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Pile of Newspapers


October 12, 2008     Publication: The Kansas City Star

Hookers. Johns. Strippers. Killers. Sleazy politicians. And people who in their own unique way are very much in love. Welcome to the world reflected in a threesome of one-act plays by Ron Simonian, Kansas City's resident outlaw playwright." Liquid Morality: Three One-Acts by Ron Simonian" will be staged at the Unicorn Theatre's Jerome Stage for a limited run beginning Oct. 30 before moving on to Chicago. Among the titles is "The Sting of Love," widely held to be the best of the short plays staged as part of this summer's Actors Equity Showcase at UMKC. The grim comedy depicts a diverse group of people thrown together on a police van after getting busted for soliciting a police decoy posing as a hooker. Also on the bill is "The Daily Grind," which recounts the government's attempt to close down a strip club. Closing out the evening will be "At the Feet of Doves," a play about two hit men burying their most recent victim, which was first staged at the Unicorn in 1996. Simonian will direct all three. Simonian, 43, has been a player in the local theater scene since 1992, when Scott Cordes directed Simonian's first play, "Thanatos," in a makeshift theater in a warehouse. The Unicorn later produced "Thanatos," a black comedy about Red Cross relief workers holed up in a motel at the edge of the world. Simonian's work sometimes plays like a unique mix of David Mamet's machine-gun dialogue and Martin McDonagh's mastery of plot reversals. "I love David Mamet," he said recently. "I always have. I haven't read a lot of his newer things, but I like the style of 'Glengarry Glen Ross.' I like that kind of dialogue. "In part because "Thanatos" ends in gunshots and a stage filled with corpses, some think of Simonian's plays as excessively violent. Not true, he said. "Since 'Thanatos,' I haven't had a show with a lot of violence, but there's a lot of mental violence," he said. For years Simonian's day job has been as emcee at Bazooka's Showgirls, a downtown club featuring nude exotic dancers. So, is he writing from his own experience?His answer: Not really. Take "The Sting of Love," for example. "A long time ago this actor who doesn't live in Kansas City anymore told me about how he got arrested in a prostitution sting and he (had) just wanted to talk to (the presumed hooker)," he recalled. "He was walking home from a show and was just lonely and wanted to talk to her, and I was like, 'Sure, right.' But he told me that they put him on a bus, and nobody was talking to each other. And I thought: That's a play. What if these people did start talking?" And that's how it goes. "You could learn so much about writing if you just decide to go to Denny's at 2 o'clock in the morning and have a cup of coffee," he said." Liquid Morality" will feature Scott Cordes, Tom Moriarty and Dean Vivian (all of whom appeared in "The Sting of Love" in August), as well as Matt Rapport and Lauren Lubow. Moriarty said he likes working on Simonian's material because of the way he uses language." His writing is completely real and hyper-real at exactly the same time," Moriarty said. "It's almost poetic at times, but at the same time I could stand on a street corner in New York City and hear people talk exactly the same way." Not everyone is a fan of Simonian's language. As you might expect in plays about johns and strippers and killers, the dialogue is rarely genteel. Simonian said he got some complaints about the language in "The Sting of Love." "You're writing about a certain topic. Making sure your language is family-friendly is basically eliminating 80 percent of the stories you can tell." The show" Liquid Morality: Three One-Acts by Ron Simonian" will be performed Oct. 30-Nov. 2 and Nov. 16-18 at the Jerome Stage at the Unicorn Theatre. A $12 donation will be requested. Kansas City Star, The (MO) Date: October 12, 2008 Page: H9 Copyright (c) 2008 The Kansas City Star

For Ron Simonian life is a play inspired by listening to the 2 a.m. coffee crowd: News
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