RETURNS TO L.A.
LOS ANGELES-- DOG MOUTH, John Steppling's first play to be performed
locally in ten years, is a stark, quirky but uncompromising look at our
dog-eat-dog world. Set beside a strip of railroad track in two places
which resemble each other (the California desert and the outskirts of
Phoenix), the play (directed by Steppling) deals with four hoboes: Dog
Mouth (Stephen Davies), Nyah (Nia Gwynne), Becker (James Storm) and Weeks
(Hugh Dane). Dog Mouth, so named because of his past success in breeding
fighting canines, and Becker are ex-Vietnam vets, blasted men with violence
and anger leaking out of every pore. Nyah is Dog Mouth's 22-year- old
naive but ever-hopeful girlfriend, who is very much with child. Weeks
is another dog-handler, the current big man on the pitbull circuit. Dog
Mouth would like to challenge him, but he's dying of cancer. Death figures
strongly in this tough, profane and powerful meditation on mortality.
Steppling emphasizes language over story; aria over dialogue, but he knows
how to give his work shape and intensity. He's also well served by his
actors, whose fine-meshed ensemble work provides glimpses of the humanity
that even the down- and-out possess.
(At Evidence Room, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. through Feb. 17. Call (213)