David McMillan’s Critically Acclaimed Play Continues World Premiere Through Black History Month in Los Angeles
In the wide cross-section of L.A.’s diverse population, tensions ran high as people awaited the verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder case. It was October 3, 1995. Twenty years to the day, David McMillan’s new play returned to the scene with a passionate, multi-racial perspective on that crucial day. As the play’s characters patronize the Perfect Fit Cleaners and neighboring businesses, a volatile discussion about race and social class bubbles to the surface, one that is more relevant now than ever. Watching O.J. stars Angela Bullock, Kareem Ferguson, Robert Gossett (“Fences”, “A Raisin in the Sun”, “The Closer”, “The Net”), Tony Pasqualini, Lisa Renee Pitts (“Straight Outta Compton”), Tarah Pollock and Roy Vongtama.
An Ovation “Recommended” production, Watching O.J. has garnered praise from numerous critics during its initial run. The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Excellent acting across the board and irrefutable topicality…the pertinence of Watching O.J. is undeniable."
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“As a black teen growing up in L.A., I was fascinated by how people were watching the trial,” said playwright David McMillan. “Specifically, how everybody was viewing the trial through their own distinct racial, cultural, and historical lens. Even now, ‘the facts’ of the case are often beside the point – what’s illuminating is how we look at those facts. Twenty years later, if the trial can force us to look at our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and most of all at ourselves and our own prejudices and biases – perhaps some good can come from Nicole and Ron’s tragic deaths. Maybe in remembering, we’ll appreciate how much race relations have improved since 1995, or how much they haven’t.”
David McMillan is a Los Angeles playwright, screenwriter, and filmmaker. His writing credits include Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, the upcoming Fox show Lucifer, and a new pilot that he is developing with Will Packer for NBC. David has received several awards for his work, including USC’s top prize for screenwriting.
Director Keith Szarabajka works extensively in the theatre as well as television, film, and radio in which he has won an Audie Award for Tom Robbins’ Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, and five Earphone Awards within the last two years. His film credits include: The Dark Knight, Argo, A Perfect World, and Missing. Szarabajk’s TV work includes: Sons of Anarchy, Angel, Cold Case, Profit, and The Equalizer. Keith has appeared on NPR’s Selected Shorts since 1987. He is a co-author of the play Bleacher Bums. Keith is a member and interim co-artistic director of Ensemble Studio Theatre-L.A.
Watching O.J. runs at 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, 2pm Sundays, through February 28, 2016. Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA is located in the Atwater Village Theatre complex 3269 Casitas Ave. LA, CA 90039. Tickets: $19.95 at watchingoj.com or (818) 858-0440.