil sets and, in a pinch, miniature dioramas to re-create the film’s action sequences.
Audience participation is actively encouraged at various points, including an ingenious low-tech way for all to join the climactic aerial assault on Kong (Germaine De Leone, loping about in a costume bearing unabashedly minimal resemblance to an ape suit, and brushing aside toy airplanes and toy artillery as if they were toys).
Nuanced performances are not exactly the highest priority here, but Sara Kubida’s impeccable comic timing connects the latent psychological dots in Ann Darrow, the oft-screaming blond starlet at the heart of the story’s interspecies love triangle. In a wry post-feminist spin, she confesses deep affection for Kong because “he never made me feel small.”