With its witty observations, rapid pacing and expertly delivered one-liners, "The Pages of My Diary I'd Rather Not Read" is a great evening of theater for its humor alone. What makes Eydie Faye's debut as a playwright special, however, is its trio of strong characters.
At the heart of the play is Esther, a Jewish girl from the Valley pursuing an acting career in New York. Her love affair with Target stores, her memories of high school classmates and, oy, her mother -- Esther's every observation is a proverb packed in a bitter pill wrapped in a joke.
Watch out for "the guacamole incident," Esther's whimsically indignant tale of sibling rivalry. The story packs an unexpected emotional wallop in the dramatic final half-hour.
The play's emotional payoff comes largely through Jane and Ivy, characters worthy of their own shows and wonderfully served by actresses Betsie Devan and Melissa Manzanares.
At the beginning of "Pages," super-tough, foul-mouthed Ivy is excited over her big new job, and perky Jane tries on her wedding veil. As the play slows down and opens up, all three characters emerge in three dimensions. The disappointments of the women's fatherless childhoods and the hard compromises they must make in life begin to poke through their laugh-it-all-off toughness. Before the lights come up, you may want to be friends with these people.
"The Pages of My Diary I'd Rather Not Read" is playing until April 29 (but may be extended) in Hollywood. $18. For ticket information, call (323) 930-9304.
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