Wednesday, January 16, 2019

SMART LOVE by Carol Kaufman Segal
            The Pacific resident Theatre in Venice is featuring the West Coast premiere of a modern play (especially speaking scientifically) written by Brian Letscher and directed by Elina de  Santos.
            The play opens in the very early, still dark morning, at the home of Widow Sandy Wachowski (Melissa Weber Bales).  Sandy and her new love, Victor (Scott Conte) are frighteningly interrupted by someone at her door.  It turns out to be her son Benji (Zachary Grant)          who has, unexpectedly, left his studies at MIT where he was a doctoral student working in an artificial intelligence lab. 
            Benji chose this special time to arrive with a large package to surprise his mother on the eve of his parents’ 25th anniversary.  This was a surprise to end all surprises when it turned out that Benji had created an artificial intelligence form of Ron (Michael Mantell), his departed father, who looks, acts, and speaks exactly like him.  Expecting his Mother to be more than thrilled, he is let down when she is more shocked and frightened.
            Benji was obsessed by the loss of his father and seemed to have a close relationship with Sandy.  He was expecting an entirely different reaction from her having never known all of the circumstances regarding their marriage.  And what would the outcome be for Victor?
            I must admit that I enjoyed this production as it held my attention due to the fine performances by the four actors.  However, I found questions regarding the play itself.  For instance, how did Benji get away from MIT with a full-grown “body” without someone hunting him down?  Was there a message in the play when it ended?
             Smart Love plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM, through February 24, at the Pacific Resident Theatre located at 703 Venice Blvd., Venice, CA.  Tickets are available online at, or by calling (310) 822-8392.           

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