We Got Lucky!
by Greg Barraza
As I made a right on to Gardner Street off of Sunset Boulevard, I thought that I must be going in the wrong direction. I passed a small alley, slowing my speed because I thought that my navigator was taking me on the wrong path; I was just about to start cussing at the new Iphone IOS version I updated when I found The Working Stage Theater. My frustration turned to curiosity and excitement because I didn’t have a clue about the play I was about to see: “We Got Lucky”. Written, directed, and starring Allen C. Gardner (no relation to the street address), my curiosity and excitement were perfectly satisfied with the enjoyment of a masterfully, intimate performance.
“We Got Lucky” is a play about two best friends, Brad and Aaron, who live the bachelor lifestyle in Los Angeles. Aaron, played by Matthew Gilliam, is an unapologetic womanizer and alcoholic, who has a tremendous fear of commitment; in fact, the only thing he is committed to is his friendship with Brad. Aaron is boisterous and crass at times, but this works extremely well because it is his overt carelessness that gives him his “charm.” Gardner does a great job of creating empathy for Aaron, and Gilliam portrays the character perfectly. He carries a wry smile throughout the play that tells the audience, “Yes! I am an a–hole! But don’t you love me?” He seems modeled after that one friend we all have or have had. That one friend where at one point we just wanted to shake them and say “grow up!” The audience wants to hate Aaron for his imperfections, but we just can’t, just as we can’t ever hate the Aaron in our lives. But at the same time, we keep hoping the next job works out or the next girlfriend stabilizes him.
Although Brad, played by Allen C. Garner, comes off as a more serious person with more concrete aspirations, Brad’s personality does not differ much from Aaron’s. This is what makes them best friends and what makes the play work so well! While Aaron is not shy about his womanizing and alcoholism, Brad likes to keep those idiosyncrasies low key, but Brad is equally womanizing and enjoys the taste of alcohol equally. There is this doppelganger theme running through the play; it is a fine line but the characters make it work. The most interesting movement within the play is the transition of empathy and sympathy from one character to the other. In other words, we begin the play “siding” with Brad because he comes off as the responsible one, but as the play progresses, Aaron earns our feelings; then, the play ends with both characters earning our sympathies.
The play spans nine years within fourteen scenes, giving the audience a quick glimpse of the character’s life at that point in time. This fast paced movement keeps the plot moving and keeps the audience interested in the character’s lives. Each scene gives the audience exactly what it needs to know—nothing more, nothing less. This method works because we are given a story about two young men; we are given a story about a sincere friendship. The quickness of the plot does not allow the audience to become over-saturated with information, but allows the audience to want to see the next scene. Also, the movement of the play is so well done, the audience feels as if they are watching the characters grow as individuals; we are granted a perspective into these two bachelor’s lives without feeling we have seen this story before. As the character’s mature, the inclusion of the “real” girlfriends into lives of Brad and Aaron begin quickly, but it is clear to the audience that Jessica (played by Kirstin Ford), Brad’s girlfriend, and Shannon (played by Kelly Whitaker), Aaron’s girlfriend, become important to the plot. Each scene lasts about 3-4 minutes, and Gardner gives us just enough information to keep our interest going to the bitter end. Each scene revolves how the boys are either going out to party, hooking up with a woman, or having a beer or shot. This continues until Aaron realizes that his alcoholism is his major flaw and grows up, if you will. At this point, the play take a serious turn, and the audience and the boys have to realize that life is much more than booze and babes.
“We Got Lucky” is the perfect way to enjoy an evening. I highly recommend taking in this well performed, well written play. It will be running from October 4 through November 3 at:
The Working Stage Theater | 1516 North Gardner Street | West Hollywood; all performances begin at 8pm.
Thanks to Philip Sokoloff, PR.
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Brad and Aaron are two best buds, twenty-somethings with some common interests (namely women, beer, women, whiskey, women, partying, women and the beach). Aaron’s the party-hearty one, with a gift for making people welcome while he celebrates the moment. Brad has more serious aspirations. While he also loves to party, he has goals as an independent filmmaker.
They’re living the Southern California dream. Whatever happens, they’re always there for each other. Sounds like the perfect bromance, right? Well, hold on. As time goes by, they grow up a bit. Each meets a particular woman who causes them to question how they conduct their lives. Adult love changes everything.
Then, other unexpected events will overtake them that will alter their destinies forever.
“We Got Lucky” is not the first time there’s been a story of wild males confronting the demands of adulthood (Think of Shakespeare’s Prince Hal). But “We Got Lucky” is a unique look at how young men live and cope in the 21st Century.
Allen C. Gardner is the writer-director. His previous plays include “Gonnabes” and “Dudes Do Stuff.” He has written multiple feature films, including “Being Awesome” (which he also directed), “Act One” (Memphis Indie Film Festival winner) and “Daylight Fades” (Vampire Film Festival winner and Darrell Award winner for writing).
Gardner’s cast for “We Got Lucky” includes Gabe Arredondo, Kirstin Ford, Matthew Gilliam, Drew Paslay, Melanie Reif, Kelly Whitaker, and himself.
“We got lucky,” claim Brad and Aaron. Will you? See “We Got Lucky” and discover for yourself.