The west coast premiere of Andrea Kuchlewska’s fast-paced comedy Complete explores
the power of language at an “est”-like training seminar. Featuring two obsessive linguists and a nine-year-old zealot who meet head-on with the magnetic leader of the est-like group training the show opens February 23, 2013 at the Matrix Theatre in West Hollywood.
Jennifer Chambers (Play Dates at the Asylum, The Muscles in Our Toes at the El Portal) directs Meredith Bishop (L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for Eleemosynary, four seasons on Nickelodeon’s The Secret World of Alex Mack); Scott Kruse (South Street at the Pasadena Playhouse, When Garbo Talks at International City Theater), Scott Victor Nelson (Build at the Geffen Playhouse, narrator on TLC’s documentary series My Crazy Obsession) and nine-year-old Hannah Victoria Stock (soon-to-be-released feature The Ganzfeld Experiment, L.A. Opera’s The Two Foscari).
Complete is a comic, time-splitting wrangle over the power and perversion of language. When Eve (Bishop) finds out that Micah (Kruse) is doing “The Training,” she risks their careers, their relationship and their safety to prove just how destructive the notion of self-creation can be.
“Complete is inspired by both the language of est and the scientific study of syntax and semantics,” explained Kuchlewska in an interview. “I did the est training at age nine. The use of language in that subculture was specific and differed in important ways from the English I had been speaking up until then. This was a potent combination for me as a child—using language to empower myself, but also being confused at times by what I and others were saying. It forever changed the way I think and how I speak.”
Developed by Werner Erhard, est is a system of experiential philosophy that was popular in the 1970s and ‘80s and was accused by some of being a cult. Inspired by her childhood experience and aided by the deeper understanding of language she gained as a linguistics major, Kuchlewska constructs a fictional “Training,” a world in which phrases like “I intend to create a parking space” and “You can create yourself being any way you want to be” are normal statements, even in the mouth of a child.
As a graduate of and former coach at the Ford Institute for Transformational Training, Jennifer Chambers brings an insider’s understanding to the project.
“There is a very specific language that the self-help industry uses, and it can be viewed as either very helpful or very manipulative,” she says. “I want to go back and explore that world now that I have some distance from it.”
Complete opens on February 23 and continues through March 30, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m., except Sunday, February 24 which is at 2 p.m. Two low-priced preview performances take place on Thursday, February 21 and Friday, February 22 at 8 p.m. General admission is $25; full-time students with ID are $15; previews are $12.50. Call 323-960-7822 or visit www.plays411.com/complete.
The Matrix Theatre is located at 7657 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles (west of Stanley Ave., between Fairfax and La Brea).
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