WORLD PREMIERE OF “FOR A REASON” AT DESERT ENSEMBLE THEATRE COMPANY PALM SPRINGS, CA

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By Jack Lyons Theatre and Film Critic. Member of American Theatre Critics Association

The world is filled with people that believe in capricious connections. They call these random meetings, depending on one’s culture and language, by different names: fate, kismet, destiny, bashert. But they all mean the same thing.   Let’s just settle for  ”it was meant to happen”.

What award-winning playwright and local resident Tony Padilla, wants his audiences to experience, understand, and feel in his latest play “For A Reason”, is that these encounters, although, they may appear to be random, are positive reasons as to why people actually do come into our lives.  We should embrace these encounters as new opportunities.

The short – it’s only an hour with no intermission – light comedy centers around Pablo Luna a wealthy sixty-five-year-old, irascible, irritating, grumbling, perfectionist who is always correct in his own mind,  is wonderfully played by cabaret star, Charles Herrera, in a rare non-singing role. Pablo suffers from a rare degenerative disease that requires him to have a live-in caretaker. Which accounts for his sour disposition and negative outlook on life.

His daughter-in-law Sandra (nicely and sympathetically portrayed by Leanna Rodgers) now widowed, is his attentive live-in caregiver.  But Sandra is anxious to move on with her own life.  She has decided to have Pablo interview candidates for the position of live-in caregivers for him. 

We, humans, are odd creatures comfortable in our ruts and detest change.  Pablo reluctantly agrees to interview candidates.  But he keeps rejecting them for the position saying they’re simply not compatible or suitable.  Pablo’s off-putting gruff personality is the real reason candidates say no to working for him. It’s not anything to do with the generous money offer.  It’s about not wanting to work or be around  Pablo one they meet him.

Sandra informs Pablo that the last candidate for the day, one Aaron Watson is waiting to be interviewed. A confident Mr. Watson (Shawn Abramowitz) enters Pablo’s lion’s den. The discussion/interview at first is a contentious verbal chess game.  Aaron challenges Pablo to look inward to himself on how to process information about Aaron.   Actually, Pablo warms to Aaron’s different and blunt approach on why and how he will perform his caregiver duties.  Like most successful businessmen it’s the give and take, and the rough and tumble discussions and encounters that turn them on.

Aaron, now working for Pablo is doing fine in their new Employee-Boss relationship.  When Pablo receives a visit from his former therapist Gisele, (the stunning show business celebrity Bonnie Gilgallon) who now has a different clientele list. Translation:  Gisele has transitioned from therapist to high-class call girl and she tests Aaron on his new relationship with Pablo.  When the two meet at Pablo’s for a welcome drink it’s like two champions playing for bragging rights.  They circle one another sizing each other up.  When neither champion gives way, the end game becomes a draw. Both Gisele and Aaron retreat, so to speak, to challenge one another perhaps another time. 

“For A Reason” is an entertaining play by a talented ensemble cast that is directed by Shawn Abramowitz, who had to step into the role of Aaron Watson a couple weeks before the play debuted.

In the technical department, the creative team led by director Abramowitz includes Scenic Designer Lauren Bright, Lighting Designer Ashton J. Bolanos, with Costumes designed by Frank Cazares, and Sound by Gus Sanchez, and Assistant Director and Stage Manager Sierra Barrick complete the creative team.

“For A Reason” performs on the Pearl McManus theatre stage of the Palm Springs Women’s Club on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, February 15, 16, and 17, 2019.  For ticket information go online to www.detctheatre@gmail.org.

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